Well actually, I'm not giving you any music to listen to, just some thoughts on the subject!
Updated
1/15/08
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I run a small Karaoke business on the side, that's considered my fun time. Getting paid, to attend a party, is one way to describe it. Most Karaoke Hosts are, or at least think they are, great singers. I, on the other hand, am the first to admit that I can't carry a tune in a bucket! Here and there, I'll sing(?) a tune just to prove it. I have lousy ears, and a matching voice!
I remember my mother complaining about the music I listened to in my young years. The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd to name a few. She preferred Patsy Cline, Dean Martin and the like. That "noise" I listened to had no melody, just screaming, according to her!

Now in 2007, it's my turn. The Beatles, Stones, and Skynyrd actually PLAYED instruments that made the music. Sure, they had multi-track recorders and if the drummer screwed up during a studio recording, they could go back and fix it. But at a concert, it was the real thing, what you saw was what you got! Those people had to know music theory, and be able to perform live in front of huge audiences, who paid money to see them.
In those days, each group had their own sound and style. They even were able to put amazing detail in their works with things as mundane as a bass guitar or bass drum. Often, the drummer would do a unique solo to show off a bit. And it all fit together nearly perfectly. Listen to songs such as "good vibrations" by the Beach Boys. All sorts of interesting sounds happening, mostly by hand, without computers. Ironically, in my younger days, I really was more into the music in a song, rather than the lyrics.

What I sense as a turn for worse in today's music, is computers. Instead of having talented musicians who can actually play an instrument, we have computer programmers instead! Punch up a beat on the drum machine. Stick a disc in the keyboard, and it'll become your keyboardist, lead, and bass guitar players. Sure you might have to spend some time arranging the notes properly, but hey, the keyboard will give you an error message if you make a mistake! Then when you perform "live" all you have to do is "run" your program, and it will be perfect. For most people that is. To me, it's no different than lip-synching a song, another way of saying "cheating". There IS a big difference between spending hours programming computers off-stage to make you sound good, and spending hours off-stage practicing on a guitar to make you sound good!

Much of today's rock music starts out with some beginner-level chords playing on an acoustic guitar. It might even be a real guitar. Then the drum machine kicks in, along with the vocals. I mentioned earlier that I can't sing worth a damned, but many modern artists seem to make me sound not-so-bad after all! Very few of the voices are remarkable, and even if one is, after they alter it electronically, it's not anymore. I don't mind if I don't understand the lyrics, because if I do, I probably wouldn't like the song anymore!

Thank God for the ability to download and store songs on the computer. Just like a Bic lighter, use it a while and then throw it away. Delete. Delete. Delete. Let's see how many of today's songs become "classics" 25 years from now!

Modern country music on the other hand, sounds a lot like the 70's pop music I enjoyed. I even hear remakes of some of those old songs, by country artists. Even though I wasn't a big fan of Country music in the 70's, I listen to it quite often now. I'm willing to bet that most of those people actually know how to PLAY an instrument, rather than PROGRAM it!
Speaking of music and computers, I recently set up a karaoke rig for one of my aquaintances. Although I have always used CD's for my gig, we decided to try the latest, high-tech "computer karaoke". I provided the sound system, the speakers and amps and such, and he provided the computer and software, using advice from a friend familiar with the concept.

I ran the show for them twice to work the bugs out of the system. On the first gig, I was impressed with the setup, mostly from the operation standpoint. No more digging through hundreds of CD's to find a song. Point. Click. Music! Then and there I thought "I have to get this for my own rig". Just not having to haul around 600 CD's is enough to make it worthwhile, and finding a decent karaoke CD player these days seems to be futile.

On the second gig, I made the mistake of comparing the sound from the computer, to the sound of the same CD playing through my old CD player. Oh oh, something is wrong. I concluded that the 2 songs didn't even sound like the same song. Besides for a complete lack of bass on the computer version, somewhere in the process things got removed, and other things that don't belong, got added to the music.

So I didn't rush out and buy one yet. I get lots of compliments on how good my setup sounds, and I'm not willing to trade that for the sake of convenience. The friend who helped them set up the laptop computer now suggests that perhaps a better sound card will improve it. So that's in the works, and if it brings the sound quality up to my expectations, I'll reconsider buying one for myself.

So if all your music is stored on a hard drive, although it may be convenient to play, you might not be hearing the real song! Compare it to an original format CD that was never converted to MP3, etc! (In other words, go to the store and actually BUY the CD. Most downloads have already been compressed one way or another.)

ADDED 1/15/2008:  Back to the computer karaoke. After several adjustments to the computers built-in audio, I got their system sounding acceptable. Still not "perfect" but acceptable. So I went and bought one for myself. Got mine sounding acceptable too, although I didn't yet install the fancy sound card I bought for it. Maybe that will make it "perfect" ? ( I won't hold my breath!) Of course on about the fourth time I used it, it had to crash halfway through  the the 3rd song of the night someone was singing. Took about 3 minutes to reboot, but fortunately the program was smart enough to pick up where we left off. No one thought much of it, guess it's general knowledge that Windows just decides to crash now and then, just for the hell of it. I can't wait until the 18-year-old "experts" decide to put Windows in control of the cars on the road. So what if it crashes while you're going 70 mph, and the steering and brakes won't work for 3 minutes while it reboots!




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