Is Today’s Music Meaningless and Boring?

My 15-year-old daughter is not going to like me for this. She even refused to read the article in the newspaper.

But frankly, today’s music, whether rock, pop, metal, hip-hop or electronic is “samey, boring and, well, just too loud”.

I’m not just saying this because I was brought up on late 70s and 80s music which embraced so many genres including rock, art rock, heavy metal, pop, disco, soul, reggae, rap, new wave, punk and electronica, but it’s because science tells us so.

Columbia University used computer analysis to study almost 500,000 songs from 1955 to 2010 and concluded that songs have become “simplified and converged stylistically”. Chords and melodies have simplified over the years. At the same time, the recording volume has increased.

This means that, unfortunately, that music today is loud and tend to sound the same.

So it wasn’t my old fogey ideas and nostalgia for things from my teenage years that’s passing judgment on contemporary tunes.

But I will add that songs from thirty-plus years ago have more depth, meaning and just feel more genuine. No computer today can analyse that but I’m willing to bet that it’s pretty much so.

Some of you old fogeys may say that today’s music is all about money and nothing else. I’m inclined to agree but I pray that there are exceptions.

As I watched Paul McCartney at the opening of the London Olympics, my thought turned to John Lennon and I wondered, if he were alive, if he would be up there performing instead.

Nice way to spend the day (March 1969)

But Lennon was a political activist. Can a pop star from today promote world peace by spending a whole week in bed with his wife and inviting the press join them?

Will he or she be able to do what Bob Geldof and Midge Ure did and organise a star-studded UK and US concert to raise funds for the Ethiopian famine?

Can any of today’s pop stars continue what Bono does, networking with both political and business leaders to support humanitarian relief?

I hope so. But I don’t hold my breath …

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12 responses to “Is Today’s Music Meaningless and Boring?

  1. A breath of fresh air! At least someone write about this. I couldn’t agree more!

  2. Me too, brought up in 70s and 80s. I listened to Bee Gees, John Denver, then Air Supply, Duran Duran to Modern Talking. Me too, find today’s music potboilers…nothing more.

  3. Hey Hal…proof of the pudding is that kids in the late teens and early twenties are still listening to 80s music! ;-)

  4. Nige – Yes, they’re the ones with good tastes. Pity the ones who are entrenched in the “latest is greatest” mentality … but that may change with maturity. Take me, for example, I’ve been listening to opera! :)

  5. I totally agree with you! Being brought up in the 90s I mostly listen to older music. Back then there were way way more varieties, in genre but also context. People sang about everything. Guess what’s on the radio today? The same 5 artists with their same 2-3 songs. All of them are about partying and bleh… in electropop.

  6. Napoleon Dynamite

    I have been brought up in the 2000’s and still could not agree more.Listen to the words of the song (if you can because it is so fast and sloppily sung) and how meaningless it is. I would much rather listen to the 70’s music. Thank you for your time.

  7. To me Beatles music is timeless, regardless of time, race, status, class, I’m a living proof that Beatles music is for everyone and anyone, don’t believe me come over and see this

  8. You can steer young people with music. I remember when music had such a deep, deep meaning to it. I was just listening to the Eagles the other night and I remember when music had this spectacular spark of romance and respect and love. It wasn’t about sex rather it was about the whole ball of wax….sex, romance, love, respect, and deep yearnings for lasting love that could only be put into words through poetry and music. Today you rarely see this form of deep respect for romance. Young people don’t understand because they have been pulled into this “cool” understanding of what is good. Fine….you want to drink green water with bacteria in it then go ahead. But I prefer the clear water that we drank for centuries and can still drink today.
    And if you say anything about this you are the stereotypical older person who is “so” out of touch. Since when did romance and commitment and love and sparkles of touch become out of touch? It’s so sad because the younger generation will never know the beautiful deepness of love, sex, understanding, and connection of a committed relationship. I cry with tears over what we have lost.

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