It all started the other day, as I was playing through all of my Depeche Mode albums in anticipation of the new release, Playing The Angel. It got me thinking, "Man, I hope this one gets back more to the quality of Violator. That was such a great album. We rocked it back then; managed to kick it old skool too..." But I was and am geniunely excited about a new release by a band who has been around for about 25 years. That's a long freaking time to still be making popular music.
Then that made me think about a lot of the albums that I still listen to from back in the day. Lots of good music. We dump on the 90's sometimes, but the truth of the matter is that every decade has had its share of gold, and its share of crap. The 80s, the 90s, the 00s. But I do wonder if we, as music listeners and consumers, are helping to maintain a climate that will allow bands and albums to stand the test of time. Will anything we listen to now still be around in 25 years? How about 10?
Really, do we currently allow good music to live and breathe longer than the 30-second commercial it's featured in? Have we resigned ourselves to music being just about fashion, where the shelf life and interest is no longer and no more important to us than hairdos of the moment? Is music meant to be just an element of style, there to serve its purpose for a time and then go (until it's "retro" and enjoys another spin later down the road)? The music addict in me hopes not, because I have to believe that music still connects with a part of us that's deeper than that. But when I listen to the radio, I often wonder how much of it anyone is going to care about ten years from now. There definitely is some, but for me at least, it is sadly a short list.
(For me, it's funny that Depeche Mode's name means "fast fashion", when really it has easily managed to outlast almost everyone else of its day.)
This is just one man's opinion, but even though there are lots of great new artists and records coming out, I seem to hear less and less of them on the radio. Granted, radio itself is becoming less and less relevant, but it's one of the few mass outlets left to guage popularity at any point in time. We no longer have videos for that. No, I have to dig for buried treasure nowadays. I don't mind the digging, but it seems that if I don't it will stay buried. Definitely for me, and probably for a lot of other people as well.