Honor and the past

Lisa Kramer

Lisa Kramer is a contributing contributor at The League of Ordinary Gentlemen.

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15 Responses

  1. North says:

    Well I couldn’t disagree more with you on the idea that there were times in the past that were “better” but that’s peripheral (and maybe an excellent subject for a separate post?).

    That said I agree heartily with the rest of your post. The present is essentially the tentative shadow cast by the past into the future. It’s immensely important. Those (to roll out the grizzled old cliché) who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.Report

  2. Rufus says:

    You know what was better in the past? Social calls: my grandmother used to spend entire days going to the bakery and getting pound cake and then going to visit people and eat it with them. Also, thank you letters. I remember when you used to get them because you threw a nice party.

    You know what was worse? Dealing with the bank to do anything with money. You used to have to get to the bank before it closed if you wanted money to go see a movie or something. And it seemed like we paid for everything in cash.

    Anyway, what examples do you have in mind of things that were better in the past?Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Rufus says:

      @Rufus, albums.Report

      • Rufus in reply to Jaybird says:

        @Jaybird, Sorry to be blunt, but fuck yeah! I was talking about this with the neighbour the other night and both of us were mourning the era in which musicians would try to compete with each other to make the most perfect epic album. As opposed to a committee of marketing analysts trying to write one good single that would sell well as ringtones.Report

      • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

        @Jaybird, albums, like in vinyl…..now i can carry all my music on a road trip in my ipod. i used to have to spend time making mix tapes, on actual tape so i couldn’t always get to the song i wanted or wouldn’t have something i wanted with me.Report

        • greginak in reply to greginak says:

          @greginak, but bands nowadays can put their music on the web where anybody can here it even if they don’t have contract. Now i don’t have to pay a small fortune to buy some indie import ep for a band i’ve heard twice on the radio, i can just download ( legally) their stuff.Report

          • Rufus in reply to greginak says:

            @greginak, I see the advantages you’ve pointed out, but they both come down to what’s more convenient on your end. The disadvantage with vinyl is convenience. But when you listen to music on vinyl on a good stereo, it just sounds better. I don’t know how to quantify it, but I’ve bought albums that I knew inside and out from CDs and finally heard them on record and been totally gobsmacked at the difference- especially with rock albums.

            As for bands distributing their music online, I’ve got plenty of friends that are doing this and it is totally great that people in, say Japan can now hear them. But it’s not like they make any money doing it, and hence will never tour or likely even record an album. The advantage about the old system was that bands like the Kinks or the Rolling Stones could make enough money to devote their lives to making music, and I don’t see that happening for any new bands, no matter how good they are.

            So, I think it’s a matter of trade offs. Maybe it’s not clear-cut better or worse now.Report

            • greginak in reply to Rufus says:

              @Rufus, i don’t necessarily disagree with you. I would suggest that at some point the Rolling Stones had plenty of money yet labels were more likely to keep pumping out another Stones, or Asia record or other guaranteed money maker as opposed to releasing 100 smaller bands.Report

            • Rufus F. in reply to Rufus says:

              @greginak, Well, absolutely- the labels ripped off great bands, forced David Cassidy on the world and still (!) charge way too much for albums, while keeping good musicians working on their farm. So it’s definitely hard to feel sorry for their dying industry. I just hope we can think of something better this time around.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

          @greginak, indeed, you can put all of your music collection on your iPod… and you take one single from this album, one single from that one, and so on.

          I’m thinking about albums like Physical Graffiti or Thick as a Brick or Who’s Next.

          Sure, that era produced its fair allotment of one-hit wonders… but it produced a *HUGE* amount of albums where there wasn’t a single piece of filler.

          I can’t think of an album from the last 10 years or so that wasn’t a movie soundtrack* that’s worth listening to from end to end.

          Is the music today as good as the music back then? Sure. In some ways it’s better. But albums?

          Gimme the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s any day of the week.

          (*O Brother, Where Art Thou?)Report

          • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

            @Jaybird, hmmm i listen to a lot of new music still so i still find plenty of great albums. however i do think the era of the concept album is gone, which i don’t think is good. There was plenty of pretentious poo that people put out as some sort of grand operatic concept, but that type of form has potential. I’m still fond of King Crimson.Report

            • Mike Schilling in reply to greginak says:

              I’ve been listening to Quadrophenia a lot lately. There are songs on it that would be mediocre (at best) by themselves, but which would leave noticeable holes if removed from the album. (The Dirty Jobs, Cut My Hair, etc.) It’s like listening to Mozart — I want the whole symphony, not just the most popular movement (though that’s what the local classical station is playing these days.) And yes, it’s a damned shame that no one’s working in that form anymore.Report

  3. dexter45 says:

    Try the “subdudes” newest album.Report

  4. Bob says:

    Try the Silversun Pickups. Two albums. Both rock, turn-up the volume. Yes, they sound like Smashing Pumpkins, particularly the first album, but so what? The first time I listened to “Lyazy Eyes,” on the radio, I thought it was new Pumpkins music.

    Really a lot of AOR out there.

    Wilco, Sky Blue Sky.

    Spoon, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. Once that album slips into my player it’s in there for repeated plays.

    Radiohead, OK Computer and Kid A.

    I could go on and on.Report