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Is there any such thing as music that doesn't date?


Barking Spiders

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Nothing dates music more than keyboard sounds and production tricks. When you listen to music from the eighties, the reverb, the enormous drum sound and the ubiquitous DX7 are all over a huge chunk of it. That's not to say I don't like a bit of that wide screen glossiness, but it absolutely nails that music to that decade.

 

Timeless music - that's hard to find. Maybe pre-"Judas" Bob Dylan. Or The first Violent Femmes album. Or stuff that is so far removed from everything else that it exists in it's own world, like early Devo or the first Van Halen Album, maybe -  although they're not truly timeless as they couldn't have come much before their time, but they could have been from any time since, if you can follow my logic...

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1 hour ago, SumOne said:

Couldn't put a date on Brian Eno's 'music for airports'.

 

Sort of related: the first Roxy Music album still sounds like it was dropped from outer space. It's retrospective and futuristic at the same time.

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4 hours ago, WinterMute said:

Jeff Buckley's Grace is timeless

yes! 

also, sadly, because there was never really any more to make it a "sound". He's a good example, because oddly he kinda sits outside culture a bit, pops up, does his thing and then was gone far too soon. 
If you compare it to something else that was fairly original (at the time, and in the mainstream), like I dunno,  Kid A, or Screamadellica - then the culture and the music form around each other - it's not as much that the music sounds dated, it's that the culture of the time picked up resonances of the music and vice versa. 

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1 hour ago, SteveXFR said:

Thinking about it, rock music is an extremely vague description as well which covers everything from Aerosmith to Cannibal Corpse to Combichrist to Chuck Berry. 

 

Metal is NOT rock music, although they are both popular (pop) music

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The one thing I hate is the drum sound that was used on so many recordings in the 80's. There was some fantastic music ruined by over compressed and processed drums, like everything by Tina Turner, Robert Palmer etc etc.

Edited by chris_b
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Almost all music of any genre is period specific - doesn't matter if we're talking "classical", or rock, pop, jazz, or whatever. The reason is that things like instrumentation, the technology of production, as well as harmony/melody are always evolving. What William Byrd wrote in the late 1500s is very different to Bach writing in the early 1700s, is different to Beethoven in the 1800s, to Mahler in the 1900s... and equally Glenn Miller in the early 40s compared to early rock n roll only a decade later, to the glam rock of the 70s etc. The added dimension of the last 50 years is the evolution of music technology  

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I don't know but I have commented that the old folks homes soon will be filled with people who like to listen to Slipknot or Lamb of God, Seems quite strange. Most punks who were pogo'ing back in '77 will be well into their sixties now!

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10 hours ago, Dan Dare said:

No such thing as "music that doesn't date". Everything is of its time. However, that and whether or not it continues to be liked are separate issues. I like Bach, but I certainly can't and wouldn't claim his music hasn't "dated".

 

 

This! Music does date for the reason you provided. Production and recording techniques give a good idea of when a song was brought out. Its all down to whether people still listen to it and like it. 

 

Personally I like new music but I also like old music, so I am keeping some old music current.

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While as a Baby Boomer I’ve not heard of much of the music quoted in the OP’s post, so it’s not aged for me, one  much earlier song that is bang up to date is Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi.

 

How prophetic is/was that!

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As has been said before here, it all goes around in cycles. 

 

A while ago I worked with a young lad who was really into Bloc Party, a band who appeared to have their own modern sound at the time, especially to him, and don't sound too dated even now another twenty years on. 

To those unfamiliar with Bloc Party, here they are. 

 

Then I blew his mind/shattered his illusion by playing him Damaged Goods by Gang of Four. He couldn't believe it was recorded twenty-five years prior to the Bloc Party track, before he was even born. 

 

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21 minutes ago, Maude said:

As has been said before here, it all goes around in cycles. 

 

A while ago I worked with a young lad who was really into Bloc Party, a band who appeared to have their own modern sound at the time, especially to him, and don't sound too dated even now another twenty years on. 

To those unfamiliar with Bloc Party, here they are. 

 

Then I blew his mind/shattered his illusion by playing him Damaged Goods by Gang of Four. He couldn't believe it was recorded twenty-five years prior to the Bloc Party track, before he was even born. 

 

 

Have you heard the Gang of Four tribute album, The Problem of Leisure? It is absolutely superb and there's some really amazing musicians on it.

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2 hours ago, ubit said:

 

 

This! Music does date for the reason you provided. Production and recording techniques give a good idea of when a song was brought out. Its all down to whether people still listen to it and like it. 

 

Personally I like new music but I also like old music, so I am keeping some old music current.

This. For example I bought some remastered CDs by John Martyn in the late’80s. Thanks to the remastered techniques they have aged far worse than the original works which still sound fresh. I also mentioned Prince earlier. Purple Rain has so many great tracks on it but IMO the awful 80’s production does it no favours.

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1 hour ago, Maude said:

Then I blew his mind/shattered his illusion by playing him Damaged Goods by Gang of Four. He couldn't believe it was recorded twenty-five years prior to the Bloc Party track, before he was even born. 

similarly I remember an older friend listening to the strokes and lending me his Television record

 

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I think those who said it's the technology is what dates music are right. This is probably more of an 80s issue, especially viz monophonic synths and the Fairlight though more than anything it's that bluddy gated drum sound which is the worst offender. There's also a certain keyboard sound, that you hear on on tracks like Europe's Final Countdown, which was universal. 

 

Also it tends to be music associated to certain genres and scenes that dates most be it New Romantic, post-grunge, Nu metal etc. Planet Rock play a lot of stuff by contemporary bands which sounds like it could have been on MTV back in the day. To my ears this dated sound is mainly due to the drum styles and tone, the 80s style widdling - Eddie van Halen has so much to answer for - and the angsty post grunge/nu metal vocal style.

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"Is there any such thing as music that doesn't date?"

 

No. To believe otherwise is delusional.

 

Everything about a piece of music will date it from the chord sequences to the song structure, the lyrical (if there are any) subject matter, the arrangement and instrumentation. And that's before you consider the recording and production.

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9 hours ago, zbd1960 said:

Almost all music of any genre is period specific - doesn't matter if we're talking "classical", or rock, pop, jazz, or whatever. The reason is that things like instrumentation, the technology of production, as well as harmony/melody are always evolving. What William Byrd wrote in the late 1500s is very different to Bach writing in the early 1700s, is different to Beethoven in the 1800s, to Mahler in the 1900s... and equally Glenn Miller in the early 40s compared to early rock n roll only a decade later, to the glam rock of the 70s etc. The added dimension of the last 50 years is the evolution of music technology  

 

Yeah, but, and IMHO:
Through the centuries, music developed as one gained new, sometimes deeper, insights into what could constitute a composition. (In this it's funny Bach was considered conservative based on style whilst the listener didn't really appreciate the enormous developments he crafted.)

Today's popular music, for the most part, I repeat: for the most part, is a confirmation of old findings and a repetition of what we've heard before. Yes, I'm aware inventive pop music does exist, but the core remains: if it is to be popular, it will have to confirm preconceived notions.
In this, much of today's popular music essentially is not too different from medieval street songs or 19th century "Lieder". What sets most pop music apart, and which dates it, is sound.

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