George Starostin's reviews 

My Humble Musical Creed

 

Before you proceed any further, you'd better learn something about my musical tastes - and decide whether it'll be of any use to read farther. Overall I tend to eclecticism, but I do have some personal preferences and, unfortunately, some biases. Here they are. You may ridicule them or praise them - feel free to leave any comments or open any discussions.

!!!!Warning: this 'creed' had been written ages ago, when I was only starting out as a reviewer and posting inane flames on the site of Brian Burks. It is partially obsolete now, but I still uphold many ideas expressed here. Anyway, below the main text of each 'superstition' you'll find a special 'third millennium update', written in January, 2001 and featuring the necessary corrections.

Superstition # 1: My favourite period in rock music is the 60's. It is my deep belief that much more than half of all absolute rock classics were either written in this Golden Age of rock, or else were written by artists whose roots lie deeply in the 60's (like the ex-Beatles). And yes, I know that I am no expert in late 70's, 80's or 90's music, but trust me - I've heard a lot, and about ninety percent of all I've heard sounds utterly, ferociously and inevitably derivative. That is, there is a large bunch of bands that sound good, but whatever you say - they are not original. Originality in modern rock is something practically unheard of. And why should I need to listen to unoriginal music when I can always go back to its roots? Hah! The greatest stupidity in the world is when people prefer listening to modern music instead of listening to good music. As for the 60's bands, practically every one of them that I try to review had something new and fascinating to offer to the world, and in most cases that's exactly why I love 'em. Note: I don't want to say anything particularly bad about the better bands of the 70's-90's. I just want to say they are not as good as the bands of the 60's.

Third Millennium Update: Since that passage had been written, I have already tackled some 'newer' bands, particularly in the MP3 section and on the Late Odds & Sods page, and you'll see that many of those 'newer' albums are praised very highly. This doesn't mean that the actual creed has changed; no matter how many praises I give to any 80's or 90's bands, the basic 'outline of rock music' always stays the same. In any case, this has all been discussed in more details on the Essay page.

For a more detailed discussion of this problem, please see my essay: Music Today: Where The Hell Is It Heading To?

Challenge or support my Superstition # 1?

Your worthy comments:

Scott Kohler <skohler@netcom.ca> (18.07.99)

    Saying as a rule that bands of the 70s to 90s are not necessarily bad but that they're "not as good" as the bands of the 60s is a pretty risky thing to say, without going on a band-by-band basis. It borders on dangerous, in fact - for the late 70s, listen to Elvis Costello and the Clash, for the 80s check out the Replacements, and for the 90s listen to Sloan and Elliott Smith. All of these artists can, in my opinion, hold their own alongside of my favorites from the 60s like the Beatles and Beach Boys and Zombies.

Boris <Kreatore@aol.com> (25.08.99)

    I also have a few bones to pick with you about the fact that you say that modern music is all derivative. I would really like to disagree with that, or amend that to being all mainstream music is. I personally like the 60's the best as well, but I know quite a few bands which are very creative today. Coil, Nurse With Wound, I don't really have time to get into it now, but I could definetly provide you with more examples if you want them.

Nick Karn <Awake600@aol.com> (30.08.99)

    I also disagree with this. While many bands you review on this site were incredibly groundbreaking and had a unique, I also wouldn't say they were totally original. Pretty much no band is original. Originality has ALWAYS been an unheard of thing in rock. I mean, come on, on this site and in Prindle's reader comments you contradict yourself on this. Look at the opening paragraphs on your reviews for The Beatles... you say everything bad that could be said about them, and how a great deal of things attributed to The Beatles were not invented by them, which is true. If you listened to old Chuck Berry or Buddy Holly you'd probably find some striking similarities, especially in the early days. Even their later experimental stuff came from something, it just didn't appear into John Lennon's mind, although there's no denying he was a true musical genius. But they're considered the greatest band of all time because they combined their diverse influences better than everyone else, no question about that. Also take a good look at your Bob Dylan comments on Prindle's page again and you will see that you're contadicting your "creed". Dylan wasn't really original, he took his cues from old folk music and added "poetry" and sung it in his "pleasantvoice".

    You also have to remember that rock music was a relatively new thing back then, so of course the earlier players are going to be more influential than the later, which is an unfair burden to be placed on the later generation. It has always been the most unique ones are either better at combining different and sometimes clashing styles or have hit upon something no one else has tried before. Bands since then have done the same thing, but you just have to look harder. You see, mainstream radio only caters to what they think listeners want (hundreds of tired old grunge / electronica / pop bands), and has since the late 70s. Believe me, there are bands and artists today, more specifically, ones that have emerged in the mid to late 80s that don't really sound like anything else out there -- Faith No More, Radiohead, and King's X are a few such bands that don't have obvious influences worn on their sleeves.

    This is just my opinion.

Simon Hearn <simon@leehearn.freeserve.co.uk> (07.09.99)

    I do believe 60's and 70's music stands alone as the greatest of modern times, but what about Bowie, REM and Radiohead (even U2). These are class acts and should be added to your site (not enough time in the day?). My particular faves are Bowie - so influencial, this can never be underestimated - European music was irrevocably changed after Low, Heroes and Lodger and REM - who in my opinion should get a 5 rating on your chart. I personally think of them as equals to the stones, with the Beatles on top. Lyrically and musically they are superior to most other bands present and past.

    Ps. How Ringo star got in your list in will never know

    [Special author's note: Bowie is in fact a 70's author - and I have already reviewed some of his stuff. As for the others, well I said it once and I say it again: nulla regula sine exceptione. You know what it means.]

Josh Fitzgerald <breezesf85@email.com> (13.01.99)

    Well, I understand where you're coming from when you say that "the 60s was the most influential decade of music," however, if you listen carefully, the music of the 80s and 90s are 100% different in style, and presentation than those of the 60s, and even 70s. In my opinion, the music of the 60s and 70s could be an entirely different story than that of the 80s and 90s. I know it's been said before, but I understand that you feel this way, becuase the 60s was truly the decade that r'n'r hit the mainstream. And in bringing it there, artists of the 70s, 80s, and 90s had a chance to innovate the style of the 60s artist, and it gave them freedom to do more. In fact, if I had a choice, I would say that newer music is even more interesting than the first.If that makes sense. Oh well, an opinion is an opinion. And I hope you don't mind me doing this here, but here are my top 10 fav songs of all time-

    (I have them listed, but they really aren't in any particular order)

    10-"A Day In The Life- The Beatles"- Just a true classic. not much to say about it

    9-"Hyperballad- Bjork"- Betcha never heard that one before! It is truly one of the greatest songs ever written, and proved that if people try hard enough, the 90s really had some butt-kicking music.

    8-"It's Just The Way- The Bee Gees"- Another fairly obscure song, but man, this song just rocks. THE BEE GEES WERE NOT A DISCO BAND!!!

    7- "Light My Fire- The Doors"- Everybody knows this song, the solos never get boring or tiresome. Awesome!

    6-"Scarbourough Fair- Simon & Garfunkel"- I picked this one mainly becuase the interlocking of two different melodies make it sound like one of the most gorgeous lullabies ever created.

    5-"Starship Trooper-Yes"- AWESOME! No one can match the guitar in that middle section!

    4-"Smells Like Teen Spirit-Nirvana"-So maybe Kurt Cobain wasn't the best singer since, say, Art Garfunkel, but as a songwriter, he's almost flawless!

    3-"The Chain-Fleetwood Mac"-Just put it this way, this song, lyrically, defines life.

    2-"White Rabbit-Jefferson Airplane"- This song makes my list if just for Grace Slick's vocals!

    1-"Baba O'Riley- The Who"-A critical fav, one of my fav, and the song that started punk, even though punk wasn't the be

    [Special author note: good list, even if it doesn't really fit on this page. But as for the main statement, I don't see how 80s and 90s music is an 'entirely different story'. Sure, 80s and 90s music sounds rather different from the 60s, but don't you think that it's mostly when bands adopt a more retro sound, like Blur, for instance, that intelligent people think of them with kindness? As such, yeah, Britney Spears is light years ahead of Aretha Franklin, we all know that, but still...]

Rose Mary <raponte@prtc.net> (28.02.2000)

    Your creed is strictly based on one thing; nostalgia. Most probably you were born and raised in the 60's and you cannot get rid of those feel-good images of your adolescence (I was born in 1976 and was 23 years old as of writing this creed page - G. S.). Why I know? Because the same thing has happened to me. I' m absolutely convinced that the world's best and more productive period was 1968-1972....But I think I have overcome this nostalgia bug, since I have been able to check some material of the new wave. Give it a try, check Matchbox 20, Blues Travelers, Third Eye Blind and Collective Soul and you'll find some good or even excellent music..this is not to say that there' s a lot of mediocrity but then again there was some in the 60 's as well ( who in hell remembers the 1910 Fruit Gum Co., or the Grass Roots or Blues Image or Sugarloaf or the Tee Set or Shocking Blue or California Earthquake or Moby Grape or POCO, did I say POCO?)

    I respect your views since I'm the first to recognize the grandeur of the 60's but one thing is to be biased but a different one is to be totally blind and closed to new options....

    (06.03.2000): To Josh:

    Josh, I'm sorry to tell you this...but your list sucks!!!!! Here goes my 10 greatest of all time:

    10. 'God Only Knows' - Beachboys - The most beautiful ballad ever composed.

    9. 'Dignity' - Bob Dylan

    8. 'Nowhere Man' - The Beatles - I get goose bumps everytime i hear this one!

    7. 'Fire & Rain' - James Taylor - I know I will be blasted for this one!

    6. 'You're so Vain' - Carly Simon - Amazing!

    5. 'Every Body is A Star' - Sly and the F. Stone (no body remembers this one but I don't give a damn!!)

    4. 'Baba O' Riley' - Who - Yes Josh, we have to agree on this one.

    3. 'Brown Eyed Girl' - Van Morrison

    2. 'Brown Sugar' - Rolling Stones - This one really rocks!

    1. 'Like A Rolling Stone' - Bob Dylan - need to say something?

Anthony Mercadante <tmercada@automatedmicro.com> (01.05.2000)

    No rock music is completely original. Rock came from blues and bluegrass. This is fact, not fancy. So where did these come from. Blues came from black traditional folk music. Bluegrass came from folk music. Take a step sideways to get to the pop of the 50's. Blues and Jazz are closely related cousins. Jazz and the Big Band sounds shared blood. Big Band came from, to make a long story short - classical music. Classical music came from the gregorian chants. Now, if it weren't for those JAMMIN monks, where would we be now?

    Seriously though, you are trying to claim that these bands you list are the only original musicians around and that they have all the talent. (No I'm not. For a better understanding please check out my Essay # 1 - G. S.). I wonder what the music will be like in 2030 and what they will think of our quaint little tunes then. I agree with you that it is better to listen to good music than it is to listen to modern music. But this does not mean that there is no good modern music. the Red Hot Chili Peppers put funk and rock together in a nice consumable and palatable way. I like it okay. 311 is new, and their funk rock rap theme works for me. Phish I like a lot = but it's because they make great music and they make it better live. But I also dig on the Doors and Zeppelin and Floyd and some of the Beatles stuff (the stuff Paul didn't write - I don't like his candy sweet crap style) and Yes and early Stones and Hendrix and yadda yadda yadda.

    There is a lot of modern crap, yes, but if you look carefully, you can find some good stuff in there. I think you are limiting your list by taste, and hey, it's your list, but I think you're wrong to do so. You only get half the picture when you do that. I used to be like that - now I know better.

mjcarney <mjcarney@netzero.net> (22.07.2000)

    I used to have the same exact opinion of all music after oh maybe 1973 ish, besides Nirvana that is--as I grew up in the 90's.  However, despite that I was a huge Nirvana fan--and all the music of that time, it was the 60's music that really made me a fan.  The Beatles, The Stones, The Who, the Doors Dylan, etc.  All is terrific, and better than anything after or before it, but still there is some great music/that is quite original that has been recorded in the last 25 years.  I will list a few that you should check out.  Tom Waits--either his ballad days--early 70's etc which is beuatiful, or his widely experimental days 80's--present.  Check out Rain Dogs, Swordfishtrombones, Bone Machine for some amazingly new/experimental/brilliant music.  Another band which might change your opinion is the Pixies.  Black Francis + co, combined surf/punk/60's pop/and even the girl group's sound to make what is probably the most influential music of the 90's.  I would check out either Surfer Rosa or the more instantly likeable Doolittle for some classic and 99.9% original material.  They defined the 90's but without any of the credit they deserve.  Sonic Youth too, has been extremely influential.  Check out "EVOL, Sister or Daydream Nation for somewhat uncompromising yet classic material.  These three alone give you a start, but there are also albums from Nirvana, Patti  Smith, Talking Heads,Flaming Lips and many more which are completely original and can give anything in the 60's a run for its money in creativity/brilliance/ as well as originality.  60's were/are my favorite time too, but let's not go so far as to say that "originality in modern rock is something practically unheard of", the only difference with then and now, is that the original stuff today just isn't popular whereas in the 60's it was overly popular.  Just thought you might want to know....

