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"Mainstream" vs. contemporary music in general?


PhilMan99

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This is similar to the "Generally new mainstream 'Rock and/or Roll' music SUCKS!" type of threads, but is arguably a different topic...

 

...I'm pretty cheap. Don't buy much music, have always listened to the radio mostly (although I have some albums & CDs). What I hear on the radio is largely "Crap" :( - OK, in my opinion. Naturally, I'm generalizing - there are a few songs on the radio I like ("Beer for my horses", although mostly for the lyrics). Anyway...

 

For those who buy music (or create it in the studio!), is what's on the radio a good sample of what's really out there in music stores? Conversely, is the radio a very slanted, dumbed-down (intentionally?) view of contemporary music, much like the "Washington Post", "NY Times" or "Dan Blather" is generally a dumbed-down version of the news leading the poor sheeple over a cliff?

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What's on the radio is also reflected in the record department of Walmart and the kind of record stores that you find in the mall. (Sorry I keep saying record instead of cd, I'm Old-School, or as my students sometimes call me, OG).

 

If you live in a large city you can find Tower Records. You can also find some specialty record stores. You will find thousands of recordings which you will never hear on the radio. They will be organized into categories. You won't even recognize the names of some of the categories of music.

 

For instance, in Berkeley, I shop at Amoeba Records, one of the finest record stores on the planet. I discovered a category of music called Asian Underground. It started when I saw a cd cover with picture of a strange-looking bass. The name of the cd was Drum the Bass and the artist's name was Sri. This led me to my current status where I own about a half dozen New Asian Underground cds by various artists.

 

You will never hear this music on the radio, folks, it's electronica as created by musicians of Indian background who are living in London and combines elements of trance, electronica and Indian music.

 

By the way, Sri plays a bass that he built himself and in addition to playing it in the normal fashion, sometimes he beats on the strings and plays it like a tabla.

 

One thing that got me further into this music was someone on this forum mentioning that they had seen him live.

 

These days I am listening to XM radio (satellite radio). There are 100 stations (7 jazz stations!) and very little of the music played on most of the stations will ever be on commercial radio.

 

And now that Clearchannel is buying up every station in the country, the "mainstream" choices of listening will decrease.

 

But as I have stated many times in other posts, there is no need to worry about mainstream music or to listen to it. It's completely irrelevant to my life and nearly everyone I know as well.

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Jeremy, it sounds like we think alike. There is so much different and exotic music out there, it's unbelievable! I love it.

 

When I was younger, my parents had a world-band radio, and I would tune into far off music late at night. Now, like Jeremy said, there are internet radio stations, satellite stations, that can feed a person so many different kinds of music.

 

For years I've gotten tired of listening to regular radio. Get a hit song, run it into the ground until you could puke from hearing it so much. Change stations, and the song is on another station, or they're playing some other reguritated song that should've expired long ago.

 

It seems that most commercial radio and the music industry tell us what we should like. And most of the masses become convinced, yeah, I like that. Kinda like the modeling or movie industry maybe. Take some weird looking girl, call her exotic, believe the hype, and lo and behold, a new definition of beauty is born because we were told to believe it. The masses seem to buy into this in a real gullible way.

 

I agree, Clearchannel may well compress our listening choices. But there is a whole world of music out there that no one will ever hear. And that is a friggin' shame. Thank goodness there are ways to access it now.

 

So I believe that radio is slanted, dumbed down, and narrowly focused. Of course they want to make money, and they know that most people want to hear the same songs for awhile. Can't blame them, as they are a business. I just choose not to do business with them.

Bassplayers aren't paid to play fast, they're paid to listen fast.
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Conversely, is the radio a very slanted, dumbed-down (intentionally?) view of contemporary music, much like the "Washington Post", "NY Times" or "Dan Blather" is generally a dumbed-down version of the news leading the poor sheeple over a cliff?
Uuuuuh...okay...this is turning this post off-topic, but I couldn't let this go:

 

The Washington Post and the New York Times are hardly "dumbed-down versions of the news". And "Dan Blather?" I'd rather watch CBS news than NBC or ABC any day of the week. Especially "60 Minutes" vs. "Dateline" or "20/20".

