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How And Why To Listen To New Music


No one with half a brain imagines that music suddenly got so much worse because you don’t like it. That is not the problem any more than it was in, say, the 1970s when punk was considered anti-musical. Music remains, more or less, as good or bad as it has at any moment since possibly the early 1800s where the piano came into widespread use, certainly since the 1950s when everybody had a phono gram to play pre-recorded music. In the widest of strokes, music remains constant despite the changes in sound.

But the post-rap big change came in the way we respond to the musicality. We were used to melodic hooks and was given rhythmic hooks.

This saw a changing of generations, the youth of the 1980s didn’t all embrace rhythmic hooks and couldn’t hear it. As children, they listened to music with their friends who introduced them to new musicians, as a 20 something putting on the radio, if they didn’t like what they heard, and they wouldn’t, the response was to ignore it.

The result was that as pop music evolved over the past quarter of a century, they stopped listening to anything outside of their comfort zone, and why shouldn’t they ignore new music?

The primary reason to attune your ears to modern pop is because enough of it is good enough that once you get past the clear fact that modern pop doesn’t have the melodies that older pop had, it does have the hooks. Repetition (The sine qua non of pop) will reveal the songs to you, the same way when you watch a Tik Tok hone video, the songs used are born down hard on the hook -you can hear it.

Formulaic true, but what is genre if not formula, and if it isn’t as tuneful as past pop, the actually instrumentation is wild and other worldly. It can be as great as anything.

Clearly, it might not matter if your musical knowledge essentially ended 25 years ago, but if it did that is as though you had died 25 years ago and, if you are a music fan, that you are deaf by modern sounds and everything you think you know is questioned because you don’t know what was happening, how it was evolving.

Around three years I began hearing about hyperpop and couldn’t hear it at all. I slammed Charli XCX despite a pretty good show because I couldn’t hear the music at all. It took three years of steady listening to hear what was happening, and in March 2021 it is like a new glue on old drop the bass, it is a sound that is other; mechanical yet soulful.

But the only way to hear it is to listen.

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