Wednesday, November 05, 2003

The end of innocence.

I was watching 24 Hour Party People last night and got a bit down. I was watching these crowds of twenty or thirty people just losing their shit and dancing to the rock and/or roll music coming from the stage while wearing the beatific smiles of people experiencing something genuine and new. These people were on the cusp of new movements and musical adventures and they were a small crowd who really had to fight against the flow to ferret out the nuggets of gold in the pop music basin.

Flash forward twenty or so years and we come to a time where everyone is in on the next big thing. As a matter of fact, because of the nearly instantaneous flow information we operate in on a daily basis, it is nearly impossible not to notice the great music that is out there. What this ends up breeding is show attendees that are more interested in seeing bands prove the hype pushing them to the club in the first place rather than giving into the music that's at the genesis of this whole biz we call show (subsection Pop, dig?)

I know I'm over-romanticizing a touch here and that some folks still do go ape-shit at shows but I feel the majority of that behavior is fueled by the yearning for a simpler age when music was more often discovered because of the feeling in engendered in the listener. I realize to a certain extent that still happens -- go to any Dave Matthews or KISS concert and you'll see the fans going ga-ga -- but most of these instances are driven by bands happier to scratch a surface emotion and elicit a planned reaction rather than digging deeper to unlock an honest reflexive reaction.

Of course my even bringing in the above point marks this rumination as beginning to slide, as is so often in these sorts of discussions, into a good music vs. bad music argument but I would contend that this actually bolsters my initial dismay at the lack of honest reaction akin to "losing one's shit" to a song. The constant flow of info, the constant ironic posturing, the almost scientific melding of influences and all the attendant hype we are forced to wade through before even listening to a song...all these things enforce an atmosphere where songs tend to be dissected, compared and contrasted with the pop cultural world they inhabit rather than just simply enjoying them as songs.

The end result, whether I'm being overly-cerebral or not, is that I just do not personally see people losing their shit to music like they did in the past. And that makes me sad. Most of all it makes me sad for me since I wish I could just let all filters surrounding me go and just dive head first into a simple pop song and drown in the experience.

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