 

Are they liberally biased? Of course: they're based in New York and Washington D.C.! But you actually have to have a real intelligent interest in world affairs to get through an entire issue of the Times...unlike some other newspapers I've read.

 

If I want dumbed-down news, I'll read an awful rag the New York Post, or watch New York's awful Fox 5 (excuse for) News ("Our top story tonight: The Soup Nazi has a brother! He makes muffins and he's really nice!!!") Groan...

 

The Fox News Channel is as reasonably intelligent as CNN or MSNBC (generally bad sources for anything outside a broad overview) and slanted to the right.

 

I'll continue to get my news from the NY Times, the BBC, The MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour, and Salon.com, thank you very much.

 

Okay, back to the bass. :D

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I haven't listened regularily to a popular music station in at least 20 years. I haven't watched MTV or VH1 in at least 10 years. And I make my living in music...teaching and performing.

 

I get enough side glances at contemporary music channel surfin' and listening to my student's play...and the news programs I listen to preach the pop culture...even the ultra-conservative Fox News, which I only scan past, has regular features about the most inane teenagers making vacuous music.

 

I hear the noise about a newcomer, like Avril Lavigne, and I surf around and listen...

 

But I'm not in "pop culture," at least not any more. I'm a grandpa, fer crissake!

 

But I respect all music...and my definition of "what is good" goes like this: "If a performer believes in his own music and plays it from his heart (rather than a not to making bucks or getting laid) I think it is good."

 

So I get really turned on by Ricky Skaggs or Patty Loveless. Or Munir Basheer. Or "The Langley Schools Music Project." or Olu Dara. or Patti Larkin.

 

And, since I play in a symphony orchestra who's music director loves to find rarely played good music, I explore guys I've never thought much of before...only a name on a music test. Carl Neilsohn. Samuel Barber (after "Adagio")

 

Here's an idea...listen a lot to the entire catalog of seminal musicians. Go to a library and check out everything they have by Bach. Handel. Mozart. Beethoven. Mendelssohn. Duke Ellington. Stravinsky. Copland. Charlie Parker. Miles Davis. Chuck Berry. Joni Mitchell. The Beatles. The Who. The Rolling Stones. And hundreds of others.

 

Listen and really get the sounds in your head...enough so you can sing along...so you know what's coming up next.

 

It's free...only investing your time.

 

What I'm suggesting here is to listen to what's gone before...assume that what is on the radio is the lowest common denominator of music.

 

Then you'll have a background with which to evaluate music...more than on the visceral level...where you like it only because it "feels good."

 

Or, you could take a shortcut and listen to NPR. They seem to find a way to find good music and put it on the airways.

 

Jeremy: I've been looking into satellite radio as well...but I'm afraid I'd spend more time listening to documentaries than the 30 pop-rock commercial free stations they have. I would listen to the classical and jazz stations (much better than the "Lite Jazz 107.5" we have here...who's only interesting artist in the setlist is Sade. (I can just barely get the UNT student run station here...but when it comes in...it's outta site...I'd love to hear more of that kinda thing.

"Let's raise the level of this conversation" -- Jeremy Cohen, in the Picasso Thread.

 

Still spendin' that political capital far faster than I can earn it...stretched way out on a limb here and looking for a better interest rate.

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Originally posted by davebrownbass:

 

I hear the noise about a newcomer, like Avril Lavigne, and I surf around and listen...

 

I saw an article on her, and a record company exec. said they let her do her own thing, and follow her punk ideals. The closest that kid ever came to punk was standing next to a kid in a Ramones shirt!

 

But anyways, listen to college radio. Jazz, Punk, Classical, Bluegrass, Folk. Find stuff you like.

Investigate that music on the net and search out similar, or stuff that was influential to artist you like.

In this day and age with the internet, and online shopping there is such a wide range music to listen to and choose.

I'm finally financially well off enough to buy CD's pretty much when I like, but you can always listen to stuff on the net until you find what you really like.

Have fun.

 

One last thing: What's with all these young kids calling their new album a "record"?

"Start listening to music!".

