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The new sound for 2012


oldgitplayer

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In rock & roll history there have numerous 'new' sounds breaking the old patterns.

Some examples would be :

 

Sam Phillips recording white singers covering black music. Presley, Perkins, Lee-Lewis.

Chuck Berry writing songs for a young white audience.

Lieber & Stoller, Goffin King, Phil Spector and the girl band era.

Motown.

Surf music

Beatles et al.

Psychedelia

Metal

Punk

Rap

Grunge

etc.

 

Question : If you were commissioned to write and produce a new sound to appeal to the late teen / early twenties demographic, for 2012, what would you do?

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In rock & roll history there have numerous 'new' sounds breaking the old patterns.

Some examples would be :


Sam Phillips recording white singers covering black music. Presley, Perkins, Lee-Lewis.

Chuck Berry writing songs for a young white audience.

Lieber & Stoller, Goffin King, Phil Spector and the girl band era.

Motown.

Surf music

Beatles et al.

Psychedelia

Metal

Punk

Rap

Grunge

etc.


Question : If you were commissioned to write and produce a new sound to appeal to the late teen / early twenties demographic, for 2012, what would you do?

 

 

Pass - I'd rather just do my own thing.

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In rock & roll history there have numerous 'new' sounds breaking the old patterns.

Some examples would be :


Sam Phillips recording white singers covering black music. Presley, Perkins, Lee-Lewis.

Chuck Berry writing songs for a young white audience.

Lieber & Stoller, Goffin King, Phil Spector and the girl band era.

Motown.

Surf music

Beatles et al.

Psychedelia

Metal

Punk

Rap

Grunge

etc.


Question : If you were commissioned to write and produce a new sound to appeal to the late teen / early twenties demographic, for 2012, what would you do?

Turn down the job.

 

Life is too short.

 

 

[And, no, I didn't look at the other answers. ;) But now that I have, I'm not really too surprised. I think songwriters tend to have a heightened sense of, let's say, inauthenticity, in pop music. Since anyone setting out on such a task is most likely to fail ingloriously, I suspect most of us would rather, at the least, keep our dignity.]

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Tough to say, but your list ends 20 years ago, so it is probably going to sound like something a little more recent. :poke:

 

Not revolutionary, but I see these current trends continuing into 2012:

 

Tuned drum samples

Layered drum samples

Hip-hop beats, rap verses, sung hook

Vocoded/autotuned vocals

Reverb drenched indie rock

Max Martin

Lyrics expressing a simplified/single force worldview (sex is power, money is power, etc.)

Charismatic performers (especially if they look like teenagers)

:idk:

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I'd turn down the job, not on principle, but because I can't functionally work like that.

 

With that said there are TONS of new directions in sound being explored right now, quite a few of them paradigm-shifting. It just so happens that doing my own thing musically coincides with incorporating new sounds and idioms and constantly warping my artistic vision. The craft of "Pure songwriting", to me, is very limited in scope and practice - and that is why there doesn't seem to be much advances in popular music styles. If popular songwriters would latch onto some of the advances in sound that are going on now it would probably sound like 2096* out there.

 

 

 

*This isn't hyperbole. Carlo Gesualdo's use of chromaticism was centuries before it's time.

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I gotta say... this appeals to me. I guess because I've always been intrigued with where styles come from. You can usually see the individual components of hybrids when you look back in hindsight. And everything's a hybrid. Everything.

 

So, 15 years ago I predicted a return to more orchestrated pop. It did rise a bit but never hit liked I'd hoped. Mica Paris, some Richard Ashcroft, a little bit of Robbie Williams output, even Geri Halliwell's solo thing after the Spice Girls. (did I just say Spice Girls?)

 

Really, imagine Christina Aguilera toning down the vocal gymnastics and singing in a 5th Dimension style arrangement. Or an updated and hipper Bacharach deal? Shirley Bassey only young and hot or maybe less hot but genuinely interesting, and singing fantastic songs that sound new and current yet steeped in tradition... that sounds like it belongs. Songs that connect and the listener feels the power of a great lyric again.

