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Thoughts on Reviewing 90s Music

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 11:29 pm
by IceCube
I have to admit, a lot of people out there seem to suggest that the older music is the best music. Some people use personal opinion to back this all up while others try and use certain metrics such as chord progression, loudness, etc. to try and back this opinion up.

Now, a lot is at play here when it comes to older music. For some, it's nostalgia. They enjoy certain tracks because it is very familiar to them. For others, it's a matter of having lived through that era of music and knowing which tracks they like and simply remembering them.

So, this is partly why I have delved so heavily into the 90s. Some people I've spoken to are taken aback when I say I'm not personally even touching the 80s because the older the music is, the better. The decision was simple: by the time those reviews are published, those tracks would be a good 30-40 years old. In the three to four decades since, don't you think something was produced? I'm not saying it's bad to listen to old music, I'm just saying I choose to focus on newer stuff.

So, this leads me to the situation I have now. Having reviewed a good chunk of the 90s in terms of music, what are my thoughts? In all honesty, the 90s proved to be much tougher then I was expecting to review. I tried to keep my scope wide so that different tastes are hit. Unfortunately, I found that finding some really good stuff was like pulling teeth. Yes, there is some good stuff in the 90s, but unfortunately, I had to wade through a tonne of bland stuff to find it. In fact, I could very easily liken it to going through old Atari video game libraries to find something good. Are there good games to be had on the Atari system? Absolutely. Do you have to wade through an ocean of garbage to get there? Unfortunately, yes.

Having said that, I am finding more and more quality, but it appears that some stuff that I consider quality could only be found at around 1998 and 1999. The very last two years of the 90s. I gradually found it easier to find stuff I thought was good stuff. Before that, while wading through 1990-1997, I seriously questioned whether or not it was worth reviewing all this music because it was next to impossible to find some entertaining music. It actually felt like it was almost a waste of time.

Once I reached 1998, I began to change my mind. Had I simply started at the year 2000 and moved forward from there, I would have missed some stuff released in 1998 and 1999 that would have been worth looking for.

So, why do I feel music made since 2000 is so good? Results. Looking back on music I've reviewed in the years since, I felt like I was more spoiled for choice - especially for the years 2004 on. Of course, there is another factor that makes it easier for me to review good music in later years: sources. While I have a better sense of familiarity in those years, I also have better resources to uncover music in those years. People began creating podcasts. Access to music creating tools began to become easier. Independently produced music became more commonplace. Archiving of this info is much easier for me to access. Most importantly, I didn't have to rely on crappy BillBoard top lists or archaic catalogues that tell me next to nothing about the music.

If anything, I think my experience pretty much solidifies my feeling that more modern music isn't actually that bad. A lot of people love to diss it for being repetitive and awful. I suppose my question to those are what are your sources of music? Is it main stream radio? Is it mainstream top charts such as Billboard? Is it Ryan Seacrest? If the answer is yes to any one of those, then I suggest that the problem isn't the era, the problem is the sources. The worst music I hear are promoted through those sources.

This is partly why I began writing music reviews in the first place. The inevitable question is, fine then, what are great sources? Well, I could point you in good directions, but I found that once people realize that this will involve work, they turn off immediately and say it just isn't worth it. Alright, I'll do the next best thing. I will personally go out there, pour hours and hours into the research (that is, after all, something I do REALLY well), and come back and offer examples of what I think is great music (and maybe what isn't that great after all). Do you have to agree with it? Nope. Different people have different tastes and nothing will ever change that. Still, I can do my part to raise awareness of what is, in fact, out there in the first place.

So, while 90s music may have been a bust for me save for 98 and 99, I'm sure some may find what I was able to discover useful to some degree. In fact, I'd be surprised if everyone looked at every release year in the 90s and said, "Yeah, I heard all that." There are, after all, about 475 tracks I was able to review so far from the era (will reach 500 in a couple of months). Can't say I didn't try. ;)

Thoughts on Reviewing 90s Music

Posted: Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:01 pm
by Kamapople
I dislike mainstream music not because its mainstream, but because it mostly sucks and/or doesnt appeal to me. I like a lot of stuff that USED to be mainstream though, like ABBA and the Bee Gees and Micheal Jackson and the Carpenters. Does that count...?