Music Now and Music Then

How does modern music compare to old-school tunes? 

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Elvis Presley’s music has stood the test of time, but can it compare to modern songs?

Connor Davis, Columnist

When comparing music from one generation to the next, people argue about music from the 2000’s and the 70’s to 90’s era of music. This is all fine of course, but people seem to forget about times like the golden ages of jazz, swing and rock in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s respectively. Do artists from this era compare to those writing music today? 

Now, this will be based on the results of 5 people questioned about the topic, and results may be different based on who you ask. This result just seemed to be a common answer among the interviewees. Music now has ways to make it sound better through things like autotune and advanced sound editing, allowing artists to make songs sound more modern and bouncier in terms of rock and pop. But in the early days of the genre, every song was pure skill in the case of the band and the singer. Perhaps the best example of this is the King of Rock himself, Elvis Presley. With a baritone and alto range of singing, Elvis used only his voice and had nothing else to go off of, besides his looks of course. That’s a point for old school, but let’s see about newer music techniques. The interviewees decided that older music seemed to always have some better instrumental with some flat lyrics. Sophomore Tanner Flusche said “It just kinda seems like they’re using the same rhythm over and over again, y’know?” Two others agreed with him, saying that the Ink Spots, a popular vocal group in the 30’s and 40’s, in particular, seemed to use the same bassline and tempo for nearly every song they wrote. The Ink Spots are still favorites to many, “…but their songs aren’t meant to be binged like albums today…” said sophomore Allister McLeod after hearing three Ink Spot songs with the same tone and lyrics over and over again.

With technology advancing more and more, people today are able to make music easier and cheaper than ever before. Contemporary tools allow artists to make their music sound better and better with every passing day, an advantage that older musicians did not have in their time. Point to the new kids.

Going for opinions on the music itself, I gave five people six songs to listen to: a song from from the Ink Spots, “I don’t want to set the world on fire”, and “Thunderstruck” by ACDC, as well as other artists such as Cardi B, Elvis, and Dr. DRE. Two out of the five preferred the Ink Spots, one liked ACDC, and the final 2 enjoyed Dr. DRE the most. Another point to the new kids. Back to basics with the old music, physical instruments were universally liked over electronic music, making us tied up, two to two.

The final question I asked the interviewees was what genre they preferred. I got two for jazz and one for classical, rock, and hip-hop, leaving us with a 4-1 ratio of old to new.

Where does this leave us? With three points to the classics and three to the newbies. We’re left with an even split, showing that people just don’t necessarily mind one over the other and that different people enjoy different music. With all of the different styles of music from around the globe, it is impossible to pin down the best type of music.