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 Musical Mile Marker

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PostSubject: Musical Mile Marker   Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:07 am

Quote :
Americans have decided to be stupid and shallow since 1980. Madonna is like Nero; she marks the turning point.
Joni Mitchell
April, 2010


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Doc Manhattan

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PostSubject: Re: Musical Mile Marker   Fri Apr 30, 2010 11:28 am

I'm sure that cutoff date has nothing to do with the fact its speaker didn't have a US Top 20 album since 1979... until she made the totally unshallow move of signing with Starbucks' music label. I detect some sour grapes that have taken 30 years to mature into a fine whine.

"Both Sides, Now" reached #8 on the pop charts in 1968. "Yummy Yummy Yummy" reached #4 in the same year. The Archies' "Sugar Sugar" was top of the pops and single of the year in 1969.

Maybe we are slouching towards Babylon, but don't read anything into our taste in pop music... it's always been shallow, and it's mostly been terrible.

(And for that matter, what the heck is wrong with stupid, shallow pop music, if it's good? If I'm an unrefined peasant for liking "Surfin' Safari," so be it.)
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PostSubject: Re: Musical Mile Marker   Fri Apr 30, 2010 11:40 am

If I ever get into Heaven, I fully expect the celebratory Muzak playing in the reception area will be Da Doo Ron Ron by the Crystals. Good is good.

That said, the drop-off in sheer quality from the Beatles, the Jefferson Airplane, the Doors (for that matter, the Incredible String Band) and the pop-era Stones (with Brian) (&c.) to most of what followed it was dizzying. It really was a descent into Stupid.

She's right.

(P.S. -- she never did chase the big bucks. Using that to evaluate her is . . . well, singularly inappropriate, IMHO).

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PostSubject: Re: Musical Mile Marker   Fri Apr 30, 2010 3:58 pm

I know Joni Mitchell's never been in it for the money, the same way I know she wasn't literally saying Madonna was a murderous despot emperor. The charts measure who's being listened to. (Money is, if the artist's lucky, a side-effect of that success.) I'm not ascribing greed, but it's no slander to say that Joni Mitchell wants her (excellent) music to be heard by many people--that's most of the point of making recorded music. (I can't even really hate on her signing with Starbucks/Hear for that reason--they do have excellent distribution.) But she is saying that American intelligence waned at a time when music very different from hers was waxing.

She didn't call out any of the hundreds of pop acts worse than Madonna who were one-hit wonders; she called out an iconic, successful performer whose popularity rose at the same time hers declined. Ms. Mitchell's general point is fair, even if I disagree. But she's making an implicit comparison between her and Madonna, and to me that seems petty, misleading, and a bit jealous.
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PostSubject: Re: Musical Mile Marker   Tue May 04, 2010 7:44 pm

Aside from the Tragically Hip in the 90's, I cannot think of a single recent music act whose music will endure. Wait! That was 18 years ago! This may the first sign of my impending old age!
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