Re: Why Were Music and Musicians of Previous Generations Were Better?
I very much think the decline in the quality of music across the broad spectrum has a lot to do with the microwave nature of fame and the shrinking of the globe due to social media and visual/aural media.
What I mean is that I think acts in the past used to have to work harder and longer before their music would break on a national and international level. Musicians would have an actual incubation period before they became popular were they would play clubs and bars and tour out of their vans for little money. During that incubation period, at least two things happened:
1) The musicians would write songs during that time or at least figure out through trial and error how to use their writing creativity, vocal abilities, and/or instruments to the best way possible. - I think this is why the music sounded more emotionally involved and the songs sounded way more personal and individual. The "swagger" of an artist that has to go through that gauntlet becomes more confident and can read their audiences better. They tend to know their limitations and capabilities. Compare to the 80s, 00s and 10s when you have a lot of the music being created by the labels and then they just plug in an artist that looks the part. Instead of finding the right voice, the labels now just adjust some dial and control the pitch. A musician or band that was do nothing but dreaming one year could literally be the #1 band in the country the next year and circumvent the slower process of working those clubs and bars. If a person gets a few hundred thousand hits on youtube, they get ARs' attention.
2) During that same incubation period, while it is taking all this time and whatnot, the musicians are playing songs that they have created and really work, have created and found out do not work, have covered songs that they put their on twist on and made popular with their type of audience, and/or have faithfully covered songs to varying success....now the reason I typed the first part of this paragraph is to say that their demo tapes start to improve as they keep the better material and either discard or rework the material that does not work...this leads to the musician both finding their sweet spot but also having their debut album be a "Best of..." album...What I mean is the what you heard on their first or first couple of albums were songs and performances that were years in the making. So they debut albums would be more likely to be very good and coherent....also, some of the songs that didn't make the original album may make appearances on later albums after they have been revisited and reworked.
-I separated the 90s from this later group and put them with the former group because of the interesting developments that happened in New York and Washington state that were born with the generations that were infants or toddlers in the 70's, youngsters in the 80s playing regional music that was not national phenomenons until the early 90s...yep, I am talking about grunge rock and hip hop...these two musical styles were new to the mainstream in the 90's even though they had their successes in smaller pockets of America before then. They not only hit big in the 90's but also changed and influence other musical genres and artists during the 90s you had a lot of good and great music and acts because they were not following a by now stale formula and instead were really figuring out the heights and boundaries of these exotic sounds.
Yech, I can hear you misspelling words as you speak!