Dave Thomas <DTHOMAS@bowg.com> (13.09.2000)

    The idea that a thing must be new to be good seems incredibly wasteful to me. It also shows a gross misunderstanding of the creative process. Unless you grew up in a plastic bubble or on Venus, you cannot be immune to the stimuli and impulses all around you. And you can't help but incorporate those same thing into your own creations. So you see, nothing is ever truly "original" in the sense of having no identifiable influences.

    If being new made something good, then I could pluck an atonal progression on a nose hair and call myself a pioneer.

    Elvis Costello once said that "well-stolen is well composed." In other words, its all about how you choose to combine all the different influences and elements, not about doing something new for the sake of newness. In fact, just about all true musical innovation occurs not in composition but in technology. Electric guitars. Stereo recordings. Synthesizers. Digital production. Name almost any musical revolution, and you can identify a technological breakthrough that touched it off.

    Beyond that, what you've got is a bunch of musicians combining elements that they find all around them. Sometimes the combinations sound just like others, sometimes they sound new. What's important is, does the music awaken anything new in you? Made you hear something in a new way, think about something from a new perspective, enjoy something you never thought you would? If so, it is good, and it's done its job.

Thomas M. Silvestri <cc3000@earthlink.net> (14.10.2000)

    This seems like the right place to just offer some general praise of George and his website. I won't get overly into the question of whether the '60s has to be THE period for everybody, better than the present, etc. (I've rapped with plenty of real old-timers who'll tell you it was the '50s, the 40s, the 30s...) But I will say that he's wise to at least start by covering that period and some of the crucial work of the '50s, as there's no denying that the wonderfully democratic forum provided by rock 'n' roll from the '50s to the early '70s was a wonder to behold for anyone lucky enough to live in America or England at the time. (Disco rather threw a spanner into the works after that and things didn't regain momentum till the punk/new wave thing.) I try to tell younger people that before the Beatles and all that came after, you couldn't even buy a T-shirt with lettering on it, much less record songs with any kind of controversial or explicit lyrics and hope to get them on commercial radio. (And P.S., that's no endorsement of Two Live Crew, Eminem, and other people who I think have really gone overboard and, in Eminem's case, probably need professional counseling.) At any rate, even Herbert Marcuse was stunned by the diversity and depth of the cultural dialogue of the '60s, so I certainly understand George's strong interest in its musical variant.

    Certainly all music is derivative in some ways and certainly there's great music of all kinds being made today. But I think what George might've picked up on is that the influences on younger rock bands today often tend to come from a fairly small list, whereas no one who witnessed the rise of people like Dylan, Zappa, the Byrds, or the British progressive rockers could ever have said that. Sure, we've got Beck and plenty of other adventurous folks, but a depressingly large amount of what's coming out today is simply warmed-over 4/4 pop/rock, and not at all of that delightfully unique variety that we saw from folks like Elvis C., Nick Lowe, XTC, and so on. And don't get me started on the Britneys and Christinas! Anyway, I think George is performing a wonderful service in peacefully and respectfully spreading the fruits of a truly inspiring time and culture to and from all corners of the world, which is partly what the Internet is supposed to be all about. And I'll see about donating some CDs! (Please keep in mind that piracy hurts artists more than anyone!)

Lyolya Svidrigajlova <vsvitov@diamin.msk.ru> (11.12.2000)

    Neither challenge nor support... Well, in fact, I like late 50's - 60's American rock more than anything else about foreign (I'm Russian) music. But there surely are Dire Straits who are more about 70's and 80's music! And lots of other things. Not that I listen to that very often but Prodigy, Greenday and Rednex are a lot of fun! Dumb but a huuuge LOT of fun! Nothing new but a huuuuuuge LOT of fun! (Hell! And this dumb woman (I mean myself) loves Carl Perkins!) Don't look for too much in this music "en vogue" - that's not much for thinking, that's for fun! Don't frown at me, you who love the Doors! I love them too! But sometimes we need to relax, huh? But... can't deny the fact... I hate the Beatles!

    There go your top-tens... I'll try to make my own top ten (but you see, that's only my point of view!!)

    1. Honey don't - Carl Perkins (how can I make it without HIM?!)

    2. Five to One - The Doors

    3. Helter Skelter - The Beatles (yeah... although I hate the band, I love the song)

    4. Paint it black - Rolling Stones

    5. The Man's still strong - Dire Straits

    6. While my guitar gently wheeps - The Beatles (yeah... can't also deny that I like this song)

    7. Boat on the river - Styx (a truly great country-rock ballad by a pop-up band!!!!)

    8. You're in the Army now - Status Quo (yeah, I'm blushing but I can't help myself but like it!)

    9. I got my mind set on you - George Harrison (yuick! really)

    10. California dreaming - the Mama's & the Papa's (covered by Beach boys as well)

    And, as well, some "not-well-known" stuff as "Mad about Love" by Quazimodos, "My shade of yesterday" by the Blacksuns... more "famous" "Far far away" by Slade and lots of... See... that's nearly all about 60's...

<Manofnekc@aol.com> (13.12.2000)

    to say that bands from the 70s---90s are castoffs from the 60s is correct but the 60s bands are castoffs from the 50s which are bastards from blues, jazz and country, so where in all this mix does the 50s bands fit in? originality can be boring. as long as the music is FUN, enjoy it.

    [Special author note: the big difference is that 60s rock bands are bastards from blues, jazz and country, 70s rock bands add bastardization from classical and avantgarde, but 90s rock bands are bastards from 60s ROCK BANDS! Feel the difference?]

Jon Morse <jon@sitestar.net> (15.12.2000)

    Originality... it's really a subjective term. Taken to a ludicrous extreme, one can say "Oh, I've heard those two chords in sequence before; this is derivative." Therefore, in George's defense, understand that one person's "original" is not another's. I, personally, find such acts as Rush, Queensryche, Tool, and Japan (not an exhaustive list, obviously) to be "original," in that they did do something different than was previously being done, and had their formula followed. By the same token, they derived a great deal from their predecessors.

    My sense of George's opinion here is NOT that a given band isn't doing something fresh and exciting, but that he can sense their influences to such a great extent that they don't stand out as having skewed that far from already-trodden ground as to truly be thought of as original. On the other hand, you have acts who don't necessarily seem to have direct lineage to the past, but who meld different styles together to create something that really can be described as "new." Based on that framework, there's a lot of bands mentioned here that - fresh, innovative, and enjoyable though they may be - just don't qualify. And, it should be noted, there's other bands which frankly suck raw eggs who were, in any sense of the term, original... so don't take George's opinion that a band wasn't original as any sort of condemnation.

Sergey Zhilkin <sergey_jilkin@mail.ru> (03.01.2001)

    Yeah, my favourite period in Rock history is the 60's, too. That's the period when simple rock'n'roll transformed to deep and rich rock. We started from early Beatles, Animals, Hollies, young Stones and ended with late Beatles (Abbey road), middle-age Stones (Let it bleed), Pink Floyd, David Bowie (Space oddity) and Doors (Strange days). To me it's very funny to watch such changings. But I mustsay that I adore the early 70's with best ex-Beatles' albums (All things must pass, RAM, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Ringo), Pink Floyd's Dark side (yes, it's overrated but still a classic), Door's L.A. Woman along with Morrison hotel and Bowie's glam trilogy.

    Plus, I like period from 1987 to 1989. That's when my favourite bands and solo artists made their comebacks: George Harrison (Cloud 9 (1987)), Jeff Lynne+Roy Orbison+Tom Petty (Full moon fever (1989)) in Travelling Wilburys project, Stones (Steel wheels(1989)) and Bob Dylan (Oh mercy(1989) (okay, it's not correct to write any comments on albums you've never heard but, after all, I read your reviews...)). Unfortunately, Lennon didn't get up from grave so this little period can't beat 60's.

    When I hear early Beatles, fresh early Hollies and hits of Animals, I understand that rock'n'roll ISN'T DEAD!!! In my heart at least...

Robert Grazer <xeernoflax@jack-the-ripper.com> (05.01.2001)

    Interesting points you have there. I don't flock to music because it is modern or classic. I only listen to what I like. Originality? You can find it in both the 60s and the 90s. The point I believe that you are missing is that originality is not the came thing as revolutionary. In this case you are correct. There are very very few (if any) revolutionary 90s records. Maybe Nirvana's Nevermind for beginning the grunge thing, but all of the songs that I have heard from it are absolutely atrocious. The point is there will never be another Sgt. Pepper-like revolutionary album. BUT the eighties and nineties have produced some very original music. For example, look at Iron Maiden. More specifically the opening riff to "Phantom of the Opera" from their self-titled album. There is not a single doubt in my mind that that is originality there. Did it inspire a musical genre or help the progression of the history of rock music. No. Do I like it? Yes. Is that enough for me to like the song. Yep. Do you see what I mean? They wrote a piece of music that was completely unique and to my knowledge had never been done before. That makes it original. It was not the first metal riff or song, and it did not inspire the entire heavy metal genre, but it sounds good, so I will listen to it. And there have been bands that have inspired music and been extremely revolutionary, and still stunk worse than cold horseshit. So there are some sixties artists who may have been influential, popular, and revolutionary, but it their melodies are nonexistent or complete crap, I don't really give a damn.

    There is good modern music, you just have to look hard for it. I will come out and say that the 90s was a rather weak decade for music. Especially pop and metal. I am very cynical about pop music from the nineties. You see there is a formula used to make all of these multi-platinum ten song CDs: two smash hit singles, eight filler. And people buy it. They actually buy it. Example: I was browsing through the top ten albums lists from In the 90s.com and I saw this list with a certain debut CD by one of today's more popular female recording artists with a little comment saying "The best songs are" and then he/she (I can't remember) listed the two single. Pop artists are now no longer selling CDs of albums; they are selling CDs of singles. No one listens to the other eight in there. Then they burn the two singles out in a month, something that they could have done by listening to the radio. Then they would have saved themselves fifteen dollars. Damn fools...

    Despite the above, I would like to say that even a blatant rip off can be better than the original, although no musical examples come to mind. It has happened, I am sure of it. The point is that if an album is not good, I don't care if it is original. And if an album sounds truly good, well that one depends. Is the rip off extremely obvious? Of is it a just a variation of a tune? I guess what I am trying to say is that I believe there is nothing wrong for an artist to do an album in a similar style to one that was created in the 60s.

    Hey I just thought of something Mr. Starostin. This will come out awfully cheezy, but here goes anyway. Think of the computer gaming industry. Wolfenstein 3D was the original first person shooter. Does that necessarily make it the best? It is true that no other first person shooter will ever be as original. Does that mean that there will never be one to better it? I dunno, just something to compare your superstition to.

John McFerrin <stoo@imsa.edu> (06.01.2001)

    Actually, I'd like to throw in a thought about Grazer's comment:

    I think that that comparison would work better if weren't for the fact that shooter games are primarily physical in nature. There might be a semblance of a plot, but the main focus is the gore and coolness of the available weapons, and not anything in the 'thinking and feeling' part of the brain.. In that way, comparing shoot-em-ups is more like comparing various games throughout history (ie is hockey better than lacrosse, or is american football better than real football).

    A better comparison would be between, say, Sierra adventure games, or RPG's in general (since, at least on some level, they work in the thinking/feeling part of the mind). There are many possible plots to such a game ... but inevitably, these plots start to get much weaker and much less creative and original over time. And don't think for a second that gaming aficiondos don't get angry when the plots become more derivative.

    Or alternatively, one can look at long-running TV shows that start to have more trouble coming up with ideas and start to recycle previous ones (The Simpsons, The X-files).

    Just a thought.

Robert Tally <BtheW@aol.com> (27.02.2001)

    Well, here's a touchy issue. I'll throw my two cents in by saying that I also think the best period in rock history was the '60s and early '70s. This doesn't mean that the music was better (I'm not saying it wasn't either), but there certainly was a general growth in the genre at that time. For instance, if you plucked up a song from 1963 - let's just say 'From Me To You' by The Beatles - and plopped it down in the middle of 1968, it would have been totally out of place. 'Hey Jude' and 'Jumpin' Jack Flash' would have made mincemeat out of it. There wasn't any comparable change in any other five year period of rock. Certainly not 1993 to 1998. And I don't think there could be again - at least not with rock music. I don't think any genre has grown up twice - they're sort of like people that way. One of my rules of thumb for judging a recording artist has to do with which of three stages that artist is in. There's the 'working their way up' stage, the peak stage, and then sort of a stagnant period when most of what they built up is gradually dismantled. The Rolling Stones are a good example of what I'm talking about. Obviously, the most desirable music would be from the peak period - but after that, I find the 'working their way up' music to be more enjoyable than the last phase - even if the group is better in the last phase. Rock 'n' roll as an artform seems to have also gone through this process. And while there certainly has been plenty of great music since the peak period, it just isn't as interesting as watching the baby grow up - you know? I really think that if there ever is another huge revolution in music, it won't be rock music. It'll be something that starts off rather simple and primordial - and then it will develop into something mature and sophisticated. And then, that too will go in circles for a while until another form appears on the horizon.

