Who cares if you knew about Kate Bush before someone else did?
July 17, 2022 8:45 AM   Subscribe

 
For me it feels like the new media landscape gives a person more ability to explore the canon. I don't have to ask the local station about why they don't play more female rockers anymore, the link between hearing the name of an act and hearing the act is much shorter and the cost of branching out to sample experimental music is lower in effort and literal cost. Just because the gate has been raised doesn't mean that there's no point in being a music snob anymore if the point is hearing the music itself.
posted by Selena777 at 9:39 AM on July 17 [6 favorites]


Deal with God is one of my favorite songs, but like things I hold precious, I don't listen to it often, opting to save it for special occasions.

Now I fucking hear that song 20 times a day - or should I say, the same 10 seconds and it's kinda lost a little of its luster.

In a year we'll forget about it, while another song is dredged up and recontextualized into an oblivion of thirst trap Tik Toks.

So it goes.

The album isn't coming back (the single as a song you listen to from start to finish seems in peril), so I'm not sure if the idea that the youths are going to rediscover Kate Bush's oeuvre will come to past. We live in a world of comic strip attention spans.
posted by alex_skazat at 9:47 AM on July 17 [10 favorites]


Interesting and clever article, but as an older person my life is not dominated by social media, so I guess I don't share that perspective.

Without the monkish music elitists preserving our memories of what they deem canonical, Kate Bush must disappear until some extrinsic force like Netflix resurrects her.

I've never been called a music elitist. Ms Bush is alive and well in our CD and vinyl collection, thanks just the same.
posted by Artful Codger at 9:50 AM on July 17 [12 favorites]


I think I disagree with nearly all of this. I'm tempted to argue that temporal ordering is just a weird way of saying that stuff used to get forgotten. There are some things that should be forgotten, but not most things. "Amplitude" seems like a weird way to describe media gatekeeping which hasn't actually changed in a meaningful way since the printing press. How many of y'all can summarize what's happening in Sri Lanka or Haiti today? I can't. I can tell you about the dumb shit my president said this week. Social media mostly just shows me commercial news in my languages, which is pretty much the same thing that would have been delivered to my doorstep 100 years ago.

But, the article is thoughtful and interesting. Thanks for posting it
posted by eotvos at 11:58 AM on July 17 [4 favorites]


"if you actually remember the past, your curse is to get annoyed when others naively unearth it" is probably my favorite line in the brief article. But that was just as annoying in 1960, when the streams that presented us with music (mostly radio stations) were much fewer and more restricted.
posted by Peach at 11:58 AM on July 17 [8 favorites]


I'm tempted to argue that temporal ordering is just a weird way of saying that stuff used to get forgotten. There are some things that should be forgotten, but not most things. "Amplitude" seems like a weird way to describe media gatekeeping which hasn't actually changed in a meaningful way since the printing press.

Yeah, my inner editor feels compelled to demand a rewrite from Drew Austin in which a better effort is made to communicate with "regular" folks. Like me.

Maybe start here:

Time is the new space.

Because my immediate (admittedly almost 63 year old) reaction is no, it isn't. Time and space are not really capable of being the same thing any more than philip can be the new random (or vice versa) as both are required to comprise philip-random. But what do I know? I knew about Kate Bush way before Drew Austin did, I'm pretty sure.
posted by philip-random at 12:28 PM on July 17 [3 favorites]


I don't really think there's much to say, except that present-day culture is mostly created by mining the past.

In some sense that was always true. But recording changed it from the past we remember (or think we remember) to the recorded past, and the internet has made the recorded past extremely accessible and mostly outside the whims of tastemakers and corporate decisions about what to stock at the record store.
posted by Foosnark at 1:26 PM on July 17 [5 favorites]


I liked the concept of Kate Bush more than the execution.

There. I said it.

But I do feel hopeful that maybe the styles and themes of 80s music will make a brief return (they never went away, in my heart). Maybe we’ll have a resurgence of music safe to play in supermarket overheads that aren’t all gloom, doom, shootings in the streets, etc. and something for great-grandchildren to discover and re-record in a couple of decades.

