I have a friend, one the best musicians I’ve ever known, who believes, by and large, that no good music has been made since the late 70’s (citing albums like Rumours, Minute by Minute, Aja, etc.) He is fun to argue with, though even when I pick some of my more mainstream favorites to talk about from the last decade (albums by Joe Henry, Radiohead, St. Vincent, Wilco, John Vanderslice, Gillian Welch, etc.), those praises generally fall on deaf ears.
He’s also a studio-owner, and can rant at length about how various technological leaps have been able to mask young bands’ lack of technical proficiency, diminishing musicianship overall. Since the dearth of “skill” is being compensated for by audio airbrushing (however tastefully or creatively applied), there no longer exists a crucible of woodshedding, “paying your dues” in a live setting, and honing your songwriting craft until you’re proven ready for the privilege of recording.
Seems like a tired argument, right? CD Baby certainly wouldn’t exist if the world still worked that way. Thousands of talented and unique voices would be silenced just because they didn’t neatly fit into someone else’s mold. Much of the new music I love is made because the artist took the initiative to make an independent recording project happen. Most mornings I wake up thankful that the gatekeepers are gone and the gates have fallen with them. But every once in a while my friend will show me a video like this one, and I wonder,… hmmm…. maybe he DOES have a point?
-Chris R. at CD Baby
P.S. Currently looking for an organ/whistling/yodeling/flute/opera teacher.