Raghu Mani <raghu_mani@yahoo.com> (30.03.2001)

    You seem to place way too much emphasis on originality than sounds reasonable to me. Let me accept your contention that 60s bands were more original than anybody that came along afterwards. So what? Originality matters to music historians - not music fans. When I listen to a piece of music, my main criterion for evaluating it is the quality of the piece of music. I suppose I might be a little more impressed if it sounded like nothing I had heard before but that is no indication of whether or not it is original. Let's say you were handed an Aerosmith CD and a Rolling Stones CD with the release dates blacked out and you had no prior knowledge of either band. How would you go about determining which band was original and which one derivative? I submit that the only way you could do that is to look at a book on music history. Knowledge of music history is certainly good to have but it shouldn't get in the way of appreciation of music. For my part, I started listening to rock music seriously in the early 80s - some three decades after it all started. I listened to Bruce Springsteen before Bob Dylan, listened to Whitney Houston before Aretha Franklin, to Van Halen and Iron Maiden before Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, to Boney M before Bob Marley and to Aerosmith before the Rolling Stones. If I hadn't paid attention to musical history I would have thought that the Springsteen was the original and not Dylan, that Iron Maiden was the original not Led Zeppelin etc etc. The reason I prefer Dylan to Springsteen, Led Zeppelin to Iron Maiden and the Stones to Aerosmith has nothing to do with who came first or was more original - its simply because I like the music of the one more than that of the other. And that, in the end, is all that music appreciation should be about.

    [Special author note: originality and enjoyability are far closer connected to each other than might seem at first sight. At least, when you have so much music to choose your favourites from.]

John McFerrin <stoo@imsa.edu> (31.03.2001)

    It's quite an easy thing, I've noticed, for people to try and convince themselves of the unimportance of originality in the quality of art. "Who cares if it's original, I only care if it's good" is the rallying cry, it seems. Honestly, though, I have found more and more that that is very short-sighted, for reasons below.

    Now first of all, I'm _not_ meaning to say that just because a piece of music is unoriginal necessarily means that it's bad. I don't believe that, and I honestly believe that George doesn't believe that. There are _plenty_ of albums that I freely enjoy that can't really claim much in the way of originality, and I don't feel it necessary to list them here. Suffice it so say, what they lack in originality, they more than make up in strength of melody or other qualities like that.

    What I _would_ say, though, is this - when a band does not bring original ideas to the table for a given album or even song, that band digs a very big hole for itself. And why is that? It's because of the following, which if you, the reader, have a logical synapse in your brain, you cannot dispute - if you do not _create_ an idea or style or melody or whatever, with no precedent of it that has reached your ears previously, then you are by definition _imitating_ that idea. And while that may not sound horrible in itself, I would propose that imitation, by its nature, brings limitations to art.

    Why would I say that? Well, let's follow the processes of a typical band for whom originality is not considered a key ingredient. So the band, first, deliberately makes the decision to create their music in the style of a band (or even perhaps a whole musical genre) that has gone before. Why would they do that? Well, in most cases, it's because they know in advance that the previous group's approach to music has created a fanbase, and the new group wishes to tap into that fanbase. But in order to get that fanbase, they have to force themselves into the 'mold' of the already-successful group - perhaps (in fact, probably) adding a couple of twists here and there, but for the most part deliberately sticking to the 'core' sound. By doing so, however, they need to cut out a good 90% of the creative ideas that may come through their heads, since they can't reconcile those ideas with the 'casting' that they've chosen for themselves. The end result, then, is a product that, sure enough, contains enough of the surface qualities to attract their target listeners, but that also used only about 10% of the creative processes that were used by the predecessors, since so much mental energy was expended trying to fit into the mold.

    Don't get what I'm saying? Look at Kansas, then. The reason so many people hate Kansas is that an overwhelming amount of their catalogue is them saying "See? See? We can sound proggy too!" without really trying to stake their own claim. Instead of being willing to really go out on a limb, they bask in the stylistics of Genesis and Yes and try to accentuate the bombast and superficial style of those two groups without truly realizing that Genesis and Yes did lots and lots of little things well that Kansas couldn't begin to master. And worst of all, close listening shows that they really didn't try, because they knew damn well that the listening public of hard-core prog-heads would fall for the style.

    And then, of course, it only gets worse, because inevitably, a band will come along that wants to sound like Kansas. And then the 10% rule applies again, only that 10% of 10% is _1_%, meaning that the 'third generation' band only ends up really using 1% of the creative power of the original ... and the result, then, is the majority of the modern rock scene. Again, not _all_ of it, but as clear a majority as can only be.

    I hope I've been able to be clear. Maybe I haven't - it is 3 AM after all, and I've spent 6 of the last ten hours playing Civ II. Point is, though, it's incredibly inane to say that quality and originality have no connection to each other (or, if I wish to be mathematically correct, that they are orthogonal to each other). And if I haven't been able to convince ye, then probably nothing will.

Alex Temple <fiber_optiqREMOVETHIS@yahoo.com> (06.06.2001)

    On Superstition #1: I disagree here. I agree that, with the possible exception of Radiohead, very little of interest has come out of the mainstream after the 60s. However, there are a huge number of underground bands who have done some excellent and stunningly original work since then. These include: The Legendary Pink Dots (electro-experimental-goth-prog; they were particularly good in the mid-80s), Gentle Giant (experimental prog), Thinking Plague (atonal rock kind of like a cross between Gentle Giant and Bartok), the 5uu's (avant-prog--picture a tight, non-cheesy, atonal Yes), U Totem (highly influenced by 20th century classical music, among other things), the Olivia Tremor Control (neo-psych crossed with sound-collage), Neutral Milk Hotel (folk-punk/indie rock), Kukl (arty dissonant post-punk) and the Dismemberment Plan (angst-core / punk-and-new-wave-influenced quirky indie rock), to name but a few...

<Muggwort@aol.com> (16.04.2002)

    here is something different I agree with you George! 95% of the bands that started after 1975 are completely derivative but I have a novel concept for you; the bands of the 80's and the 90's may be recycling old ideas but they recycle them BETTER then the 60's heroes because of better production and facilities take a look at one of the most derivative bands of all time; the pixies! they take the basic ideas from music that was made in the golden age of rock and roll but make it seem original by putting elements of rock that usually don't go together (like heavy metal and teen pop).

    also let us take a look at what everyone is calling 'the best new band' radiohead. on your scale radiohead would probably get a 3

    Listenability: 4/5 Resonance: 2/5 Originality: 3/5 Adequacy: 2/5 Diversity: 2/5

    Overall: 2.6= *** on the rating scale

    What I'm trying to say there is there is still many 3 level bands being made but if you compared radiohead to pink Floyd they would instantly pale. But they're still many great 4 star bands that formed after '75 like stereolab and the fall they just aren't as plentiful as in the '60s/70s.

    all in all i think you are absolutely right just not looking at the full picture.

Katie Rossi <krossi@nd.edu> (07.09.2002)

    Unlike most of the people who responded, I agree with most of your ideas. Ever since the golden age of rock ended in the 70s, things have been going downhill. Most modern pop music, if not all, is incredibly derivative. Iíll admit it Ė there are a few bands who I enjoy listening to, like Matchbox 20, U2, and O.A.R., but thatís not because theyíre great innovators like the Beatles and the Stones, itís just because theyíre entertaining. People always say there can never be another Beatles Ė after all, you can only revolutionize rock music once. I can only hope that someday a group will come along with a fresh new idea, something totally unlike rock n roll, and create a new sound once more, like jazz in the 20s and rock in the 60s. As much as I love rock n roll, I almost want it to be replaced by a new sound so my peers wonít be listening to such absolute crap all the time.

    But Iíve digressed. Back to the topic at hand Ė the unoriginality of modern music. Personally, I think that since the advent of the Beatles, all music has been at least somewhat derivative because their songs were so far ahead of their time. For example, in my humble opinion, punk music all stems, albeit indirectly, from one song: ďHelter Skelter.Ē Sure, itís not the most eloquent song even to come from, but itís certainly one of the more far-reaching. With Paulís screeching vocals and the hardcore guitar, itís one of, if not the first heavy metal song. Now, this isnít to say that no other bands are original. Iíd be an idiot to not consider the Stones, Led Zeppelin (who I adore) or the Who great innovators; Iím just saying, and Iím sure all of you would agree, that the Beatles were the high point on the rock music spectrum. Most bands today Ė Creed in particular; theyíre so imitative it sickens me - just steal chords and riffs from old songs, give them a new edge, and pass it off to todayís youth as an original tune. Even Nirvana, the band who changed the face of the 90s music scene, isnít very original; they just brought back mainstream hard rock when it was almost extinct and gave it a new packaging called grunge. Now, donít get me wrong, I love to listen to Nirvana, and I think they were very talented, but as far as originality goes, they are often overrated.

    In part, this is because most pop bands today donít think of music as an art form, a way to express themselves and take their sound to a higher level. Instead, they just bow down to the almighty dollar and write songs to appeal to the largest fan base possible. These bands often write decent and he enjoyable songs, but very few are ever able to stick around for their encore. Itís amazing how many one-hit wonders there are today. Now, this isnít to say pop music in general is bad. After all, the Beatles and all the greats that came with them were once considered pop rock, not classic rock. However, they were able to remain true to their musical integrity, write amazing songs (because we all know not all attempts at artsy rock are successful), and still keep their fans happy. This is a balance that no one has been able to achieve since. So feel free to go out there and listen to todayís music, since Iím sure many people consider it entertaining. But why listen to a copy of a copy of a copy? Itís never as sharp as the original.

Oleg Sobolev <dima@aspol.ru> (30.09.2002)

    Hi all Here's me who was fooling around George's site and came to the page I have never visited before (although I'm visiting site for about two years).There's a lot of cool stuff you (George) have written, but it all bores me to death, because it is 23:37 here at the moment and I want to sleep and the only song I can listen now is "For Absent Friends" by Genesis , but before I'll go to bed, I'd better make my top 10 songs list.

    10. R.E.M. - "It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)"

    9. Genesis - "Supper's Ready"

    8. The Beatles - "Strawberry Fields Forever"

    7. King Crimson - "Starless"

    6. Jethro Tull - "Thick As A Brick"

    5. Peter Gabriel - "Family Snapshot"

    4. The Beach Boys - "Surf's Up"

    3. Devil Doll - "Dies Irae"

    2. Genesis - "The Battle Of Epping Forest" (why everybody hates this song, by the way?)

    1. Pink Floyd - The Final Cut

    Oh, and I will read all these things you have written on this page... But I'll do it tomorrow. I promise!

Oleg Sobolev <dima@aspol.ru> (03.10.2002)

    Well, yeah, I agree, most of original and great music was done in 60's (the late 60's, that is), but I much more adore 70's stuff. And I don't think that originality means that lot in music. It DOES mean, of course, but I like many unoriginal, but good records and genres. Like neo-prog, for example.

David Dickson <ddickson@rice.edu> (04.11.2002)

    Okay, I'll admit it. I don't take a band's "historical value" into account when determining their relative worth. I just take into account whether I like their s*** or not--that is, whether I like it on a visceral, primeval, right-brained level. I would think that listening to music with your LEFT brain would be neurologically impossible. But apparently SOME people listen to great stuff like the Velvet Underground's Loaded and think "Oh, it sounds just like Bob Dylan, the Beatles, Jefferson Airplane, and the Allman Brothers combined, all of which preceded this album by at least a year. Therefore, I don't like it," automatically, without even pausing to peruse their mental musical archives, or even recall whether or not they were tapping their toes. Frankly, their brains must be wired differently than mine. I don't see how somebody can think about music in such technical, dry terms. When I listen to the Beatles Revolver, I don't think to myself, "Well, let's see, there's 'Taxman,' whose garage-rock construction preceded the Stooges by three years, and there's 'Love You To' and 'Tomorrow Never Knows,' both of which heavily influenced the trend toward Eastern Mysticism in England and the American East coast'--no. I think to myself, "Well, there's the rocker, 'Taxman,' the sullen downer, 'Eleanor Rigby', the long string of pop gems, 'Here There and Everywhere,' 'Yellow Submarine,' 'She Said She Said,' etc., and the self-indulgent clunkers, 'I'm Only Sleeping,' 'Love You To,' and 'Tomorrow Never Knows.' An altogether solid, though slightly uneven album." That's what I think about when listening to an LP. Not about chronology or musicological archives or even lyrical resonance, but about two things: quality and consistency. That's all you need in life.

    Now, for my creed. I believe that the '60's were the most consistent decade of the four in terms of quality of the music. My number one pet peeve is excessive amounts of filler--a trait that, ever since the '60's, seems to be prevalent among all the ultra-popular bands you can shake a stick at. Everyone, from the Jackson Five to Grand Funk Railroad to the New Kids on the Block to Incubus to the post-'60's Stones themselves, seems to be addicted to the art of a few pop singles and a mass of meaningless, hookless crap. Style and originality be damned--all I ask for is good songs. You can be singing about your first girlfriend for all I care. Just sing it well. And sing it loud and proud. And don't be afraid to be AMBITIOUS, for the love of Pete! That's been the problem since the '60's--everyone's afraid to take risks. They'd rather take the quick, easy path to profit than take the slow, ultimately rewarding path to artistic perfection. Sure, there have been brief spurts of artistic ferment in popular music since the Beatles went kablooey, but they've always been exploited, and as a result, halted, by the greed of those who only wanted a quick score. Oh well, that's economics. All we can hope for is that the exploiters get rich enough so that they don't want any more.