Provided humanity lives that long.
posted by JustSayNoDawg at 1:33 PM on July 17 [3 favorites]


This is a beautifully written article with a point so slippery as to be altogether ungraspable. I think they're saying, at least in part, that it no longer matters when a song was recorded, a movie made, etc. I'm not sure I believe it. If that's true, why are young people watching Stranger Things, and not something...you know...better? For that matter, why are they watching bullshit like Friends? Why is that relevant? Maybe relevance and quality are not related. Anyway, I thought they wrote it pretty
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:34 PM on July 17 [5 favorites]


There is a wonderful podcast by a musician named Kirk Hamilton (no not the Metallica guitarist) called “Strong Songs” where he breaks down, really deeply deconstructs, amazing songs, sounds, musical efforts and moments, in a way that is both engaging and inspiring.


I think the two best things about the internet are Metafilter and music. - it amazes and really baffles me that I can immediately download these songs that Hamilton deconstructs and then listen to them, learn from them, get jolted by them.

The part music plays in my life is so many times greater than the pre-internet era. So while social media is surely going to lead to the downfall of civilization- music is there fighting the good fight against that inexorable tide ….
posted by WatTylerJr at 1:45 PM on July 17 [10 favorites]


I thought these pieces were really interesting, thank you for this post!
posted by Charity Garfein at 2:04 PM on July 17


WatTylerJr, that sounds like Adventures in Good Music, with Karl Haas, which was GREAT if you liked classical music.

kittens for breakfast et al, people are watching Stranger Things because my generation (X) is old enough for nostalgia, so Netflix, Random House, and everybody else is cashing in on the 80s. (See also Ready Player One, the new Chip n' Dale movie, the new Space Jam, the new Predator movie, basically every single fucking remake and reboot). And Stranger Things is being true to their roots and playing Kate Bush and so now everybody is listening to her. And, fine, but I don't see how this is any different than the 60s revival from when I was a kid (in the 80s) and we had The Wonder Years and then disco sort of coming back into style in the 90s (ending around the time Jimmy Fallon did the Barry Gibb Talk Show on SNL) and then a weird 60s revival REBOOT with things like The NEW Wonder Years and and and and and.

(But I still take your point, because S1 of Stranger Things was fine I guess but I sure as shit wasn't going to stick around for more.)
posted by nushustu at 2:38 PM on July 17 [6 favorites]


Given that I heard Wuthering Heights when it came out (and was completely astounded by it), I suspect I knew about Kate Bush before most people who weren't listening to the radio in 1978 in the UK. It's literally meaningless, and nothing more than a temporal peculiarity, and I think it's very nice that people are still discovering at least one of her songs, and hopefully some of them will listen to The Dreaming or The Sensual World.

If anyone's interested in other great, idiosyncratic women singers of the eighties, Elizabeth Fraser's long-awaited mini-album/EP (I, for one, have waited ten years for it - most of the songs were in her set at Meltdown in 2012 and I worried I might never hear them again) is out properly at the end of the month under the name Sun's Signature. Most of it is already on your streaming service of choice and it's quite, quite wonderful. It was officially released over a month ago for Record Store day, but for those of us without a functioning turntable it's July 27th.

I am a little bitter about that, yes. But that's what happens when people manufacture unnecessary artificial scarcity.
posted by Grangousier at 3:00 PM on July 17 [8 favorites]


I suppose I understand why Generation X is watching Stranger Things (I was extremely underwhelmed by season one and peaced out a few hours into season two), but what I can't understand is why someone who's like 20 is watching it. And I think that's really what the article is talking about: this idea that when something was made is no longer important, that media has collapsed into an eternal present. If that's true, then why the fuck would anyone watch Stranger Things when they could be watching an actual Steven Spielberg movie from the 1980s? I don't think it really is true -- I think young people want to see a pantomime of past times performed by people their own age, because the present is horrible and they wish they lived in the past. Of course, the past was also horrible, at least in real life it was, and what they really want is to live in a Steven Spielberg movie from the 1980s, or an episode of Friends or Frasier.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:05 PM on July 17 [6 favorites]


I guess I don't understand the first article's tone about "well, you knew it earlier and so now you get to have a bad attitude about people discovering it later".

I mean, when I encounter someone who has just discovered any music I love, I feel joy and have to restrain myself from flooding them with "oh, and you need to hear this, and this, and this is totally amazing"...

I find it interesting that most of the music listened to today across the board is older and not new pop music. I do hope for new pop music that will be good, even as I get older and it moves outside of my own range of taste and understanding. But mostly, I just celebrate anyone finding good music regardless of when it was made.
posted by hippybear at 3:08 PM on July 17 [6 favorites]


great, idiosyncratic women singers of the eighties, Elizabeth Fraser's long-awaited mini-album/EP

Thank you, I wasn't aware of this!