 

So, what would I do now?

 

I'd combine the best of the Nashville writers with a LA Wrecking Crew sensibility in the arrangement. Combine modern electronic instruments in much the same manner movie scores do where you have an orchestra but you also have the synths and elec perc. and a standard drum kit.

 

In this case you'd have trad pop orchestration with strings, horns and electronic support. Less reliant on hip hop rhythms but not unaware.

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I gotta say... this appeals to me. I guess because I've always been intrigued with where styles come from. You can usually see the individual components of hybrids when you look back in hindsight. And
everything's
a hybrid. Everything.


So, what would I do now?


I'd combine the best of the Nashville writers with a LA Wrecking Crew sensibility in the arrangement. Combine modern electronic instruments in much the same manner movie scores do where you have an orchestra but you also have the synths and elec perc. and a standard drum kit.


In this case you'd have trad pop orchestration with strings, horns and electronic support. Less reliant on hip hop rhythms but not unaware.

 

 

I'm glad the idea appeals - I don't think it would interfere with one's own musical life pursuits. It would simply be a commission.

I'd probably approach it as a collaborative process with a few twenty-something bands, developing a creative feedback loop between today's young culture and experience and experimentation. A harnessing of songwriters, performing talent, sound engineering skills and unbridled ideas.

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I'm glad the idea appeals - I don't think it would interfere with one's own musical life pursuits. It would simply be a commission.

I'd probably approach it as a collaborative process with a few twenty-something bands, developing a creative feedback loop between today's young culture and experience and experimentation. A harnessing of songwriters, performing talent, sound engineering skills and unbridled ideas.

 

 

Yeah, cool. You know, I have pretty wide open boundaries of taste. But there is a pocket of young music that does not speak to me. Hip hop. Or rather, certain sides of hip hop. I can totally get lost in an Eminem track or Dre or Snoop tune. I dig it. But a lot of the posturing is totally lost on me. Where it doesn't seem to be on a lot of youth culture. They seem to lap it up. So, as much as I hate to admit it, I can't stand what a lot of hip hop represents. As a result, the very sound of certain strains of hip hop just do me in. Who pissed in your 151, Ice Cube?

 

Just as I can't take Death Metal guys believing in their silliness. Where I absolutely love guys like Slipknot or Rob Zombie or Marilyn Manson cause they get that it's entertainment. Not a freakin' lifestyle. I cringe when I see a 15 year old suburban white kid giving me yo's and and hand signs. I'm cringing and wanting to outright laugh at him. I guess I do laugh sometimes. Even seeing Fergie from Black Eyed Peas, I think, who are you kidding. I lot of folks I guess. Not me though. One man's cool is another man's dorky I suppose. That {censored}'s dorky to me. Yo yo yo and give me a freakin' break, homey.

 

And that's the part of pop culture I don't like. If the "commission" required me to embrace that, I'd pass. Well wait... how much again?

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I'm not up-to-date on the the last 20 years of musical 'sounds', but there must have been some new ones surely?

 

 

Well, there are "trends", for instance, right now we seem to be in a dance/electronica phase, with artists like Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Jason Derulo, Taio Cruz, etc. But that really isn't new--that style in its current incarnation has been popular on and off since the 90s. Hip-hop/rap is still going strong--that genre's almost as old as me. Rock still hasn't gone away.

 

Really, popular music tends to move in cycles, and sounds get rehashed. For a few years, rock might be the thing, then hip/hop, then dance/pop, but as far as a totally new sound? I don't think that's happened since grunge/alternative (which wasn't entirely new, but it just hadn't become mainstream until Nirvana hit), and that was 20 years ago.

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Dignity, to my thinking, is not something conferred by circumstance or precedent, but, rather, something that arises from a sense of self-worth or personal fulfillment.

