War on Music (Part 3)

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Thought I was done with the goading ‘Who’s got the better music?’ gee-up?

Me too.

Then I saw this…

It’s a recent article from The Courier Mail Newspaper under the headline “POPULAR MUSIC LEAVES LISTENERS ON A LOW NOTE”

Once you read it I think you’ll understand why I couldn’t walk away –  

It is all too easy for the kids music to put you in a bad mood when it’s played at full volume from their bedroom. But there may be another reason it gets to you – today’s tunes are more depressing.

A study has found that music from 2015 is about 20 per cent more unhappy than it was in 1985. Upbeat pop from the likes of Wham! and Duran Duran has given way to the heavyweight ballads of people such as Adele and Ed Sheeran.

Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, analysed more than half a million songs released in the UK over 30 years to judge how music has changed. They found songs are less happy and “bright” than they used to be, based on a mathematical formula judging elements such s pace, rhythm and major or minor key.

Lead author Dr Natalia Komarova said: “The whole reason I started this study was because I was listening to the songs my teenage daughter played and thinking, what on earth has happened to music? Part of the blame for this trend in happiness might be related to social media. The social isolation of young people might play a role – perhaps that is being expressed through current music”.

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I’m as cynical as the next person (maybe more) when it comes to the findings of so-called ‘scientific studies’ but I’ll admit to relishing a ‘Yes!’ moment while reading that article.

While it’s tempting to point to the weight of the ‘evidence’ of 500 000 songs being put under the microscope with the resulting conclusion that today’s music hasn’t quite got the spring in its step of previous decades and say “I told you so!”, I’m gonna use every morsel of willpower I have left coursing through my veins and fight that urge.

What I will say is hearing the esteemed Dr Natalie pronounce judgement all ‘white lab coat’ style did sign my release papers from the Psych Ward I’ve been holed up in these past years together with the feeling “I’m not crazy after all. There really is something to this!”

Be that as it may, magic, and lots of it, still happens today. Of course it does. Case in point is what I’m gonna call the coolest ad currently running on Australian television.

Check it out HERE – but be warned the brilliance is not fireworks variety – more understated and ‘chilled’ which, come to think of it, is very Millenial.

Falling in love with that ad had me go hunting with the zest of a rampaging cheetah zeroing in on a fleeing wildebeest calf for the music in that commercial. I found it. The song is called MAKEBA and was released back in 2016 by French singer Jain. It peaked on the French Singles Chart at # 7 and has also been used in a commercial for Levi Jeans.

Jain was born in 1992 which stamps her as a patched member of the Millenial cohort, the generation at the heart of my recent weeks attack on modern music. She and her hipster team of super creatives have produced a song and video I’m openly declaring a goddam masterpiece!  Marvel HERE

Huge, huge points score for the much maligned Millenials as far as I’m concerned. Sing along with the main chorus lyrics if you like. I find it hard not to –

Makeba, makeba ma que bella

Makeba, makes my body dance for you

And that comrades, is where I walk away and this self-ignited war on music ends. There’s been enough quarrel,  enough one-upmanship and enough internet ink spilt on this topic. I need to quit acting like contemporary music has a bad head cold and I’m the paramedic sent in to set it all right. It’s time to bury the hatchet and give peace a chance. Wait! Wasn’t that a song by John Lennon? Back in ’69? Now there was an era for great music! Somebody pull me away before we get this thing started all over again…

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IT’S OVER HERE!

Ps. Can’t sign off completely without mentioning a novel that touches on some of the generational differences in music these last few weeks of posts have centred on. A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD won the Pulitzer Prize (the Oscars of the Literary World) for Fiction back in 2011 and was written by American author Jennifer Egan. It tells the story of an ageing Record Executive (back when they had records) who heads a company producing and marketing modern music artists he can no longer stand. It’s a story essentially about growing old in the digital age.

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Pss. The family that fights together makes Pixar money together! News that the movie THE INCREDIBLES 2 has gone past the $1 billion mark for worldwide box office receipts is surely cause for celebration for those that saw the movie and liked it. It is only the 7th animated movie in recorded history to do that. The other figure doing the rounds this week was generated on Tuesday night when the Australian population officially reached the 25 million mark. Jeepers! I remember as a kid the figure we were told was 14 million. Yeah, that was a while back…

Psss. This week’s ‘Total Crack Up Award’ goes to the image makers who have banned Disney’s just released CHRISTOPHER ROBIN movie in China because leader Xi Jinping  is prickly about physical comparisons between him and the character Winnie the Pooh. When you see the two side by side, I can kind of understand the sensitivity..

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8 thoughts on “War on Music (Part 3)

  1. I think the music goes in cycles, for what it’s worth. 80s pop gave way to 90s grunge. The same era Lennon sang about peace, Buffalo Springfield was singing about why we needed that peace. Lots of great protest songs, but hardly upbeat. The 50s were upbeat, the 40s had protest songs against Hitler and pro war songs to drive recruitment. Heck, I’ve got an album of songs from the year 1000 that’s literally called Music For the End Times. Cheery stuff. lol. Music is a mirror of history. It’ll come back around. And while we wait, we just turn off the crap and educate the masses. 😉

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  2. Music goes in cycles?
    That sounds like a cue for The Pushbike Song’ – a #1 chart topping hit in Australia in 1971 –

    While we’re back in ’71 may as well get this one on as well –

    Now let’s time-skip to 1985 (my era) with my personal favourite version of this same song –

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  3. These days the country that has a population closest to 14 million is South Sudan. And yeah, from my memory, the Australian Music scene really did experience a ‘Garden of Eden’ blossoming period during the 1980’s as did the Aus film industry of the 1970’s.

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  4. Speaking of measuring depression in music reminds me of Robert Prechter and his work on Socionomics. Robert had a really keen ear for music cycles. I recall how he praised the ability of the Beatles to match the mood of the changing zeitgeist, while other bands could not. Up to around 1967 or so music was more positive in mood, and then changed to be more nihilistic, and the Beatles matched that change brilliantly.

    We can see similar cycles in clothing styles, and even prevailing car designs. I recall comments about the small wiindows of cars in the 1930’s with curves rather than sharp angles in overall design reflecting the negative mood of the 30’s. I recommend anything on the subject of Socionomics by Prechter.

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  5. I like your musical responses to everybody’s comments. I’m not hip enough on music to give factually informed answers, but I DID like that Makeba song (I just listened to it) a LOT. Mr. Jinping does resemble Pooh a little bit, but he shouldn’t be peeved, ’cause Pooh is really cute. And finally, I guess everybody really took it to heart when you-know-who said “BE FRUITFUL AND MULTIPLY!” 🙂

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  6. That quite blows my mind when a person clicks on a link I’ve inserted into a post and likes what they see and hear. I reckon that MAKEBA song by Jain is a real keeper so I’m glad someone else thinks the same way.

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