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Back in the 80s, I was involved in the production for a string of successful new age albums. As a result, I was "in the industry" and got a ton of promo CDs. They sat unlistened to for decades...until I figure it was time to separate the good, the bad, and the ugly so I could toss the excess baggage.

It's interesting hearing music from a 30-year perspective. Most of it, frankly, was dreck. Lots of DX7s, noodling oboe solos, an occasional drum fluourish ("hey! we're not weenies!!"), fretless bass slides, and compositions that could best be described as...unimaginative.

But as I've often said, in ANY genre of music, 1% is magnificent, 4% is good, 10% is okay, and I'll pass on the other 85% smile I had the same results here. Every now and then, out of the dreck, something worth listening to would appear.

It's interesting how a genre of music can take hold for a limited period of time, and then pretty much disappear...while others stay forever, like rock and hip-hop. Remember the ska revival? And how reggae was all the rage for a while? How at one point every rock song had to have a guitar solo? Electropop, with groups like Ultravox and Depeche Mode?

Ultimately I realized that popular music is disposable. It depends on a constant influx of new stuff and new styles. Maybe this is in music's DNA...after all, until the 20th century, ALL music was ephemeral. It only existed live, and once it was played, it was gone. That 5% of good stuff becomes part of our culture - it will be a long time before people forget about Buddy Holly, Hendrix, or the Beatles - and some of the "okay" stuff will survive on some level. But the rest will just take a long fadeout into irrelevance.

What is streaming, other than an acknowledgement of the fleeting nature of popular music?

Originally Posted by Anderton

What is streaming, other than an acknowledgement of the fleeting nature of popular music?


It's another opportunity to make money from music without knowing anything about music. wink

I think your portioning of levels of acceptable music is as right as it gets.
Originally Posted by Anderton
... How at one point every rock song had to have a guitar solo? ...



LOL. You got me thinking. I played through the guitar solo era, the sax solo era, and the rap break era. During the rap break era I dropped out of the scene, went back to school and got a day job. I got pretty good at covering guitar and sax solos on a synth. Could not do much with the rap breaks. Maybe that is why I went back to school.

I'm also looking to get rid of baggage and really thin out my collection of CD's. There was a time that I though it was criminal to get rid of any music that I purchased, even if I hated it. Now that I am older I'm starting to think "Why waste my time and space on this crap. If they wanted me to keep it forever they should have produced better music."
Originally Posted by RABid
I'm also looking to get rid of baggage and really thin out my collection of CD's. There was a time that I though it was criminal to get rid of any music that I purchased, even if I hated it. Now that I am older I'm starting to think "Why waste my time and space on this crap. If they wanted me to keep it forever they should have produced better music."


You can always rip your stuff to your hard drive if you have any doubts. But here's the thing. I have a LOT of good music available for listening. If I check out a CD, my test is "would I rather listen to something else?"

But also, it does depend somewhat on mood. Some of the better new age albums really do make good background music when doing rote things on the computer, and I don't want silence, but I don't want something to take over. Then there's the 1% that merit actual listening. So I try to make sure that my choices aren't dependent on my mood at that particular moment.

I'll tell you one thing, though...after listening to all those new age albums, I'll be more than happy NEVER to hear another sampled pan pipe sound again. On the other hand, I was reminded about how cool FM synthesis can sound smile.
Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
I think your portioning of levels of acceptable music is as right as it gets.


Cool, thanks. I was thinking this might be why people say "all rap music is bad" or "all EDM is bad" or whatever. You have to find the 1%, or at least the next 4%, for any genre of music.
Originally Posted by Anderton
I was thinking this might be why people say "all rap music is bad" or "all EDM is bad" or whatever.


Probably 50% of all EDM is good for testing speaker cabinets for rattles, and also for whether a speaker plays the bass notes on pitch, or just something low and boomy for any bass note.
Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
Originally Posted by Anderton
I was thinking this might be why people say "all rap music is bad" or "all EDM is bad" or whatever.


Probably 50% of all EDM is good for testing speaker cabinets for rattles, and also for whether a speaker plays the bass notes on pitch, or just something low and boomy for any bass note.


Yeah, but that 1% is downright transcendent. smile
That's probably a decent apportioning. The genre I consider "mine" is ambient music, both the original definition ("a tint." -- Eno) and the modern stuff with hypnotic rhythms, and the problem we have in that community is that because ambient is often long-form, the substandard stuff takes up a lot of space... so I think that 85/10/4/1 works if you count by tracks, but in terms of actual running time, the proportion may be more like 94/4/1.9/0.1.

The folks who are really, really good in that genre rarely feel the need to go on at TOO much length. There are exceptions, of course, but they are rare. There are artists out there whose catalog literally runs to thousands -- not hundreds, THOUSANDS -- of hours, who consider it all relevant and beautiful and worthwhile. Most of it isn't even bad enough to be noticeably bad... it's just forgettable, and not in a good way.

I could probably count all of the truly meaningful longform ambient albums out there on two hands. Maybe only one. The technology of easily generating crap has a lot to answer for.
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