Sunday 6 April 2008

When the Mainstream was Sophisticated

Nowadays, the charts is dictated by the tastes of adolescent schoolgirls. The reason is simple. They are the only people who buy singles.
The charts is, by definition, a graveyard of tack, of songs to dance to at weddings, music to play in McDonalds, stuff that grates on your ears if you are over twenty.

Twas not ever thus

Before the three evil gnomes, Stock, Aitken, and Waterman emerged, you could actually hear sophisticated tracks in the charts, as opposed to buried somewhere on a Coldplay album.
The mainstream was still relatively cutting edge, moving forward, evolving, making use of new technology, until it fractured.
From the nineties onwards, new technology became the preserve of the DJ, The Mainstream either rejected it (The Britpop reaction), or remained stuck in a time warp (Steps, S-Club Seven, all that drivel).

These tracks come from the days when mainstream music still oozed originality and sophistication.

When music was still an art form, not just something played in the background.

People wonder why I hold this period as the high art period of musical development. I think it was. If the sixties was the classical times of modern music, the early eighties was the Rennaisance.

They just don't do tracks like these now.


Anonymous said...

I agree the last era of good music was the 80s!

Anonymous said...

Ah for me the golden age of music was the late 70s and early 80s. I hadn't thought of Blancmange for years. As for Simple Minds their slide into stadium dross was a tragedy.

Anonymous said...

Scott Aitken and Waterman ruined British pop music. Heralded the marketing of music and tendancy towards safe profit margins.

Simon Cowell is a traitor to real talent. King of the banal - and ridiculous trousers.

Anonymous said...

That's what my two kids say too, the 80s was where it peaked. Of course my son is the same age as Jams so would agree with him. It means they don't buy much in the way of CDs now so no wonder the industry is losing momentum.

Anonymous said...

Cherrypie- Very much so, it occupies four rows of my CD cabinet.

Jams- I would agree, it was certainly a musical crucible, that era. We still live in it's shadow.
Life on the ceiling is a classic, it encapsulatrs a certain sound, now sadly absent from the mainstream.

New Gold Dream is probably Simple Minds best album.

E-K- I agree 100%. They killed inventiveness and experiment in music. Turned it into a hit machine.

jmb- It did, definitely. It was he last decade when TOTP was watched by such a wide age range.

I used to buy loads of CDs, but have kind of stopped. This time last year, I'd still expect to spend £100 a month on music. Now YouTube means, you can just watch it on your PC, with the video.

Anonymous said...

At first I have to say... not reading but reacting I thought NO THAT IS NOT RIGHT... then I read down and saw your musical exhibits and have to concede... yeah man you're BANG ON!

That nasty SAW: remember how tinny their stuff sounded and all the bloody same? And no cowbells in the AGE of the funky cowbell..? THAT was un4giveable!!!