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Has the quality of music declined over the past century?

submitted 12/21/2017 8:13 pm by lovehermadly
5 emeralds35 replies516 views
Just to be clear, I am playing devil's advocate with this thread, and I will not openly defend or criticize anybody unless they are insolent to other posters.

A lot of people nowadays claim that popular music has degenerated into glorifying immoral/adult themes rather than meaningful issues. They preach that records like The Dark Side Of The Moon and A Night At The Opera have been replaced with DAMN. and Gucci Gang. They feel that modern musicians are talent-less and rely too much on computers and generic backing tracks to garner millions of dollars from their fans, while they simultaneously could give less of a crap about their artistic integrity.

Yet many of their opponents promote the idea that popular music (especially psychedelic rock) since the mid-Sixties has been about sex and drug use. They also counter their detractors' beliefs by saying that modern musicians simply express their talents in different ways than the bands of old. Some also subscribe to the fact that many modern musicians contribute to contemporary social justice groups by writing "progressive" or "feminist" songs.

What are your thoughts? All and any ideas are welcome (given that they follow PMC's stringent forum rules).
Posted by avatar
lovehermadly
Level 31 : Artisan Scribe
47

35 replies

1
01/30/2018 12:23 am
Level 35 Artisan Network
Nightshade73
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No
1
01/29/2018 11:01 pm
Level 50 Grandmaster Grump
Azie
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I still find a lot of new music that I enjoy that was made recently.

This isn't a new phenomenon though. As one generation grows older, activites of people younger than them starts looking dumber than it used to. The same thing happened with the rise of Rock music. Older people condemned young people for listening to it because it was percieved as immoral or satanic. That doesn't mean it was though and it paved the way for a lot of musicians and artists after.
1
01/29/2018 9:47 pm
Level 37 Artisan Archer
oldpine_
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Yes. I mostly agree. A lot of pop music these days make me cringe.
This is only my opinion, I’m not criticizing anyone. :)
1
01/29/2018 9:41 pm
Level 21 Expert Blacksmith
striker107
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I personally don't care what a song has, as long as it has a beat that is decent, the only songs I don't like are the ones that aren't 'professional'/stuff you shouldn't do at work.
1
01/29/2018 7:59 pm
Level 2 Apprentice Architect
Chaone
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More specifically, it decreased more since the 50s but you could put the downfall all the way to the late 1800s
1
01/29/2018 8:07 pm
Level 2 Apprentice Architect
Chaone
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We don't have many great composers is what I truly mean.
Also, we had a major drop in philosophy, alchemy (Lead into gold is possible, but expensive), and religion (A lot of people could go greatly into the Hun religion, saying they had no religion). We did have an increase in graphical, architectural, and, recently, digital (1920s-2000, 2013-present) art.
1
01/25/2018 4:22 pm
Level 3 Apprentice Miner
iiCarelessness
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Most definitely.
1
01/25/2018 3:36 pm
Level 41 Master Batman
Knux
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This reminds me of a filthy frank video
2
01/25/2018 3:49 pm
Level 31 Artisan Scribe
lovehermadly
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May Papa Franku rest in peace
1
01/25/2018 4:55 pm
Level 41 Master Batman
Knux
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F
1
01/25/2018 3:34 pm
Level 31 Artisan Scribe
lovehermadly
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I didn't mean to say that new music is bad, I just meant to say that there's a lot of people who think that way. People like Kendrick Lamar and Joji are very good artists, and I fully support them in their musical endeavors. Of course, there are bound to be bad artists, but the music industry has always been like that.
1
01/25/2018 8:58 pm
Level 24 Expert Goblin
videogamer1002
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please no obnoxious huge bold
1
01/23/2018 7:46 pm
Level 1 New Engineer
3ssej_
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For the most part.
I have always enjoyed any type of music, with the exception of rap, country, and pop. I love the blues, rock, classical music, and most of all, heavy metal.
However, even within the realm of heavy metal, I've noticed a slight but definite decline in the quality of music that has been released recently.
This is excluding all of the types of music that I consider "crap" and "what is wrong with the world today", although I recognize that these statements are stereotypical, and that not all music from these genres talk about drugs and sex.
What I hate more than the lyrical topics of sex and drugs in modern music are the needless electronic sounds and computerized drums. I do not consider the producers of this music real musicians, and believe that this is part of the reason that the quality of music has gone down.
1
01/23/2018 7:34 pm
Level 25 Expert Demolitionist
GoggleD0GG
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The world is changing and music is changing with it. While the messages may seem odd to us, our children will see them as a part of life. While I personally despise new music, change is what keeps the wheel of life moving.
3
01/22/2018 11:16 pm
Level 30 Artisan Architect
LightlySaltedBuilder
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I agree that yes, music is pretty bad with it's messages. But in sound, it definitely hasn't. Its style has changed, but there are still plenty of great songs that can match up to the great songs of the past. Also, I'm guessing people who say music in the past was better are also ignoring the many bad/unpopular songs that weren't as good, so if you compared the popular songs of the past to the ones of the present, I think they're both good.

