Friday, January 10, 2014

What was the last song that made a difference?

Let's face it, musical tastes and formats have fragmented severely in the past twenty or so years. No longer is one song hailed by the throngs and made, over time, into a milepost in musical history. Throw in the fact that we live in an increasingly disposable society and everything has a shortened shelf life.

By my best estimate, the last song to make such a cultural shift in the musical landscape was Nirvana and their breakout hit "Smells Like Teen Spirit". The band's entire image was about hopelessness and despair. The music, though, was not depressing. It was earthy and rough and birthed the entire grunge genre which thrust the alternative rock format into the mainstream and forever changed and, in turn, fragmented music as we know it.

Unfortunately, with that change and subsequent fragmentation, it brought to an end the kind of songs that a wide swath of the population will agree upon as being a sort of cultural landmark. What will the "oldies" look like in twenty years? Will people listen to the likes of Seether, Breaking Benjamin and Green Day alongside Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and P!nk? Where would bands like Grouplove, The Killers and Of Monsters and Men fit in to the mix? Will there still be some sort of all-encompassing classic rock format still alive on radio stations playing the bands in the first and last categories? Will radio's so-called classic hits format continue to add artists from subsequent decades resulting in the power players in popular music being cultural landmarks in their own respect?

What, though, happens to the lesser-know bands of today? Will they ever achieve cult favorite status and be unearthed by future generations like some radio stations have managed to do for me with the likes of The Tubes and The Raspberries?

The only reason I thought of this topic at all that I heard a kick-ass song by a band I was unfamiliar with until yesterday. Where will a band like Dinosaur Pile-Up and their song "Peninsula" fit into the musical landscape in twenty years? My ears say that they are worthy of wider recognition but that is likely a pipe dream. Give it a listen below and see what you think.

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