When America was ‘great,’ according to data (The Washington Post)

A frequent topic of discussion for me is how I’m still passionate about the discovery of new music even at the age of 61. Within my music geek circles most agree. Outside of that, many disagree. Not just disagree but disagree vehemently, insisting that all current music is shit and that the only music worthy of note exists in the past. This new article from The Washington Post (link below) proves otherwise, that perception is altered by nostalgia and not just when it comes to music.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2024/05/24/when-america-was-great-according-data/

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The chart in the link, the best music peaked in the 70’s & 80’s The worst music peaked 2020s. And - “Folks born in the 1980s are most likely to say the best music came in the 1990s
I believe there is good music to be found in every decade including the present.

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I agree but the graph, as well as the article (which requires a subscription to read) prove that those conclusions are the result of nostalgia coloring one’s perception. In my own words, what is “good” is in the ears of the beholder. Even then, I steer away from those sort of descriptors as well as “better,” “best,” “greatest,” etc. I’m speaking about the music that personally appeals to me. I’ve posted articles that speak about why some people develop an aversion to new music as well as new experiences in general. I get that and the reasons why but that has not been my experience. I’m interested both angles but most of the articles I’ve read center around topics such as “why old people hate new music.” I’m far more interested in articles that help explain why some of us have never stopped loving new music. I believe it’s a form of arrested development when someone stops wanting to have new experiences of any kind, not just music. I posted this article recently, which talks about how listening to new music is beneficial to our health. From my experience, the folks that have convinced themselves that there’s no longer any new music of note and that there’s never going to be, aren’t interested in these sort of articles. They refuse to leave their comfort zones where everything is familiar. I find that sad, mostly because of how much music they’re missing out on as well as other experiences.

I didn’t need a subscription to read the article, and I saw adds from local retailers so I guess that took care of it, however that works.

There is a lot more information now than there was a few decades ago. I guess it’s like going into a massive shopping mall and can’t find anything you like.

I’m not always sure how it works, maybe something to do with the browser I was using. I was able to read it for free from my phone. From my laptop, I was prompted to subscribe. I’m not opposed to subscribing, I want to support the publications but I’m simply not in a place at present where I can subscribe to all of the publications I’d like to read.

In many cases, not all, those stuck in the past will dismiss this sort of information based on who it’s from. In this case, they might refuse to read it because they consider The Washington Post to be part of the “vast Left Wing conspiracy.” Same for NPR and any number of other source. There’s also the case where all they’re exposing themselves to (if they’re exposing themselves to anything at all) is what’s most popular in the mainstream. Based on that alone, they will dismiss ALL current music as not being worth their time or effort. Their loss.

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I remember a Michael Stipe interview once where he said he despised nostalgia. That may be what made him/R.E.M. so great. Always looking forward.

Nevertheless, nostalgia is an extremely powerful emotion, and one that only grows stronger with age. At least for me. You get older, loved ones start to die, your body doesn’t work the way it used to… It’s easy to see why people eulogise the “good old days”. Oh, to be young again…

Music is also incredibly evocative. I can listen to a song and it will transport me to a time and a place. Often, that time, and that place, is comforting. Welcoming. Loving. Beautiful. Familiar. And much missed.

So, I totally get that graph. I understand it. And in some ways I definitely think things were much better when I was 20. My parents were still alive. Social media hadn’t yet created all the ills that it eventually would. Donald Trump was a punchline in Sex and the City. Brexit was the purview of weirdo extremists who no-one paid any attention to. Etc.

But one generally only remembers the good bits. There was a lot of shit in the 90s too. Nostalgia ignores that.

When it comes to music, I still enjoy discovering new things and I think there is definitely at least as much good stuff out there today as there was in my youth. The difference is, very little of it is in the mainstream. I don’t know if that’s because of my tastes, or because we consume music differently now, or something else.

But I would certainly never describe music today as being worse than “the good old days”. The day that I do, I hope someone hits me in the face…

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I’m hesitant to bring this up, because I was a long time member of original murmurs, and remember the rows and bust ups that happened in the News and Current Events forum. I know several mods who burned out pretty quick. It often ended with Ethan investigating and often banning the spammer if that’s what they were doing.
So this might be controversial. I’ll say in advance, I’m not looking to start arguments or discord. I’m an American who’s lived in the U.K. longer than in the States, and this topic is driving me crazy…because I don’t understand.

