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What Qualifies As “New” Music?

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Sometimes the best place to look for “new” music is in the past.

Without decrying the state of the music industry or dismissing current artists or the media that hangs on them, it is possible to find yourself feeling the latest releases are not to your taste.

Familiar artists may have drifted off into producing albums of “standards” rather than the pop or rock of their earlier career, and perhaps you just can’t connect to the music your kids are playing.

All is not lost. One avenue to explore is the back catalogue of your favourite artists. This can work particularly well if they were previously in a less than famous band before achieving their solo success. Another factor that may help is if you are on a different continent to the artist’s original home.

These factors can have conspired to keep the artist’s earlier work shrouded from you, thus making the music new to your ears.

With all the Internet search tools now at your disposal, it is now much easier to find both the artist history and to listen to and then source the albums.

One example of where this worked for me was with Paul Young. From the U.K., he had some big hits in Australia in the ’80s. Many years later I was able to trace backwards and listen to some of his work with the Q-Tips, his previous band that I had been unaware of.

What I found in those recordings were the qualities that got him signed and then made him into a solo star. The soulful voice, song selection and delivery were all there. Plus, there was an additional energy supplied by the band itself, including a lot more up-tempo numbers and some of the rough edges that were later removed to make him a teen Idol.

Q-Tips LiveThe album I selected, Live At Last by Paul Young and Q-TIps, was a live album, and it was clear the band members were enjoying themselves. Perhaps the performance was not note perfect, but I had nothing to compare it to so it didn’t matter.

The album contains 20 tracks, mostly of British soul with a party feel. The CD is now hard to come by but Amazon has it available as an MP3 download that is much cheaper anyway.

You could do much worse than have a listen to this album, and unless your were in the U.K. in the early ’80s, I’m sure this will qualify as new music to your ears.

So, try searching out the back catalogue of your favourtite artists, as you might find some “new” music of your own.

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