-Jeremy C

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Originally posted by BenLoy:

Conversely, is the radio a very slanted, dumbed-down (intentionally?) view of contemporary music, much like the "Washington Post", "NY Times" or "Dan Blather" is generally a dumbed-down version of the news leading the poor sheeple over a cliff?
Uuuuuh...okay...this is turning this post off-topic, but I couldn't let this go:

 

The Washington Post and the New York Times are hardly "dumbed-down versions of the news". And "Dan Blather?" I'd rather watch CBS news than NBC or ABC any day of the week. Especially "60 Minutes" vs. "Dateline" or "20/20".

:D

I don't trust either "liberals" or "(neo-)conservatives". Socialism or facism - some choice! To get to what seems TO ME (your mileage may vary) to be "The Truth" I check sources outside the country and actual government/think-tank documents, and see where they "intersect".

 

In much the same way, it seemed to me that there is a tremendous amount of musical expertise here beyond the "mass media" (radio & music in commercials). Unlike myself, who quit playing for nearly 20 years and only recently started again, the folks here seem to have tremendous musical knowledge. It seemed like that would have to be applied someplace, but I don't hear it on the radio. Based on the responses, that assumption seems to have some merit.

 

I'd ask my comments to please be taken in the context of bass playing as much as possible. I always look at things in terms of "mega-trends", so from time-to-time my questions may reflect that. Most of my "life-experience" is not music-related, so that will tend to come-through.

 

As penance for veering off-topic, I'll now practice all the modes in all the keys at 200 bpm... :cool:

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The internet has changed music forever, for better and for worse. For those of us who want to seek out new music that is interesting and different from the mainstream, it's a beautiful thing, to find out about a new band and be able to, five minutes later, listen to their song you downloaded. And though not all of my peers share this sentiment, I believe those CDs should be purchased (so let's not get into the whole stealing debate). Unfortunately, it's a double edged sword because most kids use the internet to get songs that they heard on the radio and liked, and then never are forced to find new things to listen to when those songs are taken off the radio.

 

As for the whole "record" thing, it's like calling a movie a "film". It makes it seem like it's in touch with roots and thus much more significant than it actually is. Unless of course they're referring to their vinyl releases.

As I was going up the stairs

I met a man who wasn't there

He wasn't there again today

I wish, I wish he'd go away

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[/qb]

One last thing: What's with all these young kids calling their new album a "record"?[/QB]

 

What used to be called the Phonograph Agreement that the AFM has with the recording companies is now called the Sound Recording Agreement. Since the delivery system of music is always changing it is now left open to whatever direction it takes.

 

Wally

I have basses to play, places to be and good music to make!
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a good example of this is the country retro band BR5-49. They have self destructed becuase after 5 albums they still could not get any airplay on radio, becuase they sound like country music circa 1950 instead of this crap that passes for country music today. They ditched the old style outfits and now they look like everyone else and sound like everyone else. All in a effort to make it big. Meanwhile, they killed their current fan base and 2 members left the band over it. Above the certain level, it's no longer about the music, its about WHAT SELLS. And thats when bands that were different like BR5-49 SELL OUT.
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Well i will say this, on the Queens of the Stone Age songs for the deaf album really all you hear is the third song. While that song is pretty cool it isnt the best song on the album by far. personally i like to use Mediaplay's feature on the there site (click here to go there) you can listen to parts of the other songs on the albums of bands you might be interestead in.

the site also splits stuff into subcategories

hope that kinda answers the Question :thu:

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Above the certain level, it's no longer about the music, its about WHAT SELLS. And thats when bands that were different like BR5-49 SELL OUT.
Yeah, that personal choice among musicians "my music integrity vs. commercial success" is always interesting to watch. Another one I saw change was Jewel. Poem/music waif to hard bodied hottie. Well, when you're desperate for fame and money...
Bassplayers aren't paid to play fast, they're paid to listen fast.
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dont be fooled by like a stone, the audioslave album is really good, so is the new chili peppers. Page just released the new zep cd and thats great of course.if youre into the beach bum music the new jack johnson is pretty good, if not then forget i brought it up. on the bright side at least the boy band era is over.
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