OK.

So the other night my tv show was interrupted by a breaking news flash, that Donald Trump had been found guilty of a felony by a unanimous jury, but this would not stop him running for President this year.
WHAT???
I understand this is the first time this has happened. What the fuck? A convicted felon is able to be elected President? Huh?
I’m not getting personal about Trump. It would take too long and might cause dissent here.
But when the founding fathers of the US constitution drew up the rules governing elections, did they not consider the likelihood of a convicted felon running for the highest position in the land and possibly winning?
When did this fuck up happen and why wasn’t a clause amended to prevent it? Does it go back to the original Constitution, and just ignored after? Is it considered acceptable for the president to be a convicted felon as long as they get the votes?
What does this say about how America is viewed by the rest of the world? I’m seeing all this at a remove. Current politicians in the U.K. are a clown car full of idiots, and the upcoming election may be
the the first one I’ll deliberately boycott, because they all suck. Maybe I’ll vote Green. They haven’t a hope of winning, but at least they jive with my principles.
Now I have to search U.K. electoral rules and find out if criminal convictions are taken into account when electing candidates.
What do you guys think? I’m not knowledgeable about politics in any country, but it seems to me too much of an oversight to not even be addressed in elections. Over to you.

ETA - I know Trump is appealing his conviction. Of course he is. But still??? WTF?

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This is exactly where I’m at! Always been a Labour voter, but the current version of Labour is basically the Tories from 10 years ago. The current version of the Tories is basically the BNP. Talk about the worst of both worlds.

As always, I blame social media…

As for Trump. Fuck me, America… It’s like having a bad takeaway, getting food poisoning, the place getting shut down for egregious food safety breaches, then insisting on having the head chef cater your wedding. Only it’s much more serious than a bad belly for 200 people. What the fuck are you guys on?!

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I’ve never been to the U.S, I hear & see what’s reported in the news. I also know America through music, movies etc., America has created some great ones.
I don’t know what else to say. Crazy crazy world, crazy crazy times…

It’s not that I don’t love America. I do. I had a great childhood there, good public education, all of that. It’s such a beautiful country too. I was raised to be a proud American, and I was. I didn’t emigrate because I hated the US. My husband’s British and when the bank he worked for wanted him back in London there wasn’t any choice about it.
But since I’ve lived in London, I’ve seen so much go terribly wrong. When Trump got elected I couldn’t believe it. The gun laws terrify me.People- KIDS - blowing each other away at school. The dumbing down of the media. Don’t get me wrong, things are getting worse everywhere. The wars. The horrendous Palestine situation.Russia and Ukraine. I don’t watch the news anymore. It just leaves me feeling helpless and depressed. America needs a strong leader now, more than ever, and in the upcoming election we have the choice of a doddery old man who looks half out of it all the time and Trump, who is now a convicted criminal and as insane as Putin, IMO. The entire world needs major change. America was the standard of a country that was civilized. I want Obama back. That was the standard of an educated, well spoken intelligent President who connected with the people (apart from bigots). Now we have this upcoming election and I’m frankly scared to death at what US politics has come to. It doesn’t only affect Americans, it leaves a breach of leadership in the world gone mad. How can a convicted criminal potentially be left in charge of running the country I love? And I do love it. This just scares the shit out of me.
It’s all gone so horribly wrong. This is more emotional than I wanted to get, but it’s all too much.

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I know you do Etty. Why is this, I know more politically driven songs from the 60’s, 80’s and early 2000’s than I do anything recent. Is it because I haven’t discovered or heard any yet?, or is it because people aren’t writing them. I hope it’s the former.

I know there are more but off the top of my head, Drive-By Truckers released three politically charged albums during the Trump administration (American Band, The Unraveling, and The New OK). They’ve never shied away from politics in their music or in interviews but those albums were overtly political. More recently, there’s been Old-Time Folks by Lee Bains and the Glory Fires. Lee Bains is lesser known but it isn’t like any of these albums (or others) happened in a bubble. American Band turned out to be the Truckers most successful and popular album to date and received lots of press. This article is 4 years old now but there may be similar ones out there.

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Thanks Jonathon good to know. :+1:

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