I feel so lucky to have seen her play live three times, once in each incarnation (Cocteau Twins, Massive Attack, and solo), 3 shows I truly treasure!
posted by chaz at 3:39 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]


because the nostalgia vehicles don't serve the same unquestioned cultural toxicity as the real thing

improves the vibe
posted by skrozidile at 3:56 PM on July 17 [6 favorites]


I mean, I am am Elder Millenial, but for me the charm of Stranger Things, into parts I have seen, is pieces of my parents.

I am targeted largely by the Y2K nostalgia, if marketers were trying to hit my actual pop culture immersion- millennium gloss optimism to tumblr being more accurate to "cool" for my teens to youth. But Stranger Things feels like my parents' cozy.

It's nostalgia for their youth, their D&D, fashions, etc... and my parents started young with having me. I would expect Gen Z to have a ghost impact in photos and the music their parents had, familiarity with aesthetics without over saturation.

Beyond Kate Bush, who I discovered in my 20s and skipped over as vaguely interesting. But the Stephen King framing, and so forth are all echoes of something just out of reach but that didn't actually immediately vanish, well into when inflatable purple chairs or shibari harnesses and steam punk were the shit. It's been around, the way the 60s and early 70s blend a bit into how I remember the adults in my life, in turn, would consume things.

So I get hints of feeling "safe" without feeling contemporary or passé, the way I visibly know my trend happy self currently still reacts to moustaches on everything as a bit *too* close for comfort.
posted by Phalene at 5:57 PM on July 17 [3 favorites]


Nobody can steal my old timer pleasure of looking at young punks and thinking they are cute little puppies trying to be fierce.

(I noticed recently youtube no longer shows when a video was uploaded on the video's page so I don't even know if time exists anymore except as it is measured by my physical decay)
posted by srboisvert at 6:04 PM on July 17 [2 favorites]


(I noticed recently youtube no longer shows when a video was uploaded on the video's page so I don't even know if time exists anymore except as it is measured by my physical decay)

Every video I've watched on YouTube today shows this directly underneath the video title (under the video window) and to the right of total views, but still on the left side of the screen.

Maybe you need to reboot your computer or something?
posted by hippybear at 6:20 PM on July 17


Think it is part of a bigger phenomenon where technology has changed the collective conscious so much that we seem to be living in a timeless now generally.Everything since television and recording became so common exists side by side with everything else and the (recorded) past no longer seems so far away. Or maybe it's me, getting older, something about today's culture, or all of the above.
posted by blue shadows at 6:39 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]


I suppose I understand why Generation X is watching Stranger Things (I was extremely underwhelmed by season one and peaced out a few hours into season two), but what I can't understand is why someone who's like 20 is watching it. And I think that's really what the article is talking about: this idea that when something was made is no longer important, that media has collapsed into an eternal present. If that's true, then why the fuck would anyone watch Stranger Things when they could be watching an actual Steven Spielberg movie from the 1980s?

Straight-up, I read Ready Player One because a relative bought it for me. My personal opinions of it aside (hated it) I remember thinking "this is written for fifth graders, but with references that only 40-somethings will get. Who is this for?"

Maybe that was the point? Like, to gen z, it's this arcane knowledge, this window into ancient wisdom that has to be parsed out by diving deep into history, whereas to me it's just bullshit 80s trivia.
posted by nushustu at 7:03 PM on July 17 [3 favorites]


what I can't understand is why someone who's like 20 is watching it

People of all ages have always liked period pieces. And there's a special connection for those pieces which give you a glimpse into what your parents or grandparents lived through. When I was a kid, I went through that by watching shows & movies set in the 60's. And because of my grandmother who had vivid memories of the depression, I'd also go out of my way to consume stuff from the 30's and 40's.

I could see how the show would actually appeal more to the kids than to the bitter gen X grownups. I did my time in the 80's. For much of the time period of the show, I had deep nuclear war fears and was trapped in an evangelical school & church. Plus all the other awkwardness that comes from being a teenager. There's no way in hell I'd want to relive it. Not much nostalgia left.

But for a twenty year old, it's a view into a place that's both vaguely familiar and rather alien. Gives a connection to their parents' world. I could definitely see the appeal.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 7:26 PM on July 17 [2 favorites]


why the fuck would anyone watch Stranger Things when they could be watching an actual Steven Spielberg movie from the 1980s?