    But here's the catch--I DON'T believe that the best material from the '60's is the best material EVER. Sure, it may be fun and bouncy, but it can't hold a candle to the bombastic masterworks of the mid-'70's (Quadrophenia, Bat Out of Hell, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Born to Run, Hotel California, Dark Side of the Moon). Those portraits of pomposity all taught us that rock and roll can mean something more than the occasional R&B rebellious shuffle, more than boy meets girl, give peace a chance, let's get high and explore our corpus collosums, etc. They taught us that loud guitars and dark drama were not necessarily bipolar opposites. They taught us, in short, that rock will never die, that it will only get bigger and grander until all we can do is love it, whether we want to or not. And that is all I have to say about THAT.

    Now, it's worth noting that the most notoriously inconsistent decade is the one where all people though about was a superficial good time--that's right, you guessed it, the '80's. That's mainly because people lost their attention spans when the economy took an upswing--all they wanted was more, more, more. Hence, the plague of one-hit wonders. Use one and go on to the next. It was horrible. Though this trend did die briefly once the economy went down again in the late '80's, and we saw a resurgence of consistent bands in the form of R.E.M., Nirvana, the Smashing Pumpkins, and Nine Inch Nails (though not the Pixies. The Pixies stink. Inconsistent bastards. Write that down.), it came back in all its ugly glory after the economic boom of the mid-'90's and execs had no incentive to sign on bands with a decent amount of songwriting ability. By the way, '90's bands do NOT sound like '60's bands--sorry to disagree with you, George. They may be fairly underproduced, on the whole, and have relatively short songs, but--hello? Need I again mention the Smashing Pumpkins, NIN, Pearl Jam, Tool, Hootie and the Blowfish, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Radiohead, all of which clearly have their main roots in artists such as Cheap Trick, Eno, Bruce Springsteen, King Crimson, John Cougar Mellencamp, George Clinton, and Pink Floyd, respectively, all major artists of the '70's?

    In short, economics inversely determines musical consistency. During economic good times, the hits are outnumbered by the filler. During times of recession, aka the late '60's to late '70's and late '80's to mid '90's, there is no such thing as filler. That is my musical creed, and I'm stickin' to it. Let the reviews begin.

Steve Potocin <epoggi@cox.net> (26.11.2002)

    George, I agree with your opinion that the music of the 60s was tops. Of course ther has been great music in every decade, as I tend to focus on songs rather than strictly artists. What I'm really doing here is getting a chance to lay out my all time top ten song list. Here goes:

    #1 Look Thru Any Window- The Hollies

    #2 Shes Not There The Zombies

    #3 Things We Said Today The Beatles

    #4 A Million Miles Away The Plimsouls

    #5 Friday on my mind The Easybeats

    # 6 There She Goes The La's

    #7 Please let me wonder The Beach Boys

    #8 I Wanna Testify Parliment

    #9 Do You Know What I Mean The Turtles

    #10 I Wanna Be With You The Raspberries.

    Now this is my list this morning, it is a PERSONAL list, and it always changes [Except for #1]

<Tweed66@aol.com> (21.06.2003)

    What an interesting site! As a fellow enthusiast for that time, I'll share my story. I joined a friend in operating a backyard radio station in 1964, just as the British Invasion was landing in America. His cousin worked at a country music radio station in a nearby small town, and supplied us with all the new Rock and Roll tunes which that station discarded because they weren't country. So we two 14 year olds ran a 1 and 1/2 watt transmitter station playing Animals, Beach Boys, Beatles, Dylan, DC5, Lovin' Spoonful, Manfred Mann, Mitch Ryder, Paul Revere, Sam and Dave, Stones, Temptations, Zombies, and all kinds of other acts (like Bill Cosby), keeping up with the "real" AM radio stations of Jacksonville. Sure, the 60s were a great time, and the music was great, and we had our hands on it. What better time than youth? All of that high energy music fit perfectly into the tempo of the times. Some say it set the tempo of the times, but I believe it just kept the beat. There really was a lot going on.

    The bit about originality caused enough stir, but I think most writers missed the point. Here's where you're right: before the Beatles, Rock and Roll was just too dreary for words. You could dance to it, but you couldn't bring yourself to sing the tunes. So they didn't invent 4/4 time; what they did was put positive emotions and energy into the music. Even songs with a sad sentiment conveyed the idea that "we're over that and moving on now." You cannot imagine how I loathed those ridiculous pre-Beatles songs. Sure the four were part of a bigger scene in Britain of the time, and they fed off each other's energy. But the Beatles became the big fish in the aquarium, and the others saw they had to try for a unique identity, or else be swallowed up. Original? Close enough! They were the best.

    The Stones' best years, in my opinion were those during Brian Jones' lifetime, and what originality they achieved since then didn't matter much, except to keep them making a ton of money. Hendrix superseded them in my book.

    There's some good stuff since the 70s, but whoever writes most the lyrics must have led a pretty deprived life. I can't imagine why, since they're "my generation's" kids. Can you imagine anyone whistling these latter-day monstrosities? Not often. In 5 years, all will be forgotten. Rap? Talk about derivative! Talk about dreary! Lotta loud louts.

    It may just be the prejudice or predilection of an old fool, but I think you're right. Really enjoyed your reviews. I was glad to see how much of the territory you covered, and appreciate the perspective of a younger listener. It's good for balance.

    Since the kids are grown, and mostly gone, I spend a lot of time surfing the Internet, which is much improved from '82. I work as a bureaucrat, listening day after day to some of the world's saddest stories, and dreariest excuses. Harry Truman, H.L.Mencken and Omar Khayyam (Fitzgerald's) are the guys I quote the most. I never miss an opportunity to laugh. I am a 53 year old native Floridian. My name is Harry Moore.

    My wife and I recently saw Joe Cocker at vintage 30's theatre. It should have been a Concerdance, but what a show! Music lover since childhood: Bluegrass, Country and Western, Classics, Calypso, Do-Wop, Folk, Jazz, New Age, Reggae, Rock and Zydeco. Good stuff can be whistled or sung a capella. Contemptuous of lame or pretentious lyrics, and unnatural singing. Enjoy almost anything with good melody and smart lyrics.

    The misery of life cannot be escaped, but must be embraced after eating onions and garlic and drinking too much. It must be over-earnestly spoken with, endlessly, using foreign words and phrases. Singing always works. Sometimes it can be talked into posing nude for sketches, but one must remember not to stare at particular features.

Brian Adkins <Brian.Adkins@Enerwise.com> (29.01.2004)

    I think you're absolutely right George, and I don't see why people have such a difficult time admitting that the 60s is where the heart of rock n roll music lies. The music prior to this era gave rock n roll the brains by laying a nice foundation for arrangements, lyric etc. But the 60s perfected it and touched the souls of true music listeners forever. I don't think this has to do with originality though. Saying it's because of originality would be unfair as new bands didn't have the chance to come first. No I don't think it's originality that makes that era so precious at all. I think the ability of the song/music writers to express the state of "real life" are what made the music extraordinary, outstanding and exceptional.

    For instance, I think the Vietnam war really helped Dylan become the star that he is. He was able to combine his witty humor with a sincere, real subject that lots of people felt very strongly about, and by doing so, he was able to touch people deep inside. No one has been able to sing a song about slavery (Brown Sugar) like The Stones and the topic has been around for ages. I won't go on with this, but hopefully you see what I mean. I don't think the music of today is criticized for the bands or artists being "copycats". Oh no, I don't think that's why people consider music of the 80s and 90s to be "not-as-good" as the 60s at all. I think it simply has to do with the majority of "newer" bands being unable to set an atmosphere and write lyric that have to do with real issues in the world or to do with life in general. It's basically lyric delivering a message about "nothingness" with horrible music and absolutely no atmosphere what so ever to back it up.

Nicolas Perez Santoro <nikus80@hotmail.com> (14.02.2004)

    Mmm, I don't know. Judging by your website, the 60 are the best, but judging by music jnkies anonymous, the 90 are really cool. My favourite band is The Beatles, and my second favourite band is Radiohead, so I think you're missing something. I think the mainstream, well, sucks, and that's why there is a problem. That said, I agree with your essay "music today" (except on radiohead, you didn't listened to it; it is NOT pink floyd, there is some influence in OK Computer, but neither The Bends or Kid A sound like pink floyd). There are so many bands which simply do not broke new ground. When there is so much music in the world, sometimes "good" is not good enough, because there is a lot of great music out there. Music we aren't even aware of. I'm from argentina so I'm in contact with my folklore or our tango, but what about brazilian music? I'm not talking about angra or sepultura here, nor generic danceable music, is great music you just have to look for. Celtic music? I've heard a celtic song which blowed my mind off, but it wasn't a well known song. I don't know shit about celtic music. Anyway this is just wandering around, what I meant to say is that there is lotsa music you simply don't know. BTW, have you seen "Wild Man Blues"? So THAT's a different opinion on XX's music peak.

Rolf Reijers <rolfreij@hotmail.com> (09.03.2004)

    I agree on one subject with George. Yes, the best music was made during the 60's. Nothing that came before or what will come after can ever come close to that decade. The sixties had it all: great melodies, innovative ideas, exciting atmosphere and the songs rarely crossed the 3.30 minute limit, which kept them compact and to the point.

    But I definitely NOT share the opinion that good music ceased to exist after 1975. It is my strong believe that every period in time has its fair share of great music, doesn't matter if you talk about 1904, 1954 or 2004. So, that's why I'm just only too willing to come to the defence of the 80's and 90's which seem to get bashed from all sides on this site. According to George's reviews and a lot of its readers (see readers comments) the 80's has produced the most atrocious and cheesiest music ever put on tape. Well, if you judge 80's music by late-period E.L.O. or late-period Moody blues, yes, maybe then you have a point. But that's the same thing as judging the Great Golden Sixties by the late-period output of Elvis Presley or late-period Fats Domino.

    Of course, you have to judge the 80's by the music which defined this period, by acts which were typical of the decade. Some examples ? Prince, Echo & the Bunnymen, XTC, Public Enemy, Metallica, Tuxedomoon, T-Bone Burnette, Zapp, Run DMC, Steve Albini's Big Black, Pixies, the Gun Club, the Clash, Mantronix, Michael Jackson, Iron Maiden, eighties Tom Waits, Virgin Prunes, Einstürzende Neubauten (you may call them non-musicians, but they were definitely original in their approach), Gregory Isaacs, Sonic Youth, Bauhaus, Cameo, Smiths, the Cure, Foetus, Cramps, Siouxie & The Banshees, Black Flag, Eric B. & Rakim, Pop Will Eat Itself, New Order, Killing Joke, Talking heads, the Fall, Eurythmics, Elvis Costello, Psychic TV, Slayer, Butthole Surfers, Stone Roses, U2, Nick cave & the Birthday Party, Jonzun Crew, Eek-A-Mouse, Dead Kennedys, Madness, Suicidal Tendencies, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Eyeless In Gaza, Boogie Down Productions, Yello, Julian Cope/the Teardrop Explodes, Hüsker Dü, R.E.M., Cocteau Twins, Depeche Mode, This Heat, Philip Glass, Beastie Boys, Dead Can Dance, Chills, the On-U Sound label (Mark Stewart, Tackhead, African Head Charge and the like), Discharge, Specials, Test Department, Urban Dance Squad, Black Uhuru, Feelies, N.W.A., Laurie Anderson, Wipers, Coldcut, early Simple Minds, Marc Almond & Soft Cell, De La Soul, Japan, Chris Isaak, Yellow magic Orchestra, Ministry (yes, they made their best work during the 80's), Bad Brains, Sisters Of Mercy, New Model Army, Faith No More, Was (Not Was), Afrika Bambaataa, D.A.F., Midnight Oil, Sinead O' Connor, Pogues, Detroit Techno pioneers such as Juan Atkins (Model 500), Kevin Saunderson, Derrick May and Blake Baxter, early Chicago/New York House (Marshall Jefferson, Robert Owens, Todd Terry, etc.), do I need to continue ? Those were really the names that defined the epoch.

    And if you ask me about the ones that gave the 80's such a bad name, yes, from time to time I like my portion of Madonna, Guns 'n Roses or early Duran Duran as well.

    Plus, during the decade, record companies finally picked up on the African continent, so that African performers such as Fela Kuti (Nigeria), Thomas Mapfume (Zimbabwe), King Sunny Adé (Nigeria), Cheb Khaled (Algeria), Mahmoud Ahmed (Ethiopia) and Youssou N' Dour's Etoile de Dakar (Senegal) were exposed to a bigger western audience.

    Now, if you read this list carefully, were those eighties really so horrendous ? You are kidding me.

    So what makes this period so underrated ? Maybe it's got something to do with the fact that the gap between mainstream and underground music was never as wide as during the 80's. A lot of the above mentioned names are kinda obscure. Not so many people have heard them and it was actually not different at the time when their work was released. I remember, when the debut album of Virgin Prunes came out in 1982 in my native country Holland, it was considered a big underground hit. It sold a whopping ironical 1000 copies in the whole country, if you know what I mean. It's no coincidence that big rock names such as R.E.M., Metallica and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who all were around for the largest part of the 80's, only became huge at the dawn of the 90's. Only by then the musical taste of the masses had changed that much to accept these bands on a wider scale. So what about the real mainstream of the 80's, then ? Yes, that was very bad (Europe, Bananarama, Tiffany....brrr). But was the mainstream of the 60's so much better ? For every great hitsingle from the Doors or Jimi Hendrix appeared at least ten Engelbert Humperdincks or Frankie Avalons on the charts, but nobody seems to remember that. The 20's, 30's and 40's are considered as the Golden Age of Jazz. But at the time, apart from some watered down imitations (all by white orchestra leaders, of course), Jazz music was rarely heard on the radio or outside of the black ghettos. What I'm trying to say is, for real good music you always have to dig somewhat deeper, beyond the surface of the hitparade. Doesn't matter if we're talking about the 30's, 60's or the 80's.