 

And I have toyed with the inauthentic, the contrived, and the outright crass in my many years of songwriting, so I know the disappointment and sense of waste when those efforts produced the predictable result of a hack song, short on real ideas, real emotion, or real innovation. Do such songs sometimes get turned into hits in the hands of those with the economic resources and carefully nurtured connections necessary to turn the proverbial sow's ear into a diamond encrusted silk purse? Sure. Listen to the radio.

 

But -- even if one was utterly desperate to sell out -- experience and observation tells us the path to that sell-out is both well-trod and well-guarded by the very vested interests who remain desperate -- and more than a little ruthless -- in their attempts to maintain their hold on the hitmaker machinery.

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Dignity, to my thinking, is not something conferred by circumstance or precedent, but, rather, something that arises from a sense of self-worth or personal fulfillment.


And I
have
toyed with the inauthentic, the contrived, and the outright crass in my many years of songwriting, so I know the disappointment and sense of waste when those efforts produced the predictable result of a hack song, short on real ideas, real emotion, or real innovation. Do such songs sometimes get turned into hits in the hands of those with the economic resources and carefully nurtured connections necessary to turn the proverbial sow's ear into a diamond encrusted silk purse? Sure. Listen to the radio.


But -- even if one was utterly desperate to sell out -- experience and observation tells us the path to that sell-out is both well-trod and well-guarded by the very vested interests who remain desperate -- and more than a little ruthless -- in their attempts to maintain their hold on the hitmaker machinery.

 

 

You're making the leap from, to quote oldgitplayer, "a new sound to appeal to the late teen / early twenties demographic", to, to quote you, "the inauthentic, the contrived, and the outright crass". And while there is a long line of history saying they are one and the same, there is also plenty to show that appealing to a certain pop demographic doesn't have to be inauthentic or crass. The first thing to pop into my head for I don't what reason, is Let It Be, the single.

 

Let It Be appears to be a heartfelt and religious ode to Mary. Who knew? Soon to follow was a newish sound. The gospel rock thing. Billy Preston, etc.

 

My Sweet Lord. The same. How about Jerry Jeff Walker's Mr. Bojangles... The Dirt Band got it in the top ten. That was a sweet and well written tune. I'd argue that even someone like Pink, who consistently scores in the charts, is doing it in a way that is true to her. She's no Dylan, but I believe her. She's speaking her heart.

 

So, the two are not necessarily polar opposites. It is truly a wonderful thing when you get something like Louis singing What a Wonderful World in the top 10. Even as much as I don't like Jewel, her hit You Were Meant For Me, penned by local songwriting god Steve Poltz, is a great, heartfelt tune. Anti-crass. Teh list goes on of examples of popular tunes creating a new style that is good. Pure.

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You're making the leap from, to quote oldgitplayer, "a new sound to appeal to the late teen / early twenties demographic", to, to quote you, "the inauthentic, the contrived, and the outright crass". And while there is a long line of history saying they are one and the same, there is also plenty to show that appealing to a certain pop demographic doesn't
have
to be inauthentic or crass. The first thing to pop into my head for I don't what reason, is Let It Be, the single.


Let It Be appears to be a heartfelt and religious ode to Mary. Who knew? Soon to follow was a newish sound. The gospel rock thing. Billy Preston, etc.


My Sweet Lord. The same. How about Jerry Jeff Walker's Mr. Bojangles... The Dirt Band got it in the top ten. That was a sweet and well written tune. I'd argue that even someone like Pink, who consistently scores in the charts, is doing it in a way that is true to her. She's no Dylan, but I believe her. She's speaking her heart.


So, the two are not necessarily polar opposites. It is truly a wonderful thing when you get something like Louis singing What a Wonderful World in the top 10. Even as much as I don't like Jewel, her hit You Were Meant For Me, penned by local songwriting god Steve Poltz, is a great, heartfelt tune. Anti-crass. Teh list goes on of examples of popular tunes creating a new style that is good. Pure.