Oh, but they probably can't do so, conveniently. Video is not like music, where most of the canon is perpetually available on Spotify et al for the price of a subscription. Netflix doesn't really have jack for old movies, certainly not to the extent that you can just dial up anything that comes to mind.

You can "rent" almost anything, of course, for a few bucks, but for some reason that's a dealbreaker. As a result I'm kind of worried about how shallow the average teen's movie background is going to be.
posted by anhedonic at 7:33 PM on July 17 [4 favorites]


Also a lot of original 80s pop culture is full of grossly obvious sexism and homophobia. The nostalgia versions of it skip a lot of that.
posted by harriet vane at 11:47 PM on July 17 [13 favorites]


First, there is no accounting for taste -- as close as I'll get to apologising for mine and a buffer if you think I love you less for yours, whatever it is.

Among the word-of-mouth recommendations, there always was a chase for novelty and some dick-length comparison in a "recommendation dance-off" where people would try to outdo each other with sh_t unheard. And weirdly also, saintly canonisation with nostalgia saying "this was authentically what it was like to be there at the time." (It's extra weird, that idea of authenticity when some nostalgia is for heavily gate-kept or curated clusters of creativity accessible only by selling out. Of course, some cult work later gains admission to the canon of nostalgia, mostly because it was cheap to licence for repeated use.)

We traded local gatekeepers for Metafilter, I think, and almost anyone can share an opinion on what a Front-Page Post meant to them. I like the international reach and the things I would not see through my local gatekeepers. Given I maintain that creative works are supposed to challenge us to grow as humans*, I'm glad that this does that for me.

Then they paved par-uh automated the aggregation of FPP onto, uh, the front page (or For You Page) by a mystical notion of "relevance" and made it and endless scrolling dopamine slot machine ... for consumers. Remixers and producers get better tools and better source material for their collage and mash-up, which I guess is from a licensed palette allowed by TikTok's owner ByteDance.

I'm not cooler than anyone for knowing about this before writing this comment.

*: I also understand that being scared means you have all those 'spoons of exploration' spent on the puzzle of staying alive.
posted by k3ninho at 12:09 AM on July 18 [2 favorites]


Stranger Things is great. Spielberg movies from the 80s (or any other decade) are generally wank. I watch Stranger Things rather than Spielberg movies because the former is not done shittier version of the former, they were completely different things. The question of why you'd watch one when the other exists is like asking why you'd eat ice cream when steaks exist. Completely different, utter non-sequitur of a question (and in this case, I'm being generous because Spielberg films are NOT steak, more like dramatically overdone broccoli).

Signed, a millennial.
posted by Dysk at 12:42 AM on July 18 [4 favorites]


(And I should clarify that in comparing to Spielberg's family/tend stuff. ST vs ET is a useful comparison in a way that ST vs Schindler's List is not.)
posted by Dysk at 12:45 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]


Also a lot of original 80s pop culture is full of grossly obvious sexism and homophobia. The nostalgia versions of it skip a lot of that.

Well, if you think that's bad, wait until you hear about the original '80s.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:18 AM on July 18 [5 favorites]


The 'my opinion and personal choices are better than yours' plus the overuse (and misunderstanding) of the word 'snob' makes me realize that there is a level of arrogance among certain elitists as personified by this writer. With a few key presses they seem to think that past culture and art is simply not worthy of consideration. The bleak and dark prospect of awakening each day to a blank slate and knowing that an algorithm will determine how it develops is somewhat Orwellian to the extreme.

Clearly they have not looked into the eye in Albrecht Durer's self-portrait and sen the window reflected there, nor taken some time to investigate 'The Garden of Earthly Delights'. Or visited a theater to see a play and experience the delight of a live performance by masters (or not) of their art.

Indulging oneself in a bout of acoustic entertainment while traveling through the centuries of a vast catalog music has far more humanity to it than awaiting the next nudge from an algorithm to perform an action. Spontaneity is a human trait, along with critical thinking, which is excluded from this persons elitist waffling...
posted by IndelibleUnderpants at 5:20 AM on July 18


I find it weird to say this song has resurged considering that the recent cover of it was all over alternative radio for like the past few years. It's so rote that I generally change the channel so I'm not sure who it was by, but maybe Ellevator? I'm actually really glad the original came back around.
posted by The_Vegetables at 7:40 AM on July 18


ST vs ET is a useful comparison in a way that ST vs Schindler's List is not.

