Iconic music can be from any era
One of my favorite movies is “The Big Lebowski,” and there are a lot of reasons for that.
One of the biggest reasons I love that movie is a scene that features Jeff Bridges’ character, the Dude, in a taxi. The driver has The Eagles playing on the radio and the Dude asks him to turn it off because he hates the Eagles.
I also hate the Eagles, but not just because of their music.
When I was in high school, it was cool to like bands from three or four decades ago. I saw as many Beatles shirts as I did clothing from more current bands like Green Day or Coldplay. Now, I wouldn’t really mind if it weren’t for the fact that most of the kids who only listened to old bands were really pretentious about it.
Old music is great, and should be listened to, but many of these people don’t seem to know that great music has been created in the years since Led Zeppelin. The idea that any period in particular was the “peak” of music contradicts the very idea of it. If the Beatles had decided that Elvis or Buddy Holly were the peak of pop music, they probably wouldn’t have gone on to make some of the most beloved songs in history.
It’s also easier than it’s ever been to discover new music, and to do it legally. Sites like Bandcamp and Soundcloud can provide a virtually unlimited source of free tunes off all kinds, while any number of streaming services give you access to all the most recent popular music. Even YouTube, if you’re willing to put up with ads, can be a place of musical discovery.
Led Zeppelin and Cream are great, but The Black Keys and The White Stripes have done extremely interesting things with blues-rock recently. Madonna and ABBA are fantastic, but artists like Lorde have found ways to innovate pop music.
Exclusively listening to old music does a disservice to those older artists. They didn’t necessarily record their songs so that one day they’d become the be-all, end-all of music. I’d imagine that many of them were hoping to one day have their art expanded upon. They wanted to influence the future, not make it irrelevant.
I urge anyone who typically listens to old music to expand his or her horizons. If there’s an old band you love, I guarantee there’s a current band that does its own riff on that original sound. You might be surprised.
Oh, and as a side note, people should really stop listening to the Eagles. They’re a bad band.
-Will Channell is a reporter for the Journal-Tribune.
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