    But let us proceed on to the 90's. Another decade which is not very popular on this site. Remarkable, considering the fact that most people who visit this site were during the 90's in their teens or early twenties.

    Well, I can tell you without even blinking with my eyes that the 90's was in musical terms the best decade since, well....since the 60's. So, don't you try to bash the nineteen hundred and nineties, you boring young farts ! I'm not going to write down another endless list of names, but let me just remind you of some great 90's rockers such as Nirvana or Smashing Pumpkins or Tool, Britpop, Raggamuffin Reggae, Thrash Metal (I not only find beauty in music in its melody or something, but also in its extremity), lotsa Female Power (PJ Harvey, Alanis, Tori Amos, to name but a few), or the loads of terrific Hiphop (the 80's are known as the golden years of Hiphop, but the best Rap music was actually made in the 90's).

    But what really characterized this decade was the development of the Dance scene; Triphop, Drum & Bass, Acid jazz, dark Underground Techno, Big Beat, abstract electronica from the likes of Aphex Twin, Plaid and Autechre....it's all too good to be true and hasn't aged one bit yet. It's only justice that also George picked up on names like the Chemical Brothers and Autechre and is starting to include them on his site. This music is as classical or timeless as what came before. So what if it is dominated by synths and samplers (yes, I consider a sampler an instrument. Ever tried to make a piece of music on a sampler, even if you can use bits and parts of already excisting sounds? Believe me, strumming out some tried and tested chords out of a guitar is a lot easier to accomplish). Is that bad ? Is it something to be afraid of ? Of course not, it's just a part of the evolution of pop music, which is always reinventing itself. That's what's gives pop music its charm.

Brendan S. McCalmont <tnahpellee@yahoo.com.au> (14.07.2004)

    Well, I think it boils down to personal opinion. That's all I can say. I enjoy 80's pop more than anything I think, so I'd disagree but perhaps there's something in that late 60's early 70's rock that captivates you personally.

<Mark Chajkowksy> (31.05.2006)

    George,

    I truly believe that nothing will ever top that 60's period in music. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, The Kinks, and The Byrds - I have yet to hear anything that even compares to these bands/artists. My problem is that it seems like I am the only one amongst my friends that realizes this. I had a huge debate with one friend a few nights ago. He himself is a great guitar player, so he proceeds to destroy George Harrison and Dave Davies. He says they weren't technically gifted guitar players. His whole point is that the way instruments and musicians have evolved, music today is better than it was in the 60's and 70's. He may be right about George Harrison. But I dont care how technically talented my friend is with his guitar, he couldnt beat George Harrison musically in a million years. He even stated that "Avenged Sevenfold is better than the Beatles". (Avenged Sevenfold is some metal/emo band). I, of course, called him an idiot. I would love to just rip him up, but its difficult because he's stubborn, among other things. He thinks that because he plays the guitar, he has some elevated judgement on music, if that makes any sense. If there is one person that probably could make him look stupid it would be you. What can i say to just really make him stutter?

    My friend knows how revolutionary the music was in the 60's, but to say that some metal band today is better than The Beatles is absolutely ridiculous. He also thinks Aerosmith is god's gift to earth. I proceeded to list 63 bands that are better than Aerosmith.

    Surprisingly, or maybe not, I am only 20 years old. Thanks, and take care. If anything, point me in a direction. I really want to make this kid realize what a dumbass he is.



Superstition # 2: Yes, I like blues music. AND I like bluesrock heroes like Clapton. So sue me. Pardon me, but it seems that it's become the general tendency among web reviewers to dis the blues and especially blues rock. I don't know why this is happening. My guess is that either they play guitar and just can't afford the virtuosity which is so necessary for good blues rock, or maybe they just think that blues has been largely overrated as a genre throughout the years. Me, I like a good bluesy guitar solo now and then, and I can even tolerate lengthy 20-minute Creamish solos (although that's not what I like to do best with my music). Not to mention that Mr Blues is the daddy of Mr Rock'n'Roll. And blues is the only music form that hasn't been nightmarishly vulgarized in the heavy metal 70's, electronic 80's and puzzled 90's. Put on a good blues record now and then and have a good time. Just don't do it too often.

Third Millennium Update:This was actually more a rant in the support of Clapton, I suppose, than anything else. I really really dislike when an artist takes up blues and treats it in a generic way - I mean, just playing the blues doesn't mean that you play it in a unique and interesting way. Clapton plays the blues fine, the Stones play the blues fine, but Free, for example, play the blues very poorly. It all depends, of course. That said, too many people still find themselves cringing at the very idea of somebody playing "blues", which is absurd.

Challenge or support my Superstition # 2?

Your worthy comments:

Anthony Mercadante <tmercada@automatedmicro.com> (01.05.2000)

    Clapton, a bluesrock hero? Call him an unimaginative thief, maybe, but a hero? There are MANY better bluesmen out there. At the very least you need to give Zeppelin its due for changing the musical landscape with this regard. I know that it's cool now to bash Zeppelin because they get overplayed and are 'given too much credit'. Let's put that into perspective, however: doesn't that mean that their influence over rock has been so great that it is impossible to ignore them? Does it not mean that their music has such an enduring power, like the Doors (which is the college kids equivalent of Led Zeppelin), that it must be that they made truly great TIMELESS music? True, the Doors did do some original new things to and with their music, but did Zeppelin not do as much? Just ask 5 rock bands who their musical influences are and see if you can get none of them to say zeppelin. Remember, plagiarism is the highest and sincerest form of flattery.

    But I digress,

    Blues is the heart and soul of rock and roll. So, it truly surprises me at just how low you rated the Allman Brothers Band. They did so much to bring bluesrock to the foreground and had so much influence and interaction with southern rockers across America. And nowhere did I see Stevie Ray Vaughn. Did he not basically create the entire genre of Texas Blues Rock? The one to which the Chris Duarte Group and Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band aspire to?

    Anyway, blues rocks, to turn a phrase.

Dave Thomas <DTHOMAS@bowg.com> (13.09.2000)

    How can anyone with such an aversion to "derivative" music enjoy the blues? We're talking about the most constrictive structure in all of music here, folks. One scale. Basically one chord progression. A billion interchangeable solos.

    Maybe you should examine what you like about the blues, and why you enjoy it despite its reliance on such standardized schemes. You could then expand your musical tastes by applying similar standards to other periods of rock music, which produce equally enjoyable results from similarly derivative sources.

    [Special author note: blues is not just a matter of scale - it is very much a matter of attitude and soul, relying on true artistism and emotionality (which is why this standard is hardly appliable to "other periods of rock music", and it is one of the most demanding genres in the matter of musicianship (unfortunately, this has been forgotten in our post-punk days). That said, there have been lots of bands that haven't mastered the art of blues in a creative way, but I'm not taking these into account.]

Robert Tally <BtheW@aol.com> (01.03.2001)

    I don't think the situation you describe with the blues is any different from what all of the other styles of music go through. There's always some pop fan that hates the blues because of all the regurgitated songwriting ideas. And there's always some jazz fan that hates rock because the players aren't technical enough. And there's always some rock fan that hates rap because the words are spoken rather than sung. To borrow a phrase from Yul Brynner: et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. The bottom line is: if you dismiss an entire style of music, you're only doing it because you're putting it into the context of some other style - which is inappropriate. The blues is 99% feel. Songwriting has very little to do with it, so complaining about some Robert Johnson song because it isn't 'A Day In The Life' or something is to miss the point entirely. Or to dismiss the guitar solo in the Kinks' 'You Really Got Me' because it's only about three notes and can be played by your grandmother on a bad day is to completely overlook the fact that it's the intensity that counts with something like that. Technique has nothing to do with it, so there's no point talking about technique in that context. (In fact, I would bet that any technically accomplished guitarist would find it hard not to 'over-finesse' that solo). And the fact that a piece of rap music doesn't have a vocal melody is entirely irrelevant. It's like criticizing a radio for not being in color. Or a novel for not having good camera work. (Not that I'm in the mood to defend rap - I'm not exactly a connoisseur, but I've heard a least a couple of things that I thought were pretty good.) Of course, it goes in the other direction, too. People who are into rap sometimes think that rock is has-been music, and a lot of rock fans don't want to sit through jazz or classical music because it's not always in song form, or because they think it's unhip to actually be technically accomplished at something. I think if people really want to be open-minded, they need to judge things for what they are, rather for what they aren't (unless, of course, you're judging something that's clearly derivative - then, obviously, it deserves to be compared to the original). Not that I'm guiltless in this situation: I still haven't warmed up to speed metal or to opera (or to the inevitable hybrid that will someday emerge from those two styles).

    In response to Dave's comment: Everything's constrictive to somebody. Obviously, a songwriter might feel that way having to write blues all the time, but an instrumentalist who's good at improvisation might feel the same way if he's in a band with a songwriter with very definite and inflexible ideas.

Mattias Lundberg <lundbergmattias@hotmail.com> (13.02.2002)

    In my opinion, blues doesn't work very well in diluted form. A bluesy note in an unsuitable context has somewhat the effect of yeast. No, blues is like whiskey; mixed with something it gives less of itself, but doesn't allow the other component to flourish (that was an awful metaphor, but you see what I mean). On this account I love blues on its own terms; Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Hound Dog Taylor &c. - but also Ten Years After, Savoy Brown, Bluesbreakers and similar white bands which are still essentially 'pure' blues. As for almost all other popular music (except, perhaps, Heavy Metal) I find them incompatible with blues elements; nothing can mar a 'non-blues' song as badly as a bluesy lick or a I-IV-I-V-I progression. Keep these strong potions apart otherwise they will loose their characteristic powers.

Oleg Sobolev <dima@aspol.ru> (03.10.2002)

    I like blues too. I'm not a blues expert or a great fan of that genre, but I like it. I mean, I like it from time to time. Of course, I can listen to bluesy Rolling Stones stuff or to bluesy Dire Straits stuff every day, but such hardcore blues as early Fleetwood Mac (and Pete Green in general) or to blues-hard-rock of Led Zeppelin are not my cup of tea, sorry. I like Eric Clapton and CCR too, but I have heard too little from the former and I don't think that CCR is very bluesy. Oh, and have you heard this lousy "blues" stuff that was written in Russia in 90's. It is simply awful, with drum machines booming around, pseudo-blues guitar solos everywhere and idiotic repeatative lyrics. And I was a fan of one of those "blues" groups, imagine that!

Koen Heringa <J.K.Heringa@phys.uu.nl> (02.02.2004)

    Glad to hear you like Blues. Not as much as I, from what I read about on your Proto-Rock Heroes Page, but still. Not that I'm a purist - I like blues rock too (to stick to the subject; there are far more genres I enjoy). In short: well, I agree with your superstition. Except that it should not just be a rant in the support of Clapton (whom I love) but of Blues in general. Artists like Buddy Guy. Or SRV. Or Howlin' Wolf.

    To Dave: It's already been said actually. You do miss the point entirely. The Blues _is_ about feeling. Although I think technical ability is also important. You can't apply the same standards to other forms of music (since when has Blues been a "period"??) Incidentally, I have examined what I like about it and it is this: it goes right through my body from my fingertips to my toes. If done well, this is as resonant as music can get.

Nicolas Perez Santoro <nikus80@hotmail.com> (14.02.2004)

    Not so recently I've thought this theory that there is no "best genre", but some genres are more limited than others (punk rock anyone?). Recently, I was thinking that some genres are simply different on purpose, ie: punk is supposed to be fun, ambient is supossed to be ambient and not more, et cetera. Robert Tally seems to think the same way I do, but I have a problem with some blues musicians. Why do they have to always stick to the same old boring chord proggresion? Why won't they dare to change? It bores the crap off me. That said, there are some great songs based on that chord proggresion (even I have a problem enjoying them because I care a lot about chord proggresions), and some blues songs simply aren't based on it, so I'm happy. I hate when rock bands use tired chord proggresions, too, so I guess it's even. But hey, anyone that denies blues importance deserves to be labeled as a "fucking moron". Yes, you know I'm talking to you. Fucking moron!

Brendan S. McCalmont <tnahpellee@yahoo.com.au> (14.07.2004)

    Hypocrit(e)! ;-) The thing about the blues is it's essential catchiness and rhythmical bravado.



Superstition # 3: I like conceptual rock music. I like rock operas. I like it when rock is trying to be art. Of course, all the three statements need a little correction: all of these things have to be done well. But, apart from that, art rock is probably the last epochal music genre of the XX century. That doesn't mean I have anything against simple pop music of the likes of what has been done in the early 60's; but the way rock music grew and matured has always fascinated me, too. It just makes things more interesting.

