First off, no band whose first CD came out 7 years ago should have a Greatest Hits album. You’re idiots.
Now that we got that off our chest, let’s get to the point. Everyday you hear people say that nobody is making good music anymore. The other day I was talking to Page Hamilton of Helmet (because my life is awesome) and he said that he listens primarily to classical and jazz because rock music these days sucks and he’s mostly grown tired of the good classic rock. I’m paraphrasing.
At any rate, I’ve been saying this for years, too. My friends have called me the King of the 90’s because my iPod is jam-packed with Alice in Chains, Rage Against the Machine, TOOL, Pearl Jam, Helmet, White Zombie, Guns N’ Roses, and the list goes on. Recently, I started getting much more into metal, because the sophistication of it blows me away and keeps things interesting. Bands like Unearth and Parkway Drive are real musicians, even if I can’t understand a word they’re saying. But these bands don’t play on the radio and most people can’t handle them anyway.
Here is the problem, and I have said it several times on this blog already. These days, it is not the best music that gets signed and supported by major labels and FM radio; it is the ones that do the best job marketing themselves. And so, you turn on the radio and what do you hear? Fall Out Boy.
These guys are like Green Day without the balls or originality, mixed with a little of some harder bands, and then watered down into CDs that, quite frankly, are better used for Frisbee golf. But these guys get played a ton by radio stations, and listened to by a bunch of 14 year old girls that wouldn’t know good music if it kicked them in their braces.
So it is no wonder that the whole world thinks that music sucks. FM radio sucks and most people still listen to this crap. They play what the labels tell them to, and the major labels have lost their balls. They don’t take risks, and risks is how you get Black Sabbath. Playing it safe is how you get Fall Out Boy.
I remember the first time I heard satellite radio and saw that they had a metal channel, or the Grateful Dead Channel. It was awesome. Finally, you could hear music that you wouldn’t normally be able to get much of on FM airwaves. There are a ton of channels and variety, and to fill up those channels, they had to start playing from the B Side of the music industry. This is where the good shit is.
Now…it’s gone a step further. Go to Pandora, punch in Parkway Drive or Unearth, and you get Walls of Jericho, Throwdown, and a bunch of other awesome music. Punch in Moe., and you get Tea Leaf Green, Umphrey’s McGee, and other amazing bands that are making good music and touring a lot right now. Punch in Tool, you get a bunch of decent music that doesn’t compare to the greatest band since Led Zeppelin – but I digress.
Internet radio is the wave of the future for no other reason than you can have infinite channels, with infinite music, and music discovery isn’t decided by some 55 year old Music Director at your local FM station. You can find people whose playlists you like and listen to what they choose. You can tell Pandora or Last.fm what band you like and hear other relevant music (although I punched in Black Sabbath earlier and got Bush – lame!). You can go to on-demand services like Grooveshark and just listen to whatever you already know, and so much more.
While the major labels, Fall Out Boy, and 14 year old girls are ruining peoples’ perception of modern music by serving up and consuming crap, the internet is ripe with music that kicks ass and much of it is new. You do have to do a little digging, but once you find one band you really like, it’s very easy to find others that have similar qualities.
So, I propose that music is not dead, but that the world’s perception of music has been tainted by bands who think they deserve a Greatest Hits album after 7 years.