Saturday, August 28, 2004

I Can't Get No (Music Satisfaction in the USA)

I noticed something today as I was driving around and running errands. A lot of the music I find myself listening to is no longer from the USA. At first I figured I just had a thing for Brit-Rock (Beatles, The Who, Oasis, and so on). Then I realized I had more Euro music on the iPod than I first thought.

I was listening to Franz Ferdinand steadily for two weeks, and I’ve been digging on Zero 7 for some time now. I downloaded a few of the free iTunes offers, and found the ones that I liked best were a French band (Phoenix) and a Swedish band (The Rasmus). I pride myself in my diverse choices in music, and The Streets (a British rapper) has caught my attention too. The only bright spot in my current playlist that belongs to a US group is The Roots. I bought the album Phrenology (by The Roots) when Peer (Karmaus) recommended them to me. Thanks Peer, that was a good recommendation (even if he said Phrenology was not his favorite).

Why is this though? I think the US music industry is stagnant. Boy bands and the celebration of pop stars has turned me off to the radio (with the exception of my beloved WDBM, the college station here at Michigan State). Mostly I listen to NPR when I listen to the radio now. I used to watch MTV every day. Now I avoid it like the plague (and reality television, ECK!). The only bright spot I see right now is in what I think of as Neo-Classic Rock (now that’s an oxymoron), bands like Jet (who put out the rocking album Get Born), The Strokes, and The Vines. Jeff Buckley’s been a great discovery for me, unfortunately he’s dead, the same sad situation I experienced when I was introduced to Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Having written this, I question now if the US truly isn’t putting out good music like Europe. Maybe I just need to dig a little more. There are probably a few jems here domestically (Jason Mraz or Ben Kweller anyone?), but in the mean time I’m off to go listen to some Royskopp.

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