The cream will rise to the top, as always.

Do you ever find yourself bemoaning the current state of music? I know I do. I'm probably at the age where it is hard to appreciate new music. And I know I'm not the only one. When I watch videos for old songs on YouTube, the comment boards are usually loaded with remarks about how "they don't make music like this anymore", and "music sucks these days" get the general idea. Is this anything new? Not really. I have always heard older people -- and even some young people -- complain that music just isn't any good anymore. Some of them say that there was a certain year that music stopped being good. Some people say they don't like anything recorded after 1975, or after 1980, or some other year. And I have always known people like this.

Are they just being close-minded? In some cases, maybe. Everyone has personal preferences, and biases, and sometimes we simply don't want to like certain things.

I used to tell myself that I would never let this happen to me. I thought I would never get to the stage where I stopped keeping up with the latest trends, especially in music. I think I still do a fairly good job of keeping up with such things, but that is mainly due to habit. Music just doesn't excite me the way it once did...or, at least, newer music doesn't.

When I listen to music by newer artists, I often feel as if I've heard it all before, and better. Sometimes I find myself thinking that if I were 20 years old, I would probably like what I'm hearing. But at my age, it's hard to get excited about new music that doesn't sound fresh to my ears. This is possibly due to the amount of recorded music which has accumulated over the decades, and my personal overexposure to much of it.

But, while watching one YouTube video, I read one insightful comment that put things into better perspective. In response to someone who complained about how new music didn't compare to that particular song from the '70's, someone said that the reason these older songs sound so good to us now is because we are not forced to hear them as often as we did in the heydays of the songs. The cream has risen to the top, the person said, and the cream of today's music will also rise one day.

And that person is absolutely right. Before we know it, we will come to a time when we have nostalgic memories of 2010 and the years around it. In accordance with human nature, we will tend to look back on the good times we had during the current time period, and think less about the bad times. Some of the experiences we have later will make us nostalgic for this time, and we will suddenly miss certain songs that we heard at this point in time. They may even be songs that we don't like at this point in time, because we may not be able to get away from hearing them. But when we get to the point where we won't hear those songs so often, and our minds are able to associate them with pleasant memories, we will be looking up the songs on YouTube (or whatever websites will exist to serve similar purposes) and we'll say, with heavy sighs, "They just don't make music like this anymore". I can also go on about how some music improves with age, or how time can reveal the better qualities of a certain artist, or song, or album. Or about how obscure artists can be later brought to our attention for their innovation or influence. But each of those points could lead to a long commentary in itself.

Here's my main point: all time periods produce both good and bad music. Sometimes it's hard to recognize the good stuff while it's being played side by side with the bad. In this day and age, it's become more difficult to find the good music, because radio and MTV don't serve it up the way they used to. Finding today's good music can require active searching on the part of the listener, and many people do not wish to spend their precious time searching for music which they may or may not like. But, as the wise YouTube commentator said, the cream of today's music will someday rise to the top.


The Pen Pal said…
I used to feel the same way that you do until I began subscibing to XM radio 6 years ago.

My CD and on-line line buying had virtually come to a standstill until XM.

While I find myself listening and buying old recordings that I've long forgotten or overlooked, I do now purchase music from select emerging artists.

Revolutionary new sounds are scarce and ephemeral. And when they do arise, they still have wide appeal today across generational lines.

This ain't the sixties, yo! It ain't gonna be again.