Further Musings On Why Yesterday Was Better Than Today

I do most of my exercising at the Nazareth, PA YMCA where they’ll play either the Sirius Top 40 station or the Sirius 80’s on 8 station, neither of which would be anywhere near my choice. (I’m too lazy and it’s too much hassle to do the earbuds thing, although I probably could bench press twice as much to “Ass Cobra” than Katy Perry. At least I’d like to think I could.)

Anyway, they had been playing the Top 40 station for a long time and, as I’ve mentioned a thousand times before, I can’t find one song these days that I like. This past week they switched to the 80’s, and you have to understand, I pretty much hate 80’s pop. Hair metal is a disgrace to metal and new wavey stuff sucks for the most part too. I spent the early 80’s into hardcore and the late 80’s into the stoner revival, so I stayed away from radio as much as possible.

But I certainly find the bad 80’s stuff to be a lot more tolerable than the godawful current stuff. I remembered “Ah Leah” by Donnie Iris as actually pretty good and even Huey Lewis and Culture Club at least dragged the depths of tolerability.

I think the problem is, there’s very little semblance of Rock to what’s going on today. These two questions occurred to me: 1) What is Rock about that Ellie Goulding song that Peter adores? 2) What isn’t Rock about the Electric Eel Shock song I followed up with?

Simply put, what used to be radio pop rock and what used to be radio hard rock can now only be found on country radio. Donnie Iris and Huey Lewis and probably even the Beatles would be forced to add a steel guitar and moronic lyrics if they wanted to be heard on the radio these days. (Not sure what Culture Club would do.)

Recently, me and a bunch of my old player friends have been semi-reforming the country pop cover band we were successful with about 10 years ago. Because my family left and I have time again, because we’re too old to be a rock band (plenty of old farts out there trying to compete with 25-year-olds and failing – despite the fact that the oldsters can play circles around the newbies), because it’s easy money and because a little bit of rock attitude goes a long way in a country band.

In the 10 years since I’ve played out, pop country has become a lot harder and more riffy. The lyrics are more same-y and moronic than ever, unfortunately, but, I’m not particularly a lyrics guy anyway. You can always just ignore ’em.

Let me leave you with an example of a song we’re playing (it’s not particularly brand new either). It’s moronic, it sure ain’t Hellacopters or Turbonegro, but it beats the hell out of Ellie Goulding, for my money anyway. It’s as close to hard rock as you’ll find on regular radio these days, unfortunately:

2 thoughts on “Further Musings On Why Yesterday Was Better Than Today

  1. Part of the problem is insertion of the word Rock. That’s probably my fault, with the dumb Joni Mitchell rocks comment. I think I made it first.

    There are a lot of different styles of music to listen to and they are not all rock. Ellie Goulding is pop music, for sure, and can be as soft and mushy as most pop music, as we demonstrated yesterday. Too soft and mushy for my taste overall, but I do really like that song.

    Electric Eel Shock is rock, and great fun. I like it. I liked it when Steve posted it last year and I like it now. It’s cute, they’re cute, the naked drummer thing is cute, but the sock thing is old. And so is the music, but that’s okay. I like it but I wouldn’t call it the best song of the year because it’s more like the best song from a while ago.

    I like a lot of music that doesn’t rock like Jason Aldean, which is also old music (gussied up with the banjo to sound country rather than hair metally, which maybe makes it a little new). But I do think it has a rock attitude.

    That attitude has more to do with telling the truth, making the licks and lyrics count, and not looking back. (I just tossed this definition off, I’m probably forgetting something important, but for now this is good enough.)

    Which brings me back to the question I had about the old charts and comparing today with yesterday. Is today really worse? Or is it just worse for the olds who prefer yesterday? I’m one of those, which is what matters mostly, but I’m not comfortable thinking I’m right about it.


  2. I just pulled out EES in an emergency. I wasn’t trying to get it elected for anything.

    But you can’t beat Copperhead Road. Started playing that back in 1993 in Illinois and then crossed it over to PA when I moved back in 1996. Great fun to play and always a crowd-pleaser. (How is it that Steve Earle looks like Rick Rubin these days?)

    You alluded to the problem, Peter. This site is called ROCKremnants, not pop remnants, not jazz remnants. There’s no room here for Beyonce and Kanye and all that other nonsense. It’s not welcome here, as far as I’m concerned. You named the site, so it’s your fault. (You’re also the site administrator, so screw me!!!)

    I am comfortable KNOWING I’m right about it and I have the “You’re Not Getting Old The Music Just Sucks” sticker on my one bass case to prove it.

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