Third Millennium Update: This superstition was originally directed against "Rolling Stone aesthetics", i.e. when an artist is dismissed simply on the grounds of 'pretentiousness'. That's bollocks, of course, because any artist is pretentious by definition. But, of course, I'm no "knight in shining armour" when it comes around to defending art-rock in all of its variations - you'll see lots of art-rock record criticism on the site. See, the rub lies in the fact that while no-one has the right to despise something just because it's 'pretentious', no record has the right to be considered a classic just because it's 'art-rock' and it's more complex and 'intellectual' than other records. It's music we're talking about.

Challenge or support my Superstition # 3?

Your worthy comments:

Mr. Flash <zwetan@stud.uni-frankfurt.de> (01.09.2000)

    I don't have the impression you really like that sort of thing. You gave unashamingly low ratings to the Kinks' Preservation, which IMHO couldn't have been done better, and seemed to be delighted to write that Sleepwalker was "at least no rock-opera"... You also dislike Genesis' Lamb and Floyd's Wall for a great deal, too great actually for any rock opera fan.

    [Special author note: Mr Flash, are ye? Count me as your Mr Black then! I said these things need to be done well. The Kinks' Arthur is a great rock opera, for instance (well, it's not as straightforwardly a 'rock opera' as Preservation, but only for the better). The first half of the Wall is great. The Who and Andrew Lloyd Webber perfectly mastered the art of rock-opera. Frank Zappa did it great in a comical way. The Kinks' Preservation is shit, and, unfortunately, the general public and critical opinions side with me on that one. So sorry.]

Anthony Mercadante <tmercada@automatedmicro.com> (01.05.2000)

    I guess Rush 2112 is too 'new' to be to your liking. This album is what every concept album should aspire to be, in my opinion. And it follows it's theme in the Classical sense.

Robert Tally <BtheW@aol.com> (02.03.2001)

    Now, of course, it's a purely subjective thing, but I think the two above responses are kind of funny. You make the point that concept rock has to be done well, and then one guy mentions Preservation, and the second guy mentions 2112, as though these are exemplary concept albums. Heck, I even have trouble taking The Wall seriously. (And don't get me wrong, folks, the Kinks, Rush and Pink Floyd have all spent plenty of time on my CD player.) But, in general, I relate to your idea that the conceptual stuff makes for some enjoyable listening. It can't help but make the piece of work a little more interesting, even if it stinks. In that way, though, making a concept album can turn out to be a creative crutch. Making good music no longer has to be a priority if you can just make a story out of it. So in the long run, I still tend to listen to the individual songs and judge them individually, regardless of whether or not they're part of a concept.

Oleg Sobolev <dima@aspol.ru> (03.10.2002)

    I like rock-operas too. I like concepts. I like pretentious conceptual crap. I love when it's a dialogue in every song (yeah, right, kinda Gabriel-era Genesis). That's all, I reckon.

Jon <gray0187@tc.umn.edu> (25.01.2003)

    HAHA this one is silly... I didn't much care for the bues one either, but THIS one... im sure you listen to wagner, right? sure you do. ok, smart people dont write pop music... theres a superstition for you. these art rockers are STOOPID. ever listen to that machine molle (matching mole i mean) song with that cool this is the first versevocal? or the bbc moon in june? those are funny lyrics, because they have the same level of arty pretentious music but the lyrics are lovably stupid. popular music needs a fucking erik in there somewhere, cause the claudes are taking over. thats riht im looking at you, john lennon!

    [Special author note: Am I right to suppose that according to this particular comment, Wagner was the first art-rocker or something? Now THAT's funny.]

Nicolas Perez Santoro <nikus80@hotmail.com> (14.02.2004)

    I don't usually feel pretentiouness in music. Unless some guy rips a technically difficult solo, but it sounds like shit. I'm sorry, but I think lots of jazz musician are pretentious. I define pretentious as "someone that pretends to be/ have more than it actually is/deserves". At least, that's what my dictionary says. Pretentiousness in narrations, now that is something that annoys me. I hate pretentious stories. Except for Neon Genesis Evangelion, because it pretends to be something that it isn't, but even then, is very deep. But back to music (or not), pretentious lyrics annoy me. I have many friends that like power metal, and I do too (but some of it...), but their lyrics are terribly pretentious. And you know my definition of "pretentious". Rhapsody is the worst offender. And hey, my cousin loves rhapsody lyrics. But they're stupid. I prefer lyrics that don't try to be smart to lyrics that try but fail.

    And Rolling Stone sucks. The magazine, that's it. So why do you care? anyone with respect to that magazine is an asshole. and hey, I don't make that kind of statements that often. The people that do them are asshole. But MAN, did you see their "top 100 guitarists of all time" list?. Awful.



Superstition # 4: Progressive rock? Approach this genre with care. Prog-rockers are a very dangerous breed. On one hand, prog-rock was probably the 'highest' rock music ever got, and at its best it wasn't just a popularization of classical music (which, by the way, is not a bad idea by itself, as was proved by ELP): it was really a separate musical genre the likes of which were never unheard before. On the other hand, prog-rockers were often whiny, self-indulgent, artsy and way too serious. When their seriousness was justified by their actual smartness, clever philosophic conceptions and deep lyrics that actually HAD some sense (early Genesis and Jethro Tull; Pink Floyd), it worked; when their seriousness turned out to be puffed up and purely imaginable (King Crimson, Yes), it didn't. Come on now - don't you sometimes want Greg Lake or Jon Anderson to just shut up? Nevertheless, even in these cases they were often coming up with good music. So yeah, I can say that I rather like prog rock. But oh boy, are some albums overrated!

Third Millennium Update: Actually, I now like Yes more than I used to... funny, isn't it?

Challenge or support my Superstition # 4?

Your worthy comments:

Gustavo Rodriguez <rodblanc@webtv.net> (28.06.99)

    Hate prog music. It's cholesterol for rock n' roll--just makes it sick and bloated! It stole the soul from rock more than anything else. In my opinion, it was more of a threat to rock n' roll than disco in the seventies. The enemy was from within!

paul bartlett <paulrb@snet.net> (22.07.99)

    Prog-rock is the only "intellingent" (sic) rock music...and who the hell is Jon Anderson?

<kenneth.e.willis@bt.com> (10.09.99)

    I love prog-rock, but yet i have to agree, there have been, and still are, times when i wish greg lake and jon anderson would shut up!

Anthony Mercadante <tmercada@automatedmicro.com> (01.05.2000)

    Many famous musicians are prima donnas (I can assure you that, having met a fair number of them.) - so don't think that only the prog rockers are this way. And does all rock have to be reality based to make it worthwhile? Is Isaac Asimov worthless because none of his stuff is tightly attached to reality? Is Star Wars a terrible trilogy because it is non-fiction? Does all rock have to be serious? Wow, that would be a serious downer.

Dag Larsson <dag.larsson@privat.utfors.se> (17.09.2000)

    Progrock is cool, I think. And often good. And of course Lake and Anderson should shut up sometimes! And an answer to Paul Bartlett: Jon Anderson is the singer in Yes.

Simon Lacombe <porcimon@yahoo.com> (09.12.2000)

    First, I have to tell you reader, that I am s very huge progressive music fan, it's my favorite kind of music, and it always overwhelms me!

    That is why I had to write something here to defend my favorite. (I'm from Quebec and I speak French, so sorry for any English mistakes, also, I am 17 years old).

    I agree with you, some progressive rock groups don't do it... Especially when they try integrating their style into the 80s or 90s sound... (Owner of a lonely heart... yuck! And oh this is the worst... Invisible touch! Yucky!) But There is stops, I mean, just look at the progressive rock that was made during the 70s, and if you can concentrate on NOT ASK YOURSELF TOO MUCH QUESTION, you will just be teleported in another world, where every single note or combination of instruments will put a beautiful landscape in your head. Why do you say ou don't like pretentious music and stuff? I don't call it pretentious, you can, but I don't, they made it because some people loved it, and they did love it too! Emerson Lake and Palmer is just wonderful, I mean, I even love Hoedown very much, Karn Evil 9 is wonderful, Tarkus is too! Just don't ask yourself too much question and it'll pass good! I think that I was lucky finding prog CDs in the right order... I mean, you I would've bought a CD like "Brain Salad Surgery" first, I would've quickly abandonned this music... But you have to learn to love this music! I usually take up to 6-10 listenings to get the mood of a CD, Progressive music is a lot based on Moods! I love Yes too, Close to the edge is just wonderful... Heart of the Sunrise brings a tear to my eye! You have to let it flow I mean... just forget that Squire plays the bass too much there, Howe just doesn't make it there... You have to concentrate on the WHOLE thing, and not every single flaw, and I think that if you do so, you can appreciate almost every kind of music, and you'll understand why I love Progressive music so much... I made my friend sick with progressive music for 2 years, before he said "Hey that one's very cool!" (and that was The Return of Giant Hogweed!)

    My favorite band is Genesis, From Trespass to A trick of the Tail... Peter Gabriel is extraordinary... Genesis will, for sure, take you somewhere else... Forget about 80s and 90s with Collins, I respect him a lot as a drummer though... anyway, for Genesis, I might write something in the right section someday :o)

    I'll stop now :P But before that, here are my last words "Progressive is music for your heart, and your feelings, the way you let the melody penetrate your soul... and not the way it tries to penetrate your brain... Because it won't, for sure! It cannot penetrate a brain before it goes into your heart... I mean, I loved Genesis and Yes and King Crimson and ELP and I didnt even know who was in which group and where they came from, discovering that after made it just even more wonderful... Listen to it with your soul :o)

Robert Tally <BtheW@aol.com> (11.03.2001)

    The only thing wrong with prog is the people who listen to it. I'm not making this accusation towards all prog fans, but I will say that too many of them remind me of what I usually refer to as 'jazz snobs'. And, you know, I really like a lot of jazz, and I've heard plenty of prog rock that sounds good to me, too - but I won't for a moment dismiss simpler ways of making music just because they're easy to play. The less a musician has to concentrate on the details of the composition, the more room he has to let his inspiration flow. There's very little room for interpretation in prog music. They play the songs in concert the way they play them on the record. If they didn't, the audience would think they weren't that good - that they were incapable of reproducing it. Simple music may be easy to play, but I can always tell the difference between a beginner playing a simple tune, and a seasoned veteran playing the same tune - so there must be something more to being a good musician than just being complicated. This doesn't mean, however, that I don't think there's a time and a place for detailed composition and impeccable playing skills. There's no point in dismissing that stuff, either. I think anybody with a well-rounded taste in music will find himself in the mood for one thing or another at various times. And certainly, in the case of prog, inspiration can flow pretty copiously during the compositional stage.

Alex Temple <fiber_optiqREMOVETHIS@yahoo.com> (06.06.2001)

    on superstition #4: IMHO the only good prog band, in the strictest definition of "prog", was Gentle Giant. Their music has a crispness and clarity of texture lacking in many other bands in the genre. Many of their contemporaries got bombastic (ELP), melodramatic (Genesis), or just plain cheesy (Yes), but GG seems to have avoided those for the most part--although Octopus has some pretty cheesy moments.

Mattias Lundberg <lundbergmattias@hotmail.com> (13.02.2002)

    S. Lacombe (above) is absolutely right - progressive rock has to be approached with an open heart, with unconditional love (I'm deliberately using generic and sentimental formulae to make this point). The pathos showed by the best prog bands makes this music perhaps the most sensitive, personal and sincere (sicut!) form of popular music ever cultivated; it's take it to your heart or leave it. And, in a vast majority of cases, cold, cynical and calculating (again I use terms like this in an attempt to pathopia) listeners strike the pleading and heart-felt artist where it hurts (admiring the structure of a McCartney melody or the raw power of a Blackmore riff are far more intellectual exercises than to embrace the hypotyposis of a Hammill Song). I guess you thought you'd never hear prog being described as a naive and innocently helpless little child, but this is how I see it (And no, I have yet to experience a wish for Lake or Anderson to shut up).

Oleg Sobolev <dima@aspol.ru> (03.10.2002)

    Oh I love prog. I'm not a prog fan by any means (but I considered myself to be one. But it was a long time ago and I just don't want to remember about it), but I like almost all prog genre: the "classical" prog, prog-metal, some RIO and Zehul stuff, some neo-prog etc. etc. etc. But I hate lots of prog too. Most of Yes is the finest example. Or IQ. Btw, IQ, despite the band's name, might be the stupidiest music I have ever heard (although it is prog).

Jon <gray0187@tc.umn.edu> (26.01.2003)

    Yewah... more claudes blah blah blah hardly the highest fomr of anything... that emerson guy played crappier than richard wright, for chrsits sake RICHARD WRIGHT!! elp were a bunch of damn maurices and butcherers. hey! go listen to your wagner, im sure it is very nazilike and emotionally stimulating, you freak! well as long as you have it all figured out, go write the perfect song with the perfect lyrics. who better than you youve got all this knowledge which could be used for the public good, sort of selfish to keep it all to yourself huh? why not save the music, well not just the music world, but the whole world! perhas it could all be shielded with arrogance, and then we;d all be saved!!

    HAHA only kidding, tese are fun to read...

    [Special author note: oh, getting lost in more Wagner references. And there's nothing more arrogant in this world than stating that Richard Wright was a better player than Keith Emerson, for that matter.]



