Recently, I have felt something in the air around me. I’ve noticed it on television, on the news, on social media, and in the conversations I have either heard or had with a friend or colleague. There is this overwhelming, yet hidden need for something that is real, tangible, and physical. People are tired of the convenience of simply, daily activities. They want to go somewhere, do something, have a hands on experience. They want something that is real, stripped down, and simple. What has fascinated me is that my generation are the ones who feel the most strongly about this. You would think that my parents generation or ones before them would feel this way but it is the opposite. I have noticed this with books, entertainment, and household things such as coffee. People my generation love coffee and different ways of making coffee. There are coffee shops everywhere now. They could never tell you what a Mr Coffee is. I have been through this same dilemma for quite a while now too. I love finding ways to be more involved in my daily activities. Getting a coffee press, buying physical books, even something small like using cash instead of a credit card. One of the biggest areas in which I see this need in myself and others is with music.
Today there are so many ways to get music and listen to music without breaking a sweat. You can buy music from iTunes, you can burn it from a CD, you can stream millions of songs from one location such as Spotify, Apple Music or Tidal. Even the iPod has become too inconvenient in our culture. We now have one device that can play music, take pictures, display books, and get you connected to the internet all while you can text and make phone calls. Music is too easy to access now and we are no longer listening to albums, we are listening to songs. They are more convenient. We do not have the patience anymore to sit through 10-12 songs. We have lost what I believe to be the essence of music and I believe other people have noticed this too, surprisingly in my generation.
My generation are the ones who have totally given a re-birth to physical music. Vinyl record sales are through the roof. It is a physical and tangible way to enjoy music. It makes you work for it. It has images and pictures to go with the music. There is a visual aspect to the music. Album covers (which is something lost in music today). You have to physically get up from your seat, grab a record, take it out, place it on the turntable and put the needle down and THEN, in order to get to more songs on the album, you have to get up from your seat again and change the side. Can you imagine anyone, with today’s convenience driven culture in mind, who would take the time to do this when you could simply press the play button. This is a revolt in music. It is a revolt against how music is too convenient and too easy. And get this!….You actually have to go to a store…A physical store!…..to get this record and god forbid talk to someone about the music in the store. It’s not just regular people who are in this music revolution, it is also the musicians.
Even though Led Zeppelin will forever be my lifelong anchor in music, my two recent anchors in music is the band Rival Sons and singer Charles Bradley. Rival Sons is a band with a sound that takes you back but reminds you of the current time as well. Some of the best heavy riffs you have ever heard with a rhythm and percussion section with so much groove. Their singer, Jay Buchanan, has this voice that has the emotion and chills like Robert Plant in his prime but with a slight raspiness and blues as Janis Joplin. They are a great example of stripped down, bad ass music is to me. Next, Charles Bradley……I mean, c’mon….the man is the second coming of James Brown. Literally. If you want something funky, simple, stripped down, and REAL, this is the guy to listen to. Need I say more…see for yourself: Ain’t It a Sin
Artists and bands are consistently releasing albums on vinyl because they know just like we do, an iTunes release is boring. They understand that people was something to hold in their hands as they listen to the music. There is a new fad in the music business for reissues and remasters of old records. Led Zeppelin has and still is re-releases their classic albums with bonus and unreleased music. Pink Floyd and Rush has also decided to reissue their entire catalogs. More and more bands are beginning to do this for the same reason. They are seeing a resurgence and need for something real and tangible. They are revolting against the norm.
Bands are also going back to their roots with the music they are making. Even popular bands such as Blink 182, who just came out with an album, are going back to their old sound. Their new album, California, has this great youthful attitude about it and sounds just like the music I was listening to in middle school. Just today, I heard a release of a new Green Day song, it sounds like it could have been on their first album ever when they were still an underground punk band. Record Store Day is bigger than ever. Black Sabbath is on tour, BLACK SABBATH and, take a listen to the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack, you will know what I am talking about. The list goes on….
I have had my own sort of music revelation. It started around Fall, Winter of last year. I started having this urge for classic music. I have started to buy cheap used CDs of albums released back in the 60s and 70s. The HBO show VINYL came out which was one of my favorite shows but it will only last one season and for a reason that has to do with what I am trying to say here, young people did not get any of the references or music. My mind has been searching for tangible, real, stripped down music. That is why I love Charles Bradley and the Rival Sons. They are two great examples of my need for music that is real. It is an inner and silent revolt. A revolt against “easy” and “fast.” A revolt against cookie cutter. A revolt against the convenience of technology. Music is art, it is heart, emotion and compassion. It is itself a revolt against what is the current norm.
Yes, I love my new Keurig coffee machine, but you know what is sitting right next to it on my kitchen counter, my coffee press.
Photo by: http://thevinylfactory.com/features/charlie-brown-record-collecting-peanuts-vinyl-comic-strips/