Like Om, I do my best not to be the guy that says, “music was better when…” It just ain’t true. Thanks to Viet Cong, Joan As Police Woman, Janelle Monae and Girl in a Coma my thirst for consistently enjoyable albums is quenched. Thanks also to spotify, grooveshark, youtube, mixcloud, thesixtyone and soundcloud for providing me with new music galore. I can stalk all my favorite bands without the embarrassment of being the middle-aged man in the ill fitting “Death to the Pixies” t-shirt hanging out at concerts pretending to be a “blogger.”
Ellington’s oft used aphorism about music holds true, “If it sounds good and feels good, then it IS good!” Stevie Wonder even wrote a song about it. For me, though, Sam Cooke said it best, ” voices ought not to be measured by how pretty they are. Instead they matter only if they convince you that they are telling the truth.” Because the music that speaks your truth always has a way of finding you.
Which sort of brings me around to Taylor Swift’s 1989. Released back in 2014, the album deviated somewhat from her relationship driven, singer-songwriter tunes and leaped into a full blown synth/electro-pop mode. With a big nods to hip-hop and her new bestie, Lorde, Swift (and her producers) created a fine piece of pop that sounds like the love-child of Jane Wiedlen’s Fur and Soul II Soul’s Club Classics Vol. One. Take the following line from the track, Blank Space:
Love it. Doesn’t speak any truth to me today, but my 1989 self would be all over it. Which is the other thing I kinda dig about 1989, it reminds me of 1989 and all the records I still listen to today:
Pretty Hate Machine (Nine Inch Nails), Doolittle (Pixies), Paul’s Boutique (Beastie Boys) Disintegration (The Cure), The Stone Roses (The Stone Roses), Automatic (The Jesus and Mary Chain), Cosmic Thing (B-52s), 3 Feet High and Rising (De La Soul) Oranges & Lemons (XTC), Key Lime Pie (Camper Van Beethoven) and of course Mind Bomb (The The). The list goes on…
No wonder I wasn’t interested in college, I spent too many hours listening to music. Here’s hoping 2015 gives me more music to remember 25 years from now.
Speaking of 25 years, here is the perfect counterpoint to Blank Space, BBDs Poison which is 25 years strong this month.