Superstition # 5: I have a feeling this one's gonna turn off most people (hey, just look at all the comments below, I feel like I'm being given thirty-nine lashes), but I'll go ahead and say it. Prog rock is what I like - sometimes. Punk rock is what I hate - most of the time. Braindead three-chord sequences do not make enjoyable music. Once again - if you wanna have some action go listen to 60's garage bands. At least, they were original. Some punk groups can be slightly above the average and even display loads of intellect (like The Clash or The Jam), some can be just a lot of fun (Ramones), but most of them produce dull, melodyless, overaggressive tracks which just do not catch my eye. Nor ear. I'm sorry. Still - the New Wave thing was pretty cool, and it did grow out of punk. New-wavers might possibly be the last intelligent rockers on this planet of ours. Luv The Police! Maybe someday I'll even review them on this site. Who knows?

Third Millennium Update:Well, I did! I did review the Police... heck, I even reviewed the Sex Pistols, though, granted, I didn't have anything good to say about them. Actually, I suppose punk is alright when injected in small quantities - thus, the Ramones' debut album is great, but hoo boy, sitting through several Ramones albums in a row can be really harmful to one's health. I can't actually say that my attitude towards punk rock has become any better in those years, though.

Challenge or support my Superstition # 5?

Your worthy comments:

Eric Feder <ejfeder@amherst.edu> (22.04.99)

    I do NOT think Punk music is worthless. However, I also don't think it is the be all and end all that Prindle, et al think it is. There were lots of really fabulous punk bands back then. you may look at hardcore punk or the "punk" of today (Offspring, countless ska bands, etc) and think it is crap, but listen to the Clash, the Jam, the Buzzcocks (hell, even the Ramones!) and you will hear an updated version of the British invasion pop-rock that you rate so highly

Scott Kohler <skohler@netcom.ca> (18.07.99)

    I'm still nowhere near an expert on punk rock, but after spending the last couple of years getting aquainted with the Beatles, Beach Boys, Dylan, etc. from the 60s, it's been a great place to go. If you can say you "hate" punk most of the time, it seems to me that you must have missed out on a lot of the best punk. In 1977, when the whole thing really got going, bands like the Ramones were trying to get back to things like MELODY and POP, which is what you claim they have none of. Maybe this isn't true for the hardcore scene, but you should at least listen to some of it to see what was happening. And I don't know how familiar you are with Elvis Costello or whether you consider him "punk" or "New Wave", but you should definitely try him out.

<Jkh1392@aol.com> (30.08.99)

    Elvis Costello? Go for it. Pick up a copy of My Aim Is True, This Year's Model, or Armed Forces. All three get my highest possible reccomendation, and they're only vaguely related to punk. As far as that particular genre is concerned, I'm currently listening to the Buzzcocks a lot. They're a nice mid-point the Beatles and the Ramones. And as someone who likes the Who's first album so much, how can you avoid the brilliance of the Clash's self-titled debut? Both are fantastic albums, and they're not all that different from each other.

Mike DeFabio <defab4@earthlink.net> (31.08.99)

    I'm going to have to agree with Mr. Kohler. While there were and are a truckload of punk bands that weren't and aren't worthwhile at all, some of them, like the Clash and the Ramones, actually had some talent behind all that noise. It might be monotony, but it's really great monotony, in contrast to most punk bands, which are just monotony.

Aud Abrahamsen <auabraha@online.no> (06.09.99)

    You don't like metal cos it's more about satanism than music? Try Metallica, they're fantastic, pick up their greatest albums (ride the lightning, master of puppets, and justice for all) and find out that you are wrong. They're not about satanism at all and all about music. Imean, they're really seriuos (sorry about the spelling) about their music, they have never gotten lost in drug orgies and musical experimentation, never had a scandal in their whole carreer, and they're far more consistent than any of the bands you've reviewed. If you like powerful rock with fast riffing, metal is your thing. And don't be so afraid of a bit of religious allusions. A bit of occultism has never hurt anyone.

Simon Hearn <simon@leehearn.freeserve.co.uk> (07.09.99)

    Punk is definitely not worthless - it inspired a generation of bands - not all good though! - to believe anyone could make music. Never mind the Bollocks is a classic and I believe without punk we would not have the styles of music we have today. Just imagine - not punk - we would be hearing Pink Floyd and Disco all day long - aghhhhhh. Nirvana and Rem to mention two bands are indebted to punk. The Clash, Pistols et al are an important part of the lexicon of 20 th century music

    Well, I agree that most glamrock bands/performers were terrible - THE SWEET aghhh. However Bowie could be called a glam rocker in the early 70's and he produced class music and was THE ARTIST OF THE 70's - no question. Slade too - bad hair, but great music. I think that most of the music by glamrock bands was crap and too much attention given to looks rather than music. TWO WORDS - GARY GLITTER - comprende?

Anthony Mercadante <tmercada@automatedmicro.com> (01.05.2000)

    Punk is to 70's rock and roll what rock and roll was to the 50's scene. It is an attempt to get away from the overly polished stuff the record companies were trying to stuff down your throat en masse. To the punk scene, they felt the 60's bands you list had sold their soul to make the deal to get rich and famous. They had turned their back on what made rock rock.

Dag Larsson <dag.larsson@privat.utfors.se> (17.09.2000)

    I agree (not just to make you happy)

Robert Tally <BtheW@aol.com> (18.03.2001)

    I think I like the idea of punk a lot more than most of the results that came about during its heyday. The idea of an entire album made up of nothing but hard, fast rock 'n' roll songs sounds irresistible to me. Unfortunately, most of the punk groups weren't gifted enough to make a good album in the process. And in the end, punk turned out to be more of a fashion revolution than a musical one. As much as I like the Clash, for instance, I have to admit that the songs on their first album are musically the same as pre-psychedelic British music from the '60s - but with a faster tempo and political lyrics. But, all that aside, I think Mr. Mercadante above is right on target when he points out the similarity between punk in the '70s and rock 'n' roll in the '50s. It's inevitable that raw-sounding music will become popular as an answer to slick professionalism.

Mattias Lundberg <lundbergmattias@hotmail.com> (13.02.2002)

    I don't think punk was a 'healthy infusion' as some will have it. Before 1977 there was peace in rock music - yes, people tried to outshine, counteract or ignore each other, but punk was something else. It did not try to change the course of music nor challenge any musical ideas, it just attacked music; Rotten & co. were vandals rather than robbers, murderers rather than rapists, and I'm sure they didn't 'convert' many rock fans, but rather left the field open for people with no interest in rock music. I don't believe in revolutions, you see, because there is always SOMETHING old that's worth building on. As soon as the vandals became bored of trashing the place a dialectic rose, though: bands like No Means No and Dead Kennedys tried (with varying degrees of success and embarrassment) to conflate punk music with music proper and D.K. emerged victorious as soon as they realized that as long as their music was enjoyable, they could write whatever lyrics they wanted. Rock fans couldn't care less.

Oleg Sobolev <dima@aspol.ru> (03.10.2002)

    Oh boy, how I hate punk. Brainless, primitive, ugly music = music that I absolutely hate. Stuff like Ramones, Sex Pistols, The Clash = crap.

David Dickson <ddickson@rice.edu> (11.11.2002)

    Punk bands have absolutely no ambition. Enough said.

Alexander Harris (30.11.2002)

    I totally support what you're saying on Superstition #5. Most people either seem to have the attitude "The Sex Pistols changed rock'n'roll forever. Don't listen to stupid pretentious self-indulgent bands like <insert any non-punk band here>." or "All prog rock rules, and all non-prog rock stinks!". It's insane. I think it's great that someone else out there doesn't dismiss all prog rock as "pretentious" and "self-indulgent" but isn't a huge fan of every prog band in existence, either.

    There are so many things I don't like about punk, I don't think I have room to name them all. The really simple music, the "offend everyone" attitude, etc. all get on my nerves, not to mention the fact that most of the bands (especially the more recent ones) sound the same to me. I don't mind some of the ska-core stuff (in fact, it's one of the few trends I've liked over the past decade), but I'm still getting really sick and tired of most punk in general. The style refuses to try anything new or do anything remotely interesting, with only a few exceptions.

    I automatically have started ignoring any messages, news articles, or web pages insulting bands for being "pretentious" and "self-indulgent". I've learned that those two things are code words for "musically interesting". And I don't see a logical reason why bands are *insulted* for having virtuoso instrumental skills and the like. The Rolling Stone-type critics are just jealous that they couldn't play that sort of thing.

    (Keep in mind, I'm not a huge fan of prog in general; I do like some prog rock, tho, and I think that anyone who automatically insults it for its complexity is just being stupid. However, some simpler music is also good as well, and there's nothing wrong with being either simple or complex.)

    Sorry if this sounds contradictory anywhere; I'm just stating my feelings here.

Nicolas Perez Santoro <nikus80@hotmail.com> (14.02.2004)

    Punk is very limited. And is easy to play and write. The same problem has electronica. The rate of good material/bad material is lower than in other genres. But there are plenty of good bands. I think. I'm not that into punk, I simply like Ramones and Sex Pistols and liked what I've heard of Husker Du and Fugazi (Fugazi isn't exactly punk, but hey, have you ever listened to "good cop"?). But some bands like Pixies and Nirvana, while not exactly punk, were heavily influenced by it (or maybe Nirvana was simply influenced by pixies... whatever)



Superstition # 6: This can probably be evident from the above superstitions already, but I'll still say it: I don't like glam rock, 'cos it relies on theater more than music - apart from a few bands like Mott the Hoople, it didn't ascend to much. I don't like heavy metal (or, at least, what is currently understood as 'heavy metal' - I'm not speaking of Led Zeppelin or Deep Purple here), 'cos it relies on Satanism more than music. I don't like disco 'cos it makes an idiot out of you (if not put to proper use by Mick Jagger or the like). I don't like rap 'cos all of it sounds the same. In other words, I don't like any musical genre created after 1970. Oh, except that New Wave thingie... that's how conservative I am. If popularized/vulgarized/profanized/recycled music is what you're after, you've come to the wrong place.

Third Millennium Update: Boy, THAT was harsh and categorical. I guess I'll have to rephrase that now: instead of 'I don't like heavy metal', let's say 'I don't like generic heavy metal of the Eighties poodle-metal type', since the better metal bands - those that set trends, not followed them - had their great stuff, from Sabbath to Rainbow to Motorhead to Metallica to Slayer. Likewise, instead of 'I don't like glam rock', let's say 'I don't like generic glittery posturing', such as was typical of the Sweet, for instance. The glam-rock of T. Rex, David Bowie was very high quality music, and even bands like Slade can be great in their own way. Next, instead of saying 'I don't like disco', let's say 'I don't like disco that's uncreative' - lots of bands used disco rhythms to good purpose. Boy, I did say some stupid things.. I should have known better. Ha ha! There goes my musical evolution. I still believe all rap sounds the same, though. At least, on some level. But I might try out reviewing the Beastie Boys some day anyway. Why not?

Challenge or support my Superstition # 6?

Your worthy comments:

Richard C. Dickison <randomkill@earthlink.net> (22.08.99)

    Well, what about the Electronic movement? It encompasses everything from Eno to Kraftwerk to Orbital. I like a few (very few) Industrial bands Skinny Puppy or Nine Inch Nails. You can Bop to it but it won't eat your brain like Disco did.

    Classic examples include Front 242 (Front By Front), Skinny Puppy (Rabies), Vangelis (Opera Sauvage), Orb (UFOrb), Delerium (Stone Tower).

    I have spent a great deal of time and money returning to styles that were at one time the latest thing and mining out the few worth while pieces. Sometimes I just want to understand where the newer sounds are coming from. Just like I did with Progressive when I started recollecting on CD all the albums I used to have on vinyl. I'll say again, that I never write off any era because it just might have been that I missed what was really the best parts because like everyone else I am constantly being blasted with top 40 crap which no way represents the real talented artists who are actually creating these new sounds.

    [Special author note: I actually threw Electronics in the same bag with New Wave, although I admit New Wave is really quite an incoherent bunch of styles to be all classified under one name... anyway, take this exact superstition with a grain of salt; my conservatism doesn't mean I keep my ears 100% shut to everything that happens on this planet since the Seventies. And I think I'll be soon making serious corrections to the Creed page, or at least, I'll be expanding the page in order to clarify my ideas.]

Anthony Mercadante <tmercada@automatedmicro.com> (01.05.2000)

    Per heavy metal - I'm not too big on it or on thrash metal either. But your assumption that it relies on satanism is not quite right. Many of the bands use it cause the kids that listen to it think it's 'kewl'. But heavy metal is about a particular style of music, regardless of what A&R reps do to make it sell.

Dave Thomas <DTHOMAS@bowg.com> (13.09.2000)

    All rock relies on theater. From Elvis' hips to Jimi's burning guitar to the rock opera to Grateful Dead extravaganzas to glam to punk to new wave to everything in between. Music doesn't exist in a vacuum! Even bands who never perform live (i.e. XTC) still draw heavily on theatrical themes and influences.   There may be other reasons to dislike glam rock. But in my opinion, its theatricality was one of its strongest points, and the genre did rock and roll a great favor by bringing that element to the foreground.

    [Special author note: as much as rock relies on theater, the theater passes away very quickly - whoever now cares about Elvis' hips or Jimi's guitar? - and the music is what remains. Music certainly doesn't exist in a vacuum, but as time goes by, its ever-actual quality outgrows any theatrical environment it was originally placed into.]