I tried to make my kids watch ET once because my wife got this ridiculous looking shirt with ET on it, and even though I grew up then and didn't really like it, they were curious about it. To them, it was so slow it was like punishment.
posted by The_Vegetables at 7:44 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]


Think it is part of a bigger phenomenon where technology has changed the collective conscious so much that we seem to be living in a timeless now generally.

I suppose I might buy that we find ourselves in a moment when the stuff of the now is more under attack from the stuff of the past (in terms of wanting and getting our attention) than ever before. But this isn't remotely new, just an amplification.

[a rant ensues]

I'm a teen of the 1970s and back then it was the resurgence of the all things 1950s and early pre-Beatles 1960s that was the f***ing problem -- starting with American Graffiti (an entirely okay movie) and its hugely successful soundtrack of nostalgic oldies that effectively forced all new cool music from the rec-room dance parties, quickly followed by Happy Days on TV (an intensely annoying program past its first season or two -- it jumped the shark long before Fonzie jumped any shark). And this throwback shit didn't just apply to entertainment options. It was everywhere, including politics, ultimately leading to Ronald Reagan's presidency in 1980 and (not coincidentally to my mind) the murder of John Lennon at the end of that year. Whatever the 1960s had been about (revolutions, evolutions, the Summer Of Love etc) -- that wasn't just over, it was shot down, murdered on the sidewalk.

Which made the decade of the 1980s what?

Well, one thing I can say, having lived it as a young adult (not a Thirty Something -- f*** that yuppy shit) is that if you're looking back at it now, imagining that the stuff that was commercially successful was any reflection of the stuff that was actually of "value", cool, worth diving into, getting passionate about -- well, you're missing something big. Which is that the 80s were a time when you had to go looking for the good stuff, often at great cost, in dangerous places. The mainstream was like a sickness, a great plague of cocaine induced toxicity that one avoided with a vengeance if they valued their sanity.

(also the nuclear threat, AIDS, early warnings of what we now call Climate Change)

Obviously, there are exceptions to this (Prince's output for instance, various movies that started with B -- Blue Velvet, Brazil, Buckaroo Banzai, Blade Runner) but overall, it must've been a brutal time indeed to be a teen or tween stuck in the suburbs, lacking the sophistication to see that your were getting force fed only that stuff that the corporate overlords (and their mobbed up facilitators) had deemed good for the shareholders --

[rant ends]

TLDR: if you took a time machine back to the heart of the 80s, you'd find yourself in a horror movie probably not so different from the stuff of Stranger Things, except not remotely as fun.
posted by philip-random at 8:12 AM on July 18 [2 favorites]


There are some things that should be forgotten, but not most things


What? No. I mean "Yes...most things we should forget". We are all of us in a sand storm of rubbish content and distractions, some of it from the past, some of it freshly minted rubbish.

The only way we're going to survive this 'information age' is by squeegee-ing early and often and almost always.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 8:16 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]


if you actually remember the past, your curse is to get annoyed when others naively unearth it

A millennial colleague in a Zoom call told me about the awesome song from Stranger Things like it was a new thing. I thought, yeah, I'm familiar with it from when it came out. 37 years ago. When I was an adult. Then I cried and cried.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:47 AM on July 18 [2 favorites]


Benign condescension is an effective remedy for existential malaise! Next time just pinch the youngster's cheek and say "you kids are so cute," as is your right as an Old
posted by Gerald Bostock at 10:15 AM on July 18 [3 favorites]


When people tell you about this great "new" song that they just heard, that is the opportunity to show off as an Old. You have to choose your audience, of course, but you can almost certainly find someone who will want to hear about Notable Concerts You Attended In The 1990s, Cool Record Stores That Are Now No More, etc. I, when somewhat younger, was extremely impressed when an older friend told me that he had seen Mission of Burma in the eighties, for instance. And I met someone who actually knows Chumbawamba socially!

You have to fine-tune your reminiscences so as not to bore people, but one can usually work up a few punchy little anecdotes about experiences that the youngs could never have today.

