Music, Then and Now


There's about 50,000 new articles each day written about the state of music, so to merely fuel the fire, here's mine. My concern today is twofold: the state of icons in our music society and the physical existence of music in the form of records and CDs.

Is it just me or does it seem there is really jack shit for music icons these days; I'm not talking Bono schmoozing with Canada's next Prime Minister, I'm talking icon. Not Gene 'Horndog' Simmons or Usher, but someone who stands up to rock bullshit and in doing so, gets the respect of everyone around him. Perhaps he has to die first? Perhaps icons are only realized after they've died? But Springsteen's an icon and he's alive? That's the thing, where's our icons?

Is it that perhaps I'm looking icons in the face and not noticing them? Is Conor Oberst really the next Dylan, is Isaac Brock our savior, is Warren Ellis the greatest violin player? I'm just curious as to what we're going to look back on 30 years and think of as, 'those great songwriters'; it seems that any time someone is great, their songs are so blown up, so over-produced that its hard to take them for genuine.

This leads to my 2nd point just perfectly: the physical existence of music in the form of CDs, LPS, and cassettes.

Perhaps its that since everyone's downloading music, they fail to get close to the music. The man who is holding a giant gatefold record while listening to it is a little closer to the music than the guy who's downloading Lord of the Rings while listening to a song over his computer's speakers. Both can enjoy the song, both can tap their feet; hell, both of them can dance their faces off, but I think the person who has the physical LP will respect the artist more, respect the music more, and better understand the music.

As we destroy the item (LP, CD, cassette), we therefore further remove ourselves from music. As we physically distance ourselves from music, we emotionally distance ourselves as well. Once removed from music, we fail to recognize icons and fail to truly recognize great music. I think downloading music has done some great things ( for one!), but I think there comes a time when merely hearing a song over the computer isn't enough. One must own the LP, open it up, be sure not scratch it on the needle, put the sleeve back in, put the plastic over top and alphabetically file the album to truly appreciate all the effort gone into it.

Darren Susin

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