Just my opinion, but I really don't know much about music, so my opinion might not be too solid.
2
01/23/2018 3:40 am
Level 3 Apprentice Network
Volarous
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I dont think that that quality has changed, I would say that it has just been covered up slowly over time. There are still so many great bands and artist out there, but they are just not main stream. Its more like peope instrest in what is good ahs changedm not the music being produced. Because people only want to hear the "garbage" its the only that is played on the radio and tv. But there are still underground and independant atist out there producing the same great music that has been around for decades.
1
01/23/2018 1:43 am
Level 12 Journeyman Scribe
Zil
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Absolutely it has, even if the decline was slow.

To anyone interested in super underrated bands I'll leave some recommendations. Good music is still alive and well.


  • "The Licks"
  • "Cuco" (Particularly their song titled "Lava Lamp")
  • "Death Grips"
  • "La Femme" (French band, incredible guitar riffs)
  • "Her's" (Most notably their song titled "Cool With You)
  • "Teen Ravine"
  • "Feng Suave"
  • "Pavement" (Probably the best on this list, listen to their song titled "Harness Your Hopes")
4
01/22/2018 2:30 am
Level 5 Apprentice Crafter
_ccc_inactive
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Regarding the pelvis of Elvis

The erosion of traditional values has always been the cry of conservatism.

In my opinion, the quality of music doesn't correlate with the values it espouses, so the notion that "glorifying sex" or "gang banging" degrades the quality of a song is suspect.

Before the advent of mass-media, record companies tightly controlled the distribution of music. They had to answer to the moral or legal authorities (with a ton of overlap) of the day, and that means consequences for sales should they cause problems.

Now we all have a voice, and with more voices comes a distribution of creators that reflects the whole range of personalities. Yes, we have needlessly violent or sexually aggressive songs, but we also have needlessly violent or sexually aggressive people.

TL;DR: The quality of music hasn't gone down, there's just more of it.
1
01/23/2018 1:44 am
Level 12 Journeyman Scribe
Zil
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r/iamverysmart

In all seriousness, you bring up good points.
2
01/23/2018 7:26 pm
Level 5 Apprentice Crafter
_ccc_inactive
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Don't do it to me, man.
I can smell those people.

They smell like AXE.
2
01/20/2018 7:33 am
Level 18 Journeyman Dragon
The FaiyaBLAST
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There is some good music today, but a lot of it is dirty or contains other mature content. However, there is always music with no lyrics (like VGM remixes), those are probably getting better. And I like that.
1
01/20/2018 12:37 am
Level 19 Journeyman Taco
TakoTacos
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As someone who mostly listens to J-Pop, I feel like I’m not affected by this a lot, but I think I should put my opinion out there:
Most Pop music is about love. Seriously! Listen to the radio for a reasonable amount of time and tally up how many songs use the word ‘love’ or imply that they feel love!
It’s a lot. I’m not saying that this has declined the actual quality of music, as many of these songs still are very well made. I feel like when someone who says that music is declining, they are talking about the outliers, Gucci Gang and the like. Those songs make up around (don’t quote me on this) 15% - 25% of songs that are popular. That’s not a lot. I feel like this is like when people say Minecraft or Undertale are cringy, just because they are focusing on the 10% of people who make ‘cringy’ MC ‘let’s plays’ (we’ve all seen at least one) or ship themselves with Sans/Papyrus and the like. This doesn’t mean that these games are terrible. People just like to focus on the one bad thing about something, whether it be SoundCloud rappers or 10 year olds who ship themselves with a fictional skeleton.

I’m really tired, sorry if there are any mistakes
1
01/13/2018 5:05 pm
Level 1 New Explorer
BabyBlueberry
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The quality of music follows the quality of people in a region to appeal to them, so I believe the real question is, has the quality of people declined?

Saying this, I don't mean just the mainstream things. Other music types have also evolved (or devolved, to each their own.) to better gain a profit, and to do so, it has to appeal to people. Usually, anyways. There's always the few people who go their own way in a certain genre.
1
01/25/2018 8:59 pm
Level 24 Expert Goblin
videogamer1002
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Yes, the quality of people has declined, are you blind?
2
01/13/2018 3:51 pm
Level 1 New Miner
aRiSpears
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DAMN. was an amazing album and should NOT be compared to the likes of 'gucci gang' and other soundcloud rappers. I'm not trying to be rude, but you should actually listen to Kendrick Lamar before judging his music.
2
01/13/2018 2:43 am
Level 15 Journeyman Botanist
Aeyeu
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You have to understand that nowadays that pop and alternative rock/pop are on the rise and are getting more popular away from all the rap and hard metal and into more uplifting and bass filled music which is most popular with our generation (I say our as I mean the youth of this generation I'm 15) so no music is not yet showing a decline in mass proportions but may do in the near future when artists run out of ideas or inspiration
3
01/13/2018 1:54 am
Level 5 Apprentice Narwhal
pheb
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Nowadays most songs are about smexual things
3
01/20/2018 6:49 pm
Level 8 Apprentice Ranger
misterBo123
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Yeah, pretty much every song on pop radio stations is about that.
2
12/23/2017 10:54 pm
Level 45 Master Ladybug
Chiaroscuro
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I came here intending only to read the comments, but I do want to say that I agree the most with what Punkamoar has to say. What we consider popular music is only a function of what many people listen to. The music industry simply caters to people's tastes, and so if anything we have ourselves to blame for this perceived decline in quality.

