Hands up who enjoys feeling old!

Have I got good news for you!

First: the following albums, released in 1983, are as close to WWII as to the present day:

  • Billy Joel: An Innocent Man
  • Police: Synchronicity
  • Marillion: Script for a Jester’s Tear
  • U2: War
  • Genesis: Genesis
  • David Bowie: Let’s Dance

Second: remember the summer of Britpop, 1995?

  • Pulp: Different Class
  • Oasis: (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?
  • Blur: The Great Escape
  • Supergrass: I Should Coco
  • Radiohead: The Bends

Those albums are all closer to the Beatles than they are to the present day.

Finally: the last “proper” Beatles album, Abbey Road (released 1969) is closer to World War One (not WWII) than to the present day.

5 responses to “Hands up who enjoys feeling old!

  1. Now there’s some rather, for the over-60s, unsavoury food for thought. :)

  2. Ha! I have these same sorts of unpleasant revelations now and again. When the classic rock station started playing music that came out when I was in college, I died a little inside.

    Even sadder is the slowing pace of innovation as rock-based popular music grows old along with us. Look at how much changed in the quarter century from rock’n’roll’s breakout year of 1956 to 1981, and then compare to the last 25 years of mainstream music. I at least can barely tell the difference between pop hits of any time from the late 90s to today except for a handful of gimmicky sounds (dub step, trap beats, autotune) that come in and out of favor. Hiphop, rock, and country, in their mainstream forms, have, if anything, become even more formulaic and boring than pop in the same time span. I’m told that EDM is where the excitement is, but it grates on my soul and I have set my face against it.

    (Yes, yes, I know there are still innovators out there, but you’d hardly know it from listening to Top 40 radio (though I will admit I like that Eilish kid – she’s got moxie!)).

    And now that I am complaining about modern music, I am officially old. I’d better go trim my ear hair and write some letters to the editor.

  3. Well, Nathan, on one hand, Get Off My Lawn.

    On the other hand, I do agree.

    The thing is, I don’t think innovation and experimentation in music have gone away. They’re just not to be found in the Top 40 any more. The number of recording artists has absolutely exploded since 1981, and it feels as though there are as many genres now as there were bands then. If you want to find modern music that you like, you can: you just need to go off the beaten track a little. I do think that on the whole the best music of the last ten years is better than the best music of the 1980s — it’s just a bit harder to find.

    BTW., I’d just been wondering when we could date the beginning of popular music to. I’m interested in why you picked out 1956 above. Elvis’s first national TV appearance?

  4. You know, I had to go back and re-examine my rock’n’roll history after your response. I’ve long had 1956 in my head as the annus mirabilis of rock. Certainly Elvis’ appearance on the Ed Sullivan show was a tremendous event, but I thought ’56 was also the year when Chuck Berry, Bo Diddly, Little Richard, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Buddy Holly all had their first major hits. Upon review, I was mistaken in this; these events occurred at various times from 1955 to 1957.

    I do realize that there’s a lot of good music out there, and I am lucky enough to have some friends who have their fingers on the pulse of such things and let me know about some fine music I would miss otherwise. But it seems to me that, while the charts have always been dominated by formulaic and forgettable music, through most of the 20th century there was also some room in mainstream music for the groundbreakers and the weirdos. Today’s groundbreakers and weirdos are relegated to niche markets.

    I just miss the days when you could turn on the radio and be greeted by something like you’d never heard before, instead of yet another safe, focus-group-approved genre production. And while the internet has made it easier than ever to find music that you are looking for, it has somewhat ironically made it harder to find music that you don’t know about, since every platform’s algorithms direct you to things similar to what you’ve already listened to.

    Also, what’s the matter with kids these days? And why does everything cost so much?

  5. I agree with all of that, Nathan.

    I’m pleased to say that most of the new-to-me music I have discovered and come to love over the last 20 years has been by word of mouth. A few random examples:
    * When I worked in an office, we had a shared MP3 server. That was where I first heard a Dar Williams song.
    * I was on an email list for Liverpool fans. When I mentioned liking prog rock, someone suggested Transatlantic. That was how I discovered them, Spock’s Beard, Neal Morse, and the Neal Morse Band.
    * Comments on this blog led me to Riverside.
    * Andrew Rilstone’s blog led me to Chris Wood.
    * I went searching for modern non-metal prog by asking on a Neal Morse Facebook group, and lots of people recommended Big Big Train.

    I literally can’t remember the last time I heard a new band or artist in passing, on TV or radio or what have you, and liked it enough to take an interest. Peers are where the action is.

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