I would say that there's a difference between the evolutionary emergence of the next big thing and the attempt to craft that next big thing.

 

I guess I never thought of "Let It Be" as a sincere work of religious devotion. Nor had I thought of it as a precursor to 'the gospel rock thing' -- which was already under way -- and which I always saw more as coming along with soul music, particularly Aretha, but also long-before expressed in the slick but heavily gospel-influenced 5th Dimension, and really hitting its stride with the mega-hit "Oh, Happy Day," by the Edwiin Hawkins Singers in 1968, a couple years before "Let It Be." For that matter, I think the Stones pretty well topped it all off with "You Can't Always Get What You Want" -- and that was still a year or so before "Let It Be."

 

I'd say that "Let It Be" didn't start anything. Far from creating waves -- it's more dingy bobbing in the wake of deeper drafts.

 

Of course, I'm not suggesting it didn't sell a bajillion records, just like all the Beatles records before it. Habits are hard to break.

 

________________

 

 

All that notwithstanding, I'm not sure you're getting what I was saying about the OP 'assignment' of crafting the next big thing...

 

I'm not saying that the next big thing is always contrived or inauthentic but that setting out with creating the next big thing is an endeavor which cannot escape the bounds of its own contrivance.

 

I think Malcolm McLaren's creation of the Sex Pistols is illustrative. Was it crass? Absolutely. Inauthentic? Unabashedly. Was it an exercise in cultural irony which had in its very germ the seed of its own undoing? You bet.

 

Would it have got anywhere if the cultural conditions of a sort of widespread cultural nausea were not in place and the crassness of its inauthenticity didn't strike a chord with those who felt themselves on the outside of Happy Days orthodoxy? Probably not.

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I'd say that "Let It Be" didn't start anything. Far from creating waves -- it's more dingy bobbing in the wake of deeper drafts.

 

 

You can draw the same conclusions from any of the "revolutionary" events in the OP - it's not like blues and country weren't around and widely heard before Sam Phillips started Sun Studios.

 

I think the OP is asking about "popularizing", not "innovating".

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But that gospel influence was already hugely popular and influential. It was a big influence, even in the whitebread suburbs, all through the 60s. Trust me, that's the milieu I grew up in. Even outfits like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir were getting in on the spirituals thing in the mid-60s. Believe it or not.

 

I'll give the Beatles credit for a lot of things, but "Let It Be" was, if anything, well behind the curve.

 

 

But I don't mean to go off on a tangent. Lee was trying to illustrate the point, I guess, that the next big thing is not necessarily inauthentic -- but I never held that it was, rather that the effort to contrive the next big thing is one hobbled by its own contrivance.

 

If you catch my drift.

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I think the OP is asking about "popularizing", not "innovating".

 

 

Probably both popularisation and innovation have been involved in past changes in trends.

Maybe the old tried and tested ratio of 80% familiarity / 20% originality as recommended in the songwriting manuals, also applies to shifts in major musical trends.

Although with some trends the originality is barely noticeable.

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Would an annual remuneration of $2 million be sufficient for you to reconsider?

 

 

That's difficult to answer because I think I may have misunderstood the premise of the original post. I'm a "big picture" kind of guy and was thinking overall innovation in regards to the conception and execution of sound/music more so than popular trends. I'd be here all night discussing either of those

 

From my experience Modern and Contemporary classical, free improv, EAI, concr

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To answer the original question as best I can, I'd say there's going to be further evolution of the whole Wonky movement. Possibly a hybrid of wonky beats and freak folk (one could only hope). Think Flying Lotus/Teebs + Cerberus Shoal/Big Blood. In my own little fantasy world I'd like to hear a pop song built entirely from spectral harmonies.

