Friday, September 24, 2004

Hello, Is There Anybody In There?

The title of this post is, of course, the first line in the song 'Comfortably Numb,' by Pink Floyd. I've always liked the group, even after Roger Waters left. David Gilmore's guitar solos have kept me from nodding off on many a lengthy road trip and often accompany my efforts as I sit at my computer and write.

My son, age twelve, has grown up hearing the bands I liked: The Beatles, Moody Blues, Chicago, Queen, and yes, Pink Floyd. He has also heard classical music (Tschaikowsky's 5th Symphony is my all-time favourite,) opera, country (but not by anyone who sings through his or her nose,) and often music that hearkens back to simpler times, all the way back to Al Jolson, Fanny Brice and Eddie Cantor. The way I see it, good music is timeless. It doesn't matter whether it is from last week or from decades before we were born.

I find most music of today to be dreadful. There is nothing melodic about it. There is little, if any, use of harmony. The inventive chord use by (say) the Beatles has given way to atonal, monotonous, droning dreck. The intricate harmonies of the Beatles and Queen have been forgotten. It's time for a change. I never listen to the radio anymore, unless it's a talk show. Much of today's music is worse than Chinese water torture. Not that I have ever been subjected to Chinese water torture, personally, but I think you understand what I am trying to say.

Yes, I know that our parents made the same noises about the Beatles and the Stones when we were young. But after they chastised us for listening to 'that horrible music,' they could be heard humming "Michelle," or "Ruby Tuesday." Try humming one of today's songs. I can't tell one from another.

I think we are long overdue for some really good, imaginative music. I can't help with that, because although I am a musician and can still bend a guitar string, I'm too old to be a rock star. And I'm not good enough. And I don't have any piercings or tattoos. So that leaves you.

So what are you going to do about it? I'll be looking for your melodic, harmonious, innovative music, naturally performed with a good solid backbeat behind it to give it some character. Maybe I'll even buy your album, er... CD, or whatever they call a compilation of songs by an artist these days.

I'm waiting.

And, by the way, is there anbody out there? Leave a comment. Say hello. Let me know you're 'listening.'


  1. The problem is that there is still good music out there. It just is not played on traditional over-the-air radio stations. If you just listen to top-40 radio, you will hear crap like Matchbox 20, Creed, Jay-Z, Britney Spears. Oh, yeah, and we also have "country singers" who think that if they sing out of their nose with a thick southern accent and wear a hat so big you can serve Thanksgiving dinner inside of it, they are country singers. Otherwise, they do not resemble great country performers such as Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, or Conway Twitty.

  2. It seems that, these days, if you sound like Pearl Jam, you will be successful as a rock band.

    I have found good music on the many internet radio stations that exist. Live 365 is a really good one. I've even discovered some new musical performers that I like.

  3. I'll check that out, Jason. Thanks for the tip.

  4. The lyrical quality of music has suffered also. You just don't hear high quality song lyrics like those of Root Boy Slim and the Sex Change Band anymore.

    Put a quarter in the juke
    Boogie till you puke
    I have to admit that I prefer Tchaikovsky's 6th Symphony, although the 5th is some mighty fine music.

    Back in the day Sieg people made music to please themselves first and if it pleased others then so much the better. These days music must satisfy the corporate bottom line. Occasionally some good stuf slips through, but it has become rarer and rarer. Usually after a band became established they would experiment, but sadly even that doesn't happen much anymore.

    I remember seeing the Johnny Cash video for Hurt and thinking what a powerful song it was. I didn't realize until later that it was a Nine Inch Nails song. Nine Inch Nails is a group that I wouldn't listen to, but evidently Johnny Cash did.

    What does all this prove? Well it's like panning for gold, it's there but you have to sift through a lot of sand to find the nuggets.

  5. Well said, Pope. I like the 6th too, especially when I'm feeling agitated and need to mellow out a bit. The 5th is so rousing that it probably should be listened to only before strapping on scabbord and quiver.

    That Hurt version by Cash was so raw and powerful. I always liked Cash, especially back in the 50s. Too bad he's gone.

  6. There's good new music out there.

    A lot of emocore groups are good.

    Try (and these are not all emocore):

    Jimmy Eat World, Doves, Green Day, Oasis, Moby, The Verve, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, or maybe pick up the Garden State soundtrack.

    Or if ya don't have it try 1992's Roger Waters CD Amused To Death.

  7. That Roger Waters CD sounds interesting. I'll look it up. Thanks