I’ll sit and listen to ’em by m’self
Today’s music ain’t got the same soul
I like that old time rock and roll
Old Time Rock and Roll, Bob Seger
So Kev, why do you do this oldie deal every week?
Oh, couple of reasons.
I enjoy writing.
And I write about items I’m passionate about and really enjoy.
That includes music.
And as Bob Seger sang in the above song, “Call me a relic, call me what you will, say I’m old-fashioned, say I’m over the hill, today’s music ain’t got the same soul, I like that old-time rock ‘n’ roll.”
Fogey alert: I think today’s music is garbage. So I don’t give it much, if any attention.
Jeremy D. Larson who has written stories for New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, Buzzfeed, Time, NME, Hazlitt, Billboard, and others writes reviews at pitchfork.com. As a reviewer Larson must explore new music. But he understands why many consumers would rather not.
In a recent column Larson wrote:
“…here we all are, crawling through this tar pit of panic and dread, trying to heft some new music through historic gravity into our lives. It feels like lifting a couch. Why do we even listen to new music anymore? Most people have all the songs they could ever need by the time they turn 30. Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube can whisk us back to the gates and gables of our youth when life was simpler. Why leap off a cliff hoping you’ll be rescued by your new favorite album on the way down when you can lay supine on the terra firma of your “Summer Rewind” playlist? Not just in times of great stress, but for all times, I genuinely ask: Why spend time on something you might not like?”
Larson also writes it all has to do with the brain. Stay with me folks.
“When it comes to hearing music, a network of nerves in the auditory cortex called the corticofugal network helps catalog the different patterns of music. When a specific sound maps onto a pattern, our brain releases a corresponding amount of dopamine, the main chemical source of some of our most intense emotions. This is the essential reason why music triggers such powerful emotional reactions, and why, as an art form, it is so inextricably tied to our emotional responses.
“But when we hear something that hasn’t already been mapped onto the brain, the corticofugal network goes a bit haywire, and our brain releases too much dopamine as a response. When there is no anchor or no pattern on which to map, music registers as unpleasant, or in layman’s terms, bad.”
I know. Heavy, heavy stuff.
Coincidentally, about the same time Larson was getting all scientific, a legendary musician was waxing not so scientifically.
“We have kind of a nihilistic society; no one believes in anything, no one likes anything, no one has any respect for anything and the music shows that. [Music] does not exist – there’s some form of music-like sound but it’s not music. It’s a single note or three or four notes repeated over again with a chorus that’s drummed into your head or it makes you want to hang yourself. Now… the music doesn’t mean anything.”
Who said that?
Don McLean, quoted in The Daily Mail.
Of course McLean will forever be remembered for his 1971 classic “American Pie.” The year before he released his debut album. This was the first track on the LP, a top 40 hit McLean wrote. Do you remember this song about a city guy who yearns for a country love?
Also on McLean’s 1970 debut album “Tapestry” (celebrating its 50th anniversary this year) there was another song he wrote that he did not release as a single at the time, but it became a hit a few years later for Perry Como. You know we try to occasionally come up with an Elvis tie-in. The King recorded this McLean song as well and sang it in concert regularly until he died. This is audio, not video of Elvis performing on August 30, 1976, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The You Tube contributor included his own video of snap shots of Elvis on this pretty ballad.
McLean with his girlfriend, Paris Dylan last summer.
Elvis, singing in concert about a year before he died is still pretty damn good.
“The Polish Prince” turned 85 on Thursday.