Friday, October 2, 2009

I need to update my musical tastes

It has been brought to my attention that my musical tastes are woefully out of date, much like someone who's worn the same hairstyle for decades.

Like many people my age, I got into They Might Be Giants in the early 1990's. I stayed with them through the addition of a regular live band (which actually produced some great albums), and even some of their forays into children's music. Now they're coming to Dallas at the end of the month, but it's a kids show. I posted this dilemma on my Facebook page, and a friend pointed out that this seemed to be the new direction for the band, and that they do the theme song for Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (not having children, I didn't know there was such a thing). While I appreciate what they're doing from an educational perspective, I must admit the music isn't doing anything for me.

It seems like all the other artists I followed in high school and college have either stopped making albums, or at least stopped making good ones. For instance, I'm glad that Elvis Costello seems to have found domestic bliss and whatnot with Diana Krall, but I preferred his music before he got so respectable. In the interest of fairness, I'll say Ms. Krall has produced some worthwhile stuff during this time. I actually don't blame her for his decline or anything; I'd pinpoint that on when he decided that he and Burt Bacharach needed to do a full album together. If you can listen to the middle third of that album and not imagine yourself in an elevator, you're a better person than I am.

So it's time for me to find someone to get into who's releasing awesome albums now. Is the new Mika any good? The consensus seems to be that it's decent but maybe a tad overproduced. But I've only listened to previews and not the whole album. Also, I want to emphasize the "now" part of the first sentence of this paragraph. I don't want to hear about great 30-year-old albums, even if I haven't heard them before. If you have any recommendations, leave them in the comments.


  1. Er, what kind of music do you like? Oh, and what about great old albums made by artists that are making stuff in the current day?

  2. Excellent questions! I'll answer them in reverse order, since the second question is easier for me. If they're making good stuff now, sure. U2 would be a good example of this if their new stuff didn't leave me cold.

    The first question is more difficult. It helps if he/she/they are either doing something nobody else is doing, or doing something better than everybody else. I would include Talking Heads in the first category and The Beatles in the second (sure, they made forays into the first, but I consider those less successful). Hope this helps!

  3. Hmm, that helps a bit I suppose.
    Bad Religion: They are punk rock, but from my forays in punk they have one thing (well two actually) different from everything else I've listened to. The singer/band in general actually sounds pretty good, and the lyrics are usually really witty and intelligent in a way I would not expect from a punk rock band. Being a skeptic, I would recommend looking up the song American Jesus.

    Nightwish: they are a Finnish symphonic power metal band. They mix metal. . . with violins and some almost opera(among other things). They are relatively new to the stage of music (they were referred to me by a friend I met at college orientation this past summer).

    The Black Mages: they take music that the head of the band (Nobuo Uematsu) had written for various Final Fantasy games and add rock elements to them. I would say this goes under the unique category. No you don't have to be a Final Fantasy player to appreciate them (I'm not) but you would lose out on the added nostalgia value.

    Let me know what you think of those (I can provide youtube links if necessary). Those were the most unique things I could think of, a lot of the other things I listen to are either older bands or things that seem outside your tastes, but who knows :)

  4. Oh yeah I forgot to add, the singer/songwriter for Bad Religion has a Ph.D. and teaches at UCLA I believe it is.

  5. Thanks for the suggestions! I'll check these groups out.