Dag Larsson <dag.larsson@privat.utfors.se> (17.09.2000)

    HM may be satanic but not bad becase of that. I just love Black Sabbath (remember that Ozzy is a Christian), Iron Maiden and Twisted Sister.

Robert Tally <BtheW@aol.com> (29.03.2001)

    Glam rock: If you're not talking about music, but rather performance art, then I suppose glam rock is as valid as anything else, and can be done well or be done poorly. If you're talking purely on musical terms, then the 'glam' aspect of glam rock becomes irrelevant and it boils down to the music itself. (Disagree here. There are certain patterns and elements of style that characterize 'glam' as a musical style even without the visual characteristics - G.S.).

    Heavy metal: Ironically, I remember reading a Robert Plant interview from the early '70s in which he referred to Led Zeppelin music as 'heavy metal.' Now, of course, the music we think of as heavy metal did not yet exist, but there's no question that it grew out of the music of bands like Zeppelin and Sabbath. I think it's the same as thinking of Chuck Berry as early rock 'n' roll. Zeppelin is early heavy metal. And so, I like heavy metal when it's done well, but haven't noticed anybody doing it well in a very long time.

    Disco: I used to be in the 'disco sucks' crowd in the '70s. But I couldn't deny the appeal of 'Fame' and 'Miss You' and (dare I say it) 'Dancing Machine.' So, I guess I like disco. It's just that most of the other songs suck. Rap: I know I've heard at least one rap piece that sounded good to me, but I don't remember what it was. It was something with a lot of inner city imagery, rather than just some buffoon stroking his ego. Anybody ever notice that 'Give Peace A Chance' raps?

Mattias Lundberg <lundbergmattias@hotmail.com> (13.02.2002)

    I'm recently rediscovering a lot of English electronica of the 80s. If I know, or understand, anything about your general musical taste, preferences and biases - and I believe that, after having read most of your reviews, I do to some extent - you are surely missing out on a plethora of interesting music of the synth-pop legacy of Kraftwerk: Gary Numan, Human League, Tears for Fears, Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark, Yazoo, Frankie goes to Hollywood, Thompson Twins (you may laugh, but give them a chance, and you'll might end up giving some of their albums very high ratings), Pet Shop Boys, Depeche Mode, Men without Hats &c. &c. Allow me to come up with what may well be the most categorical over-generalization on this page so far (and there's some fierce competition):

    Most underrated decade: the 1980s

    Most overrated decade: the 1960s

    (As always: we're only talking about the general quality of the music of these decades from the perspective of how they are seen by us).

Oleg Sobolev <dima@aspol.ru> (03.10.2002)

    Well, I like glammy music like David Bowie, T. Rex and Queen, but I just can't stand barinless glammy crap like KISS or Slade. I like most of heavy metal, with the exception of almost all 80's metal, death, black, doom, speed metal (somebody, give me a clear explanation what are the differences between those four styles) and 50% of power metal (others 50% are worthy a pair of listenings, though), I haven't heard too many disco stuff, but I like some for sure and, finally, I hate rap.

David Dickson <ddickson@rice.edu> (11.11.2002)

    You say you don't like "generic heavy metal of the Eighties poodle-metal type." My only response to that is: Why NOT?? So it's lyrically deficient, and it's all that the popular kids that you hated in high school would listen to. (This is a typical American anti-pop-metal argument. I'm not saying it applies to you, George.) So WHAT? Some of it is quite consistent and enjoyable. Heck, some of it is even sonically revolutionary. My recommendations for albums to listen to are Def Leppard's Pyromania and Hysteria, Motley Crue's Dr. Feelgood, The Scorpions' Blackout and Love at First Sting, and Bon Jovi's Slippery When Wet. No, NOT Guns 'N' Roses' Appetite for Destruction. That is NOT pop-metal.

    Also, you dismiss rap as "all sounding the same." While that is accurate to a certain extent, it is a fact of history that the majority of musical and topical innovations in American music in the past fifteen years have come from the realm of hip-hop. Prime examples of those innovations include the Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique, De La Soul's 3 Feet High and Rising, Run-DMC's Raising Hell, Ice Cube's AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, the Notorious B.I.G.'s Ready to Die, and Cypress Hill's Cypress Hill. For the best combination of sonic innovation, lyrical daring, and sheer pop enjoyment, try Public Enemy's It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back and Fear of a Black Planet. Those two albums will change your mind about rap forever. I guarantee it.

Brendan S. McCalmont <tnahpellee@yahoo.com.au> (14.07.2004)

    Perhaps we could one day rate all the genre's and then review the music within the subtext of thjat genre. For example, I am SICK AND TIRED of reading a song is no good because it's disco or adult contemporary or anything like that. I think disco albm should be analysed within a disco context, like Victim of love shouldn't be analysed in a rock context because it's not a rock album, it's a disco album. I mean you already do that with the artists. You're not as fond of Ringo Starr as you are of Paul McCartney [I'm talkign about solo careers here] but you can give Ringo 1 star, and then give his Ringo album a ten record rating because you are allowing for the fact it's Ringo and you don't like him as much as you like McCartney and in the overall rating a Ringo Starr album of rating ten is only as good as a Paul McCartney album of rating seven. That was very clever. The problem is most critics are rock music fans and they tend to piss on disco and 80's pop albums because they don't like that genre, for they feel it doens't offer the same depth or whatever it is, but if the critic took into account beforehand that the album being review was 80's pop or disco then they could give the record a rating out of ten and then take into account a) who the artist is and b) the type of album and so an 8/10 disco album is also worth 10/20 on the OVERALL scale. I don't like rap or heavy Metal, simply because both are so depressing and have little variety, IMO. Maybe someday a band will surprise me.

    I wish you would start a superstiton about 'generic' albums. And I know what I would have to say: While Generic albums don't really bring anything new into the world of music and perhaps it sounds all too much like a thousand other records out there, there is still a lot to be gained from such a record in terms of listening enjoyment. For example suppose in 1981 Elton John released an album called The Fox. I personally feel The Fox isn't a generic record, at least for it's time, but lets suppose it is, that could be like the disco idea I had. Like a record rating of E.G. 9/10 becomes, oh, um, 13/25 or something like that. Why do this? I think that, supposing Fox is generic, but Elton John's piano playing is superb [supposing!], his singing is superb, the production is superb and there's heaps of funs songs and it's really enjoyable, then that deserves in the 'performance' and 'enjoyability' rating a 9/10 and I think those things deserve to be taken into account. Then the originality is 1/5, the artist is 2/5, the genre is 1/5 then we have 13/25, scaled down to 5.5/10 or something isn't it?

    Anyways I'm gonna start my own site, well maybe not, at least not for a while.



Superstition # 7: I don't mind 'oldies acts'. Whoever says that rock'n'roll is music for the young should go throw that crap out of his head. Rock'n'roll was music for the young when it was young itself, but the old rockers have grown old and would you want to order them to throw out all their tapes and listen to Bach instead? Or pass a law forbidding rock bands to play after their members have turned 30? Cut the crap! If talented writers and artists (and classic musicians, too) can make masterpieces up to their nineties, why can't rock musicians do the same? Nobody used to call Charles Dickens 'Dinosaur' when he was writing 'Great Expectations'! And what do you expect from old rockers? When they write new music in their old style, they're called unimaginative and dubbed 'dinosaurs'. When they experiment and try to keep up with the fashion, they're called old farts and dubbed 'dinosaurs' again. I'm no PC type, but to me it's ageism at its most obvious...

Third Millennium Update: No update here. I have brutally crapped on some 'oldies acts' albums, of course, but that's because they sucked, not because they were 'old'.

Challenge or support my Superstition # 7?

Your worthy comments:

<kenneth.e.willis@bt.com> (10.09.99)

    I agree

John N. Diller <Jndiller@aol.com> (29.01.2000)

    I agree totally! Case in point: David Crosby. He's making some of the best music of his career with CPR (Crosby-Pevar-Raymond). It's a breath of fresh air from an artist who almost literally returned from the dead. John N. Diller

Anthony Mercadante <tmercada@automatedmicro.com> (01.05.2000)

    Of course, this is dependent upon the assumption that these bands continue to make GOOD music instead of reissuing formulaic, overused, been there done that crap. Unfortunately, this has not been the case with most of these 'fogie' acts. How many more power ballads can Aerosmith really do before someone notices that they are all the same song with different lyrics? Sure, they sell. Maybe I missed part of your discussion (this IS a long page to take in all at once); however, think about who publishes their music - the record companies. They don't care about good music - the best music is not generally NOT published - they just care about what SELLS. And who can blame them in this capitalist society - it is their right to just make what sells. But that doesn't make it good.

Lyolya Svidrigajlova <vsvitov@diamin.msk.ru> (11.12.2000)

    Yuick! What is this - an "oldies act"?

    Okay. I don't care if some guy who did old good rock-n-roll in 60's is still doing the same old good rock-n-roll. I mean, not givin' up to modern technology. But... what if he doesn't? Hell, how darn funny it would be to hear Bob Dylan sing rap! Or Mark Knopfler play guitar parts on Eminem's album... or a joint project by Johnny Cash and Rednex? Boom...

    But... I agree. Heck! Tell the one who is more than 30 to shut up and go to the car wash? And if he has something left to say? (in general, not just SOMETHING, but LOTS OF THINGS) These guys are experienced in some way and they know how to work hard - I really mean it! Never mean the age! You get old when your soul has become old.

    To clear some point... I'm 22. And, to say, a year or two years ago I thought that the oldies are to be thrown away, listening to modern, to say, "underground", to say, "concept", to say, "a new-wawe" Russian rock coming from Oskol'skaya Lira. And told John Fogerty to shut up (not "face to face", of course). He did. Hell!

    Now it's a bit different. Who are we without our roots? Once you get tired of guys who always say they are inventing something really new - and stick at this idea. "Hey, I'll do something new!" Add a bit of modern technology, latino rhythms... Have magenta hair and wear nothing but a sock on your dick... you'll surely be "en vogue". I mean, if Mark Knopfler did that, I would still love him - not for those acts, but for his music.

    I'm sure Bob Dylan could do rap if he wanted to. But... just think if Britney Spears or Oasis could write something like "The answer, my friend, is gone in the wind..." (unfortunately, I don't remember the title). Not just the similar tune with similar words... hope you'll catch my drift. But the point is - de gustibus non est disputandum! Just as simple.

Robert Tally <BtheW@aol.com> (02.04.2001)

    Yes, of course, everybody has the right to play, and a person's age has nothing to do with what I think of the music. I'm always glad, though, when an older musician doesn't try to be too modern. It just doesn't convince me. It's like balding middle-aged record execs wearing Beatle wigs back in '64. If a musician can play something timeless, than the technological advances in recording will modernize it more than enough, anyway. It does seem, however, that a lot of those '60s musicians became awfully lame in the late '70s and '80s. Could it have just been pressure from the record companies to put out modern pop? Or was there genuinely a drop in inspiration for all these people pushing middle age? Things seemed to have improved a little by the '90s (David Crosby being an obvious example), but maybe the execs gave them a creative green light so that they'd cash in on the 'retro' trend.

    Hmmmm.....

Alice Phillips <alice.phillips@yale.edu> (21.01.2002)

    To Lyolya Svidrigajlova <vsvitov@diamin.msk.ru>:

    Bob Dylan did do rap.  It's called "Subterranean Homesick Blues."

<danielle_love@themail.com> (29.01.2002)

    To Lyolya: the title is "Blowin' In The Wind"

    To Alice: and "the pump don't work 'cause the vandals stole the handles." Yeah, eh? Color me impressed...

Oleg Sobolev <dima@aspol.ru> (03.10.2002)

    Agree.

Jon <gray0187@tc.umn.edu> (26.01.2003)

    heh, talented writes and artists. surely dickens would bow to peter sinfield or pete townshends command of the english language... hoo boy, would he evah. you know i often thouht ray davies should write a novel, something along the lines of "stereotypes about an idealized england that never existed"! once their sex appeal is gone, mainstream rockers properly plummet in the eyes of the public. unless they have an obssesively large cadre of fanboys, or old people who like to spend money and influence their children. speaking of that, hey george, i bet your pap liked the beatles, right? sure he did. and im sure he never played a few of those albums for you when you were young, right? of course not, and if he did, of course that wouldn't influence you and warp your objectivity, nope, not in any way, shape or form! im glad thats cleared up.

    these are great, how many more are there?

    [Special author note: I bet you're drunk, right? Sure you are.]

Brendan S. McCalmont <tnahpellee@yahoo.com.au> (14.07.2004)

    I personally don't like it when peope obsess about a bands early material. I usually like a bands 1998 album as much as I like their 1968 album! I think a lot of these acts run into trouble when they change their style. E.G. didn't Mark knoffler do Celtic folk music? Now how would that sit with rock music fans? Hmm. A lot of these people that have been around for like 20 or 30 years are always being accused of leaving their roots fro commercieal succes or some BS. But hey! Freedom of speech! If the old man's got soemthing to say, lets hear it!


OK, that's it. And bear in mind these are 'superstitions' - representing my personal tastes. Once again, I admit I am no expert in 70-s-80-s-90-s music, so they can be subject to change, too...


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