I was invited to a birthday party last week. It was one of those ‘bring you own booze and we’ll take it in turns to select YouTube video’ kind of affairs. When it got to my turn I panicked and selected I Can’t Dance by Genesis. I felt the gravity shift as I fell through the carpet, through the floorboards, through the Earth’s crust, until I found myself in an evening desert with just my poor song echoing towards me from a great distance.
I was glad when my turn was up, and I retreated to the safety of the kitchen where two guys were talking about helicopters. Following the cobbled streets to my flat that night, I tried to calculate the percentage of the music we had listened to that came from this century. I couldn’t work out an efficient system for calculating this, but I guffawed and concluded that it would have been a very low percentage.
Maybe it’s an age thing. Music means more to you as a teenager. It resonates with those rudimentary emotions like angst, and unrequited love; feelings you’re more likely to be tuned into during adolescence. I still enjoy the old songs because they trigger emotions I haven’t felt for a long time.
So perhaps my problem with modern music is an inability to relate. I mean- I can’t remember the last song I heard that was about the career dilemma a man faces when he has to choose between diversifying his skill set or specializing in a niche area.
I started thinking that the quality of the music could have declined. I honestly hear maybe a handful of good singles each year, and maybe one good album. 1967 saw the release of Revolver (Beatles), Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd) and Are You Experienced? (Jimi Hendrix Experience). The year before saw Exile on Main Street (Rolling Stones) and Bridge Over Troubled Water (Simon & Garfunkel).
Looking at all this incredible music I came to the conclusion that there are just less creative people making music these days as they’ve been attracted to other areas in which to express themselves.
I think that’s what the future holds. We aren’t getting any less creative, but the creativity will become so thinly spread that we’ll believe artistry is in constant state of decline.