“For those about to rock I salute you”

“Heeelllllooo Donnington” screams Rob Halford the lead vocalist of British rock/metal band judas priest who were one of the headliners at the inaugural 1980 Monsters of Rock Festival. Judas priest performed alongside rock giants such as Scorpions, Rainbow and Saxon but this was just the start.

The next 15 years saw headliners including ACDC, Van Halen, Ozzy Osborne, Slayer and Metallica. The festival and many others like it attracted thousands of people from all over the world and helped build British rock as a popular and unique sub-genre years after our favourite brummies’ (Black Sabbath) created heavy metal. So, what went wrong with music, what happened to the individuality and creativity. Crucially why does it now all sound the same?  

Now compare 3 guitarists thoroughly “rockin out” as part of Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Rolling Stones live set at Knebworth Park in 1976 playing together as an epic finale. Freebird, the former bands rock anthem being performed in front of a huge and ecstatic mass of screaming humans.

Now picture that unparalleled image of awesomeness and compare it to a bloke who strums his solo guitar, fluently and skilfully yes, but quietly and alone and in the meantime, we should recognise that music has fallen headfirst of a cliff in terms of quality and genuine following, it thoroughly shocks me that a lone instrumentalist can sell out a stadium scale gig.

Now I may just be acting like some broken 80s era record or drunk fella at the pub who amid varied drunken outbursts hearkens back to a “golden age” of musical enlightenment, but the facts are clear there is no comparison between apples and oranges or Ed Sheeran and ACDC, they are not at the same level. One was spearheading radical thinking and expressing through music the voices of the downtrodden and urging them to rise up, while the other is talking about castles on hills and breaking his leg at the age of 11.

I’m not saying that new music shouldn’t be encouraged and that we should milk the old hands of rock until only dust comes out of dry plectrums. But equally screaming isn’t music and nor is it creative to remix someone else’s song. Take Snoop Dogg’s interesting copy of the classic “The doors” song “riders on the storm.” Now in all fairness I myself am not a massive fan of his anyway. But back to his version, essentially for those who are blessed enough not to have heard it he plays the entire regular song and then adds on his own rap over the top of the chorus. Now I’m not to judge, ok that’s a blatant lie but surely (its not just snoop dog doing this and he legally has every right to) there is very little talent in this and although it may bring new fans and interest to the original artist similarly to a cover. I believe it does very little for the original artist and is just another sign that any decent original music is a long way off.

Is it just me or does most modern music sound the same? Whether its synthesised pop or auto tuned garbage-that’s not a genre just a statement. I honestly don’t believe I could tell the difference between any 3 Harry Styles songs for example. If you don’t believe me that music is becoming less varied and less creative, why don’t we ask someone who actually knows what they’re on about. Such as members of the Spanish National Research Council that concluded that “modern music seems to be getting worse every year” they didn’t just openly voice their opinions like me they actually did some scientific research more specifically, the researchers took 500,000 recordings of all genres of music between 1955 – 2010. They then ran every single song through a complex set of algorithms. So, it’s not just me that thinks this. #Makemusicgreatagain-without Trump.

Old music was proper music, not overblown but loud and creative and to quote ACDCs original frontman Bonn Scott “Music is meant to be played as loudly as possible, really raw and punchy, and I'll punch out anyone who doesn't like it the way I do” and on that calm and un-threatening final bombshell, goodnight.