I’m seeing a trend in music, and it’s a good one: bands are going back to the basics. I’ll admit, for the last ten years or so, I haven’t been too excited about any new music. But, here recently, things are changing for the better. I have a theory, see what you think.
When Grunge hit in the early Nineties, it sent a lot of the older bands reeling. In trying to stay relevant, they recorded music that simply wasn’t honest.
“Don’t Tell Me What Love Can Do” was a departure from the party-rock Van Halen was known for, Def Leppard chimed in with the downer Slang album, and even Sir Paul McCartney did “The World Tonight,” one of the darkest tracks he’s ever written. Other bands took the dance route: U2 did Pop, John Mellencamp recorded Mr. Happy Go Lucky, and even roots-rock stalwarts the Rolling Stones went electronic with Bridges to Babylon. Listening to all these records now, they’re all interesting, but most of them are failures and wouldn’t be considered in their best work.
The difference now is that veteran bands know that the current state of top 40 has no place for them, so they don’t need to try and keep up with the trends. Instead, they can make the kind of music that is their strength. The Doobie Brothers reunited with longtime producer Ted Templeman to produce World Gone Crazy, an album that feels like putting on a pair of old shoes. Foghat released Last Train Home, an excellent record entirely devoted to blues tunes, while Mellencamp went way back to the basics by recording at the famed Sun studios for No Better Than This. Many bands are going back and recording on tape instead of digital, like the new Korn CD. Krokus have recorded their best album in decades, Hoodoo, by simply returning to what got them together in the first place: AC/DC-styled rock n’ roll.
So, if you’ve been disillusioned with music over the last decade or so, I’m with you – I feel your pain. But, do yourself a favor and look around: you might find something you like.