And I'm not suggesting doing this in a one-sided way but you can also introduce the youngs to interesting and more obscure music as if you were a music snob of yore passing on your minor label finds via mix tape.
posted by Frowner at 10:34 AM on July 18 [3 favorites]


overall, it must've been a brutal time indeed to be a teen or tween stuck in the suburbs, lacking the sophistication to see that your were getting force fed only that stuff that the corporate overlords (and their mobbed up facilitators) had deemed good for the shareholders

Wait what? I was a teen / tween stuck in the suburban/semirural boondocks and watched a lot of the B movies as you (ironically?) called them, plus a lot of foreign stuff (for us it was Diva, Delicatessen, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown); we especially loved the weird stuff (Eating Raoul and Repo Man and After Hours), and ok we had most of Monty Python memorized and played D&D and Atari. I didn't love Ready Player One, but damn if parts of it didn't pander directly to me. My friends and I listened to college radio when we could get the signal (not always) so my music tastes did lean more into alternative and punk light. But we also went to see all the John Hughes movies and shopped at The Limited along with going to vintage clothing shops. I dunno. Were we sophisticated? It sure didn't feel that way.

At the time it felt more like there were the normal people who fit in, and there were the weirdos like me who found other stuff funny / interesting / cool that we mostly had to hide from regular people if we wanted to have friends. If it was brutal for the majority, they sure didn't know it.
posted by Mchelly at 10:46 AM on July 18 [3 favorites]


The discussion on Hacker News of this article had an interesting comment pointing out that the researchers may be comparing apples to oranges. That is, older charts were determined by people *buying* new albums, but we now track what people are *listening* to. Its quite possible (I haven't had time to review the research) we are listening to the same percentage of old music we were previously, BUT we now we can detect it.
posted by mon_petit_ordinateur at 11:47 AM on July 18 [5 favorites]


Thanks for the link to the succinct piece on Orthographic Projection and how it can help us make better sense of the experience of digesting information through social media feeds and how that is affecting us individually and collectively.
posted by gestalt saloon at 11:59 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]


Every video I've watched on YouTube today shows this directly underneath the video title (under the video window) and to the right of total views, but still on the left side of the screen.

Maybe you need to reboot your computer or something?


Thanks for making me look into it. It turns out it is Google just be unexpectedly shitty for accessibility and hiding information as your page zoom goes up. So I just need to replace my eyes I guess instead of using 150% zoom.
posted by srboisvert at 12:29 PM on July 18 [2 favorites]


building a bit on what philip-random has said ... + very ambivalently doing so because I'm older now + almost don't care at all about such things ....

there is perception and direct experience with art, and then there is the culture of extra-musical (or more generally, extra-sensory) cultural context that gets built around various works of art .... the 1980s (especially 1st year or two, immediately after punk) was a time of great work but required much digging and much direct experience with the work, mostly without any context (i am talking almost exclusively about college radio, because in the US no one else would even touch new wave, it was seen as an embarassment, at least where I was raised)

Yes those insisting on 'been there 1st' are often regarded as snobs, + perhaps rightfully so ... but it's not *just* for being there 1st, in some cases ... it's because the tribalism formed around finding like-minded people meant something ... those who'd taken the time to dig for and evaluate what they liked took some risks, and were often outcasts for that ....

the problem (um, if it could be said to be a 'problem' at all ...) is, the late comers are a varied group that follows any initial movement, and it is comprised of both a sub-group of people who are equally passionate about what they discover, but it also has a sub-group of people who mostly follow things because it's suddenly safe to do so (again, the extra-musical info has had its influence and a proper cultural context has been built that is like a scaffolding for evaluating things)

again, with maturity perhaps, the whole pheonomena of taste and fashion becomes somewhat ridiculous maybe? but at a certain age, it really did / does matter ..... and it's even more maddening when you attend a live music show and most of the people there are from the latter group so that they tend to talk through the entire show, because for them the art was really secondary and it was mostly the social signifiers that attracted them .....

younger + don't believe me? amusing anecdote ... I was beat up in mechanical drawing class for wearing a u2 shirt from the october tour .... the stones and eagles fans in no way approved of a ridiculous band that'd call themselves 'u2'

the younger me needed to put that out there ... :) the older me already regrets saying anything at all .....
posted by clandestiny's child at 1:20 PM on July 18 [4 favorites]


or ... to use another metaphor ... wider adoption and growing appreciation for varous art forms can be thought of as dilution of shares when a company issues more shares, perhaps ...

yes, more people are aware of the art, and that can be a great thing for artists (especially now when there is *so much* competing for people's attention that brilliant things are mostly being overlooked) and even for the world at large .....

but more people being aware also means that more people get to weigh in on what that art means, + even 're-purpose' it in their own likeness, thanks (or no thanks?) to social media or sites like youtube, where a band's original intent and sometimes very calculated choices can get rather distorted in a new world where anyone can 're purpose' a work of art in their own custom way (such as with bad tribute videos or truly tasteless fonts + bad artwork, etc.)
posted by clandestiny's child at 1:29 PM on July 18


more people being aware also means that more people get to weigh in on what that art means, + even 're-purpose' it in their own likeness,

And this is bad, why?
posted by signal at 2:57 PM on July 18


Thanks for making me look into it. It turns out it is Google just be unexpectedly shitty for accessibility and hiding information as your page zoom goes up. So I just need to replace my eyes I guess instead of using 150% zoom.