There's plenty of really good stuff out there if those who complain about it can take the time to go and find it. It's easy to miss good music if you spend all your time complaining about new music and exclusively listening to old music.
7
12/21/2017 11:56 pm
Level 49 Master Gent
Punkamoar
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I wouldn't say that the quality has gone down, I'd say the standards of the listener have gone down. But that is my personal opinion. The fact of the matter is, there are still bands and acts rivalling those mentioned in the original post. But they aren't as prevalent, because the majority of people would rather listen to something easy, vapid, and catchy.

I could go into how modern pop music is garbage copy/paste 1-4-5-1 chord scheme cookie-cutter nonsense, but that's beside the point. Music is what you want to listen to, and no one should make you feel about that. I'll listen to a Taylor Swift song before diving into Thick as a Brick by Jethro Tull. Music is music, listen to what you want.

So, to answer your question, music is not any different now than it was 50 years ago (music has changed at lot over the last century, and you mentioned nothing in your post before 1970, so I moved the timescale up), but people's tastes and preferences are different, hence the surge of modern pop music.
4
12/21/2017 11:24 pm
Level 44 Master Cowboy
Chron
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Mmkay I'm not even a fan of Kendrick Lamar but to write him off as talent-less is really, really closed-minded and objectively false. That man can tell a powerful story in a really unique way.

Besides that, there's three real answers to this conundrum:

1. Capitalism. As industries develop, producers begin searching for the least common denominator for selling and producing their product. What's the easiest way to make the most amount of money? Use simple, repetitive styles of music production that makes things sound the same so that people are more likely to listen to it, due to it being familiar. This is a fairly cynical, yet realistic, view that explains a slight bit of change in the industry.

2. As people grow older, they become more resistant to change. This is pretty obvious and exists in many areas of our lives. As an American culture, I feel like so many people latched onto these older musical ideals because nostalgia is trendy and "we'll never have another Queen, another Beatles, another Pink Floyd, another [some old, dead band that was generally well-accepted in their time but not overblown to the state they are today after their death because of nostalgia]." Sure, a lot of people love these old artists legitimately. They're mostly quite talented and capable. But we've still got amazing artists producing content. If you want stuff that sounds like the "oldies", you're gonna have to turn off the radio and go digging for it. I'm sorry, but tastes change. So it seems that a lot of people, young and old, have latched onto these idealistic artists. So be it, but don't write everything else off because you don't think they're as good.

3. I already kinda mentioned it, but tastes change. Who knows who's going to be popular in fifty years? Artists of today, like [I'm hesitant to name names here but I also don't care] Kendrick Lamar, Lady Gaga, Alessia Cara, Ellie Goulding, Zedd, Eminem, Childish Gambino, Ed Sheeran, Kesha (fight me), and so many more, could be immortalized with the same kind of blind nostalgia that's been given to artists of our past. We're just too busy living in the moment to appreciate it, and in many subcultures it's trendy to hate on whatever's popular just because it's popular right now (that's immensely stupid, as is most counterculture movement, but whatever).

And yes, there are so many artists that really don't have much in the way of musical talent. But if they've become popular enough to be criticized on such a global scale, they've gotta be talented at something. Let them drift by the wayside after their big hit and they'll be gone in a few years. Whining about them just make them stronger, at least in this industry.

There's probably more to it than this, but that's all I wanted to say on it for now. I've never been a fan of nostalgia, especially when it's used to blindly hate on the here and now. So give newer music a chance through a neutral lens. Get the hell off the radio and do some digging before writing off an entire generation of talented creators.
1
01/23/2018 1:45 am
Level 12 Journeyman Scribe
Zil
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Kendrick Lamar does not write his own songs.
1
12/21/2017 8:38 pm
Level 37 Artisan Vampire
Sunstroke
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I'm almost positive that there are still artists that make music like/inspired by older stuff. It's not that music changes, trends change. If you don't like...Justin Bieber (i literally can't name a popular artist from this year oops) that's great. Not all artists are Justin Bieber. If you don't like John Lennon, that's great. Not all artists are John Lennon. Other options are available. Trends shouldn't be held accountable for the overall quality of music.

I'm not really good at explaining things, so I probably shouldn't have left a comment, but. there's my messy opinion.
1
12/21/2017 8:34 pm
Level 24 Expert Taco
Darth Theoden
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I totally agree with you!

I have been hearing some stupid songs that are much more populat, than good, soothing and old music.
3
12/23/2017 10:34 pm
Level 47 Master Botanist
Amalien
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Ah yes, because nothing made in the last decade is either good nor soothing. And there are absolutely no old songs that could be considered stupid. Of course.

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