 

 

In the early 80's I went to a concert given by 'The Harmonic Choir' They raised the hair on the back of my neck by incrementally introducing notes into the melody until such time a new note appeared in the midst of the others. Not a note produced from an individual, but a 'harmonic' that appeared out of the combination of their voices. It's the closest I've ever heard to 'spectral harmonies'. But what's your take on spectral harmonies?

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In the early 80's I went to a concert given by 'The Harmonic Choir' They raised the hair on the back of my neck by incrementally introducing notes into the melody until such time a new note appeared in the midst of the others. Not a note produced from an individual, but a 'harmonic' that appeared out of the combination of their voices. It's the closest I've ever heard to 'spectral harmonies'. But what's your take on spectral harmonies?

 

 

The sort of Spectral Harmonies that I'm talking about are the ones pioneered most famously by Grisey and Murail. Other than hearing their application to some degree in an improvisatory setting (via Steve Lehman), it remains purely in the realm of academia. I wish that would change, but I'm not holding my breath. It's times like this that I look towards James Tenney.

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The great lasting sounds we've had in the past decade that have come to mainstream usually started in the fringe and have migrated to the main stage. These, IMHO, stem from a cultural, social change or friction.

 

Technology, even simple amplification took what would've taken a choir of several people singing, to what a single person's voice could do out to a larger audience. We could replace an entire swing band with a four piece. Then we can put it on records, or play it on radio. At the same time "race" music in North America was become mainstream, segregation was falling apart so musical cultures were intermingling. We had war, the reaction to war, new technologies, social injustice, reaction to authority, embracing of synth sounds. What's happening now? What will drive the next sound?

 

Me, I hope there's a musical resurgence back to imperfection. Music shared as a interpersonal experience from being there. A new folk revolution. It doesn't have to be "kumbayah" or puff the magic dragon. A mixing of modern, and more acoustic elements.

 

Though I believe there will have to be a reaction to something in modern society to drive this.

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Me, I hope there's a musical resurgence back to imperfection. Music shared as a interpersonal experience from being there. A new folk revolution. It doesn't have to be "kumbayah" or puff the magic dragon. A mixing of modern, and more acoustic elements.


Though I believe there will have to be a reaction to something in modern society to drive this.

 

 

You've raised a point I've been wondering about recently.

From this side of the pond it looks like life for a lot of people in the US has been going down the toilet.

I've been reading the anger in various media forms, but I'm not hearing it in song.

If I say any more it's going to get political, so I won't - but I'm sure you know what I mean.

So where is the reaction?

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. . . , But there is a pocket of young music that does not speak to me. Hip hop. Or rather, certain sides of hip hop. I can totally get lost in an Eminem track or Dre or Snoop tune. I dig it. But a lot of the posturing is totally lost on me. Where it doesn't seem to be on a lot of youth culture. They seem to lap it up. So, as much as I hate to admit it, I can't stand what a lot of hip hop represents. As a result, the very sound of certain strains of hip hop just do me in. Who pissed in your 151, Ice Cube? . . . ,

 

 

Youth music is always about attitude and style. Substance is lacking, because they don't know any better. It's a rebellious reaction against the world order, while rigidly conforming to the latest phenomena to ride the wave of mass youth culture. In the end something decent comes out of every form of expression. But very little ever rises to that level.

 

So, what are youth into these days? That's where the new expression will come from. Video games? Cell phone music? Who are the dissaffected? Maybe something Latin. Rap seems to be a black phenom. Latinos join in, but it's not their natural expression.

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To the OP: The new thing is already here and it's called........Katy Perry. Actually, Katy's origins were in Aqua (remember "Barbie Girl"?) but she's the ultimate.

 

I'm sorta joking but actually kinda serious, too. What strikes me about Katy Perry's music (and I don't know who writes her songs) is the number of hooks in each song. Just about everything in her songs is a hook. It's a little overwhelming, and the hookiness of her songs IMO explains in great part her tying of Michael Jackson's record of 5 #1 singles from one album.

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