Not to excuse, but I believe it's related to browser width — I've been annoyed at this for a while where I want to know when something was posted and I have to fiddle w/ my browser size to see it :/

posted by wemayfreeze at 3:20 PM on July 18


Not to excuse, but I believe it's related to browser width — I've been annoyed at this for a while where I want to know when something was posted and I have to fiddle w/ my browser size to see it :/

I'm using a 17 inch laptop so my screen is plenty wide and that's actually the source of the problem when combined with my preferred zooms. For some reason with full window browsing in Chrome the views + date becomes just views because the like/dislike thumbs, share, clip, etc menu overwrites where the upload date should be as the page adjusts to include a right side column of suggested videos. If I shrink the browser window even the tiniest bit the display adjusts, the suggested videos disappear and the views + date uploaded are on their own line. Basically, it is a bug in their responsive web design that results in a small portion of text ending up hidden.

The weird thing though is that is a very recent change yet nothing has really changed on the youtube video pages that I can tell other than this. But at least now I know I just need to ctrl-scroll to adjust the zoom to see the upload date. So small victories.

UPDATE: There is a reddit thread. It seems it is because YouTube added a "clip" button to the menu.
posted by srboisvert at 3:54 PM on July 18 [1 favorite]


And this is bad, why?

right, doesn't *have* to be bad ... nothing is all good or all bad,

but it seems a bit unfair to me that any joe schmoe can make a really terrible video tribute in honor of a band who might've worked really hard to present themselves in a particular way + who've tried to retain creative control (i.e., forked out $ to get an experienced designer to do their album cover, for example), and that those without a proper historical perspective might experience the derivative work 1st and then form their initial associations accordingly ... I dunno, you might accuse one who holds that view as being elitist, + perhaps it is ...

I find it equally annoying that marketers can re-purpose music for their own ends and without any regard for the original spirit of a song + its artistic context ... I also found the phenomenon of sampling to be somewhat unfortunate when someone with a sampler could - in 5 minutes - leverage and 'borrow' a sonic texture that it took a skilled producer years + years to develop through discipline, craft, and a whole lot of time ..... so consider me to be an idealist who's often wrong and going very much against the grain of our times :) guilty and lemme tell you it's not always easy to live in this world of laziness + shortcuts + clearly not much of a meritocracy when it comes to creativity and reward$ (perhaps that was always somewhat true, though?)
posted by clandestiny's child at 4:00 PM on July 18


final point, + then I'm done ...

I guess the idealism consists in wanting the 'purest path' between artists' hands and a listeners ears, without a lot of distortion of original intent, without the commentary by music journalists, without all the cultural forces that push + pull things into a particular direction or genre or create (+ sometimes even force) any other associations

fortunately, college radio still exists, and bandcamp is the closest thing we might have now that allows for such direct, unfiltered expression, allowing for the disorientation and pleasant suprise that often accompanies stumbling into something for the 1st time without knowing anything about it other than what the ears 'hear'
posted by clandestiny's child at 4:26 PM on July 18 [1 favorite]


Where should I draw the line I (honestly) wonder? I can't possibly appreciate a contemporary printed or digital version of, say, the Mona Lisa nor a printed version or performance of The Tempest the way I could have when they were first created, so to what degree and in what manner(s) should I mediate my interaction with their present version and/or their derivative works?

Also, were I a larcenous one I'd so steal "dramatically overdone broccoli" for a sockpuppet name.
posted by riverlife at 4:27 PM on July 18


To quote Fee Waybill of The Tubes... forgotten entirely above (I believe) "I was a punk before you were a punk, I was a punk before you!".

Oldsters had the likes of John Peel (in the UK) who introduced me and a wide audience to groundbreaking music styles that would have otherwise been ignored. While in the US there was... Casey Kasem and the mainstream UK Sunday Top 40 Countdown which was regularly manipulated by record labels to introduce the mind-numbing 'classics' which I dare not even mention in case I plant an earworm in their head (Oh alright then... how about Captain Sensible, Lorry Lingo and The Dipsticks, Lieutenant Pigeon, Dawn..).

Middlesters - Listening to FM stations across the US whether soft/hard rock, country etc "Music from the 70s, 80s, 90s and more" there is a mind-numbing lack of ability to step outside a 'safe' playlist of specific songs which is custom made for Mr. & Mrs. Middle Ground to reminisce over their lost youth.

Youngsters - It is some recompense to know that, based upon the article, the 'average' 'young' person waking to a new algorithm will suddenly realize their lives were for nought and they will be unable to capture a specific moment in time as every day was predictably unpredictable and instantly forgettable. That concept in itself is remarkably disturbing from a personal and societal perspective... one day, very soon, you too will be old and will wonder what happened and why.

Nostalgia isn't what it used to be... but we can remember it for you wholesale.

Odd that the writer referred to 'Curved Air' check that band out...
posted by IndelibleUnderpants at 6:44 PM on July 18 [5 favorites]


But, then again, Americans never really discovered one of THE all-time classic rock albums 'Argus' by Wishbone Ash... here.
posted by IndelibleUnderpants at 7:01 PM on July 18 [1 favorite]


Oh, I have my LIST of albums that everyone should love and nobody knows about. I'm fine with that. If I meet a fellow traveler then I'm pleased, but I long ago learned that the things I really truly get into are things that others aren't connecting with on that level.

There's still a giant middle ground in there of albums that people should know but a lot don't. Like, if Gen Z got into the Yes album Fragile, I'd be particularly thrilled. Kate Bush is a happy compromise, though.

I do wonder how many have listened to her really weird shit, though. The lengthy psalm to having sex with a snowman is particularly peculiar.
posted by hippybear at 7:09 PM on July 18 [1 favorite]


(Also, the "Curved Air" reference isn't to a band. Terry Riley is a composer.)
posted by hippybear at 7:10 PM on July 18 [1 favorite]


(Oh alright then... how about Captain Sensible, Lorry Lingo and The Dipsticks, Lieutenant Pigeon, Dawn..).

For the curious, I present... Lieutenant Pigeon.

Vintage AM radio used play bizarre random stuff mixed in with pop hits. Those were the days, my friend.
posted by ovvl at 8:24 PM on July 18 [2 favorites]


hippybear - I was trying to be ironic and failed... apparently :-)
posted by IndelibleUnderpants at 8:32 PM on July 18 [1 favorite]


the facts on that Lt. Pigeon song (Mouldy Old Dough) are rather impressive.

It was written by Nigel Fletcher and Rob Woodward and first produced by them under the name of their other band, Stavely Makepeace.[3]

Recorded in the front room of Woodward's Coventry semi-detached house, it featured his mother Hilda Woodward on piano,[4] in a boogie-woogie, honky-tonk, ragtime style. The only lyrics are the growled title "Mouldy Old Dough" and "Dirty Old Man" by Fletcher. When Fletcher asked what they meant, their author, Rob Woodward, said he had no idea.[5]

Despite initial disapproval from their long-term manager and friend, David Whitehouse, they went ahead with its release. It is the only British number one single to feature a mother and son.[4]


Weekly charts -- (1972–73) Peak position

Australia - 5
Belgium - 1
Canada - 8
Germany - 9
Ireland - 1
Netherlands - 4
New Zealand - 1
Norway - 9
South Africa - 2
Switzerland - 2
UK - 1




Sorry, what were we talking about?
posted by philip-random at 9:01 PM on July 18 [1 favorite]


philip random - An ear worm if ever there was one. It is so bad it is good...
posted by IndelibleUnderpants at 9:11 PM on July 18


I am happy to share my generation's cultural treasures with the youngs and they'll find their own uses for em and you bet I am chuffed when my gen y co-worker IMs me to ask what Blue Oyster Cult tracks I recommend and to hip me to Heillung, which I was not hip to.

now I must put on my Old Grump Cloak and say that I have not read the article but I think that
social media feeds’ transition from chronological to algorithmic sorting
can go fuck itself.
posted by Sauce Trough at 4:58 PM on July 19 [1 favorite]


Twitter has allowed you to turn off the algorithm for a while (although they will keep trying to switch you back so you have to insist), and just today or yesterday I learned that Instagram (of which I am not a member) has settings to let you turn it off and get reverse-chronological feed there too. So all is not lost.

Although yes the algorithm can go fuck itself.
posted by hippybear at 7:25 PM on July 22


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