Saturday, April 30, 2011

Kickin' it Old School

John Marine | 4/30/2011 03:27:00 AM | | | |
Ever listen to old songs often times? There's nothing wrong with enjoying some of today's music, but many people often prefer listening to old songs and old artists. Some people can't even stand most of today's music that they always fall back on older songs. I began to think about this a little bit as I burned some songs to my MP3 player. I thought about this for a bit when I was ripping music to my MP3 player. I was listening to "Red Light Special" by TLC (T-Boz, Left Eye, and Chili), a rhythm and blues group I normally don't like all that much, in preparing this blog post. "Red Light Special" is perhaps my all-time favorite song from TLC besides "Baby Baby Baby" from 1992. In today's circles, people would look at me funny if I said that I was listening to songs not from this timeframe. Either that, or someone would say, "that song is SO old." Almost as if I am severely not with current times just because I like certain past songs or listen to past songs than some of today's hits.

Is it okay to be more fond of older songs than be into today's music? Do you feel irked when someone prefers listening to old songs more than today's hits? Does it speak volumes when someone loves certain older songs than today's hit songs? Does the value of older songs mean more to music listeners than most of today's songs? I'll try to address these topics and more in this blog post. This post is more intended to be more of a quick digest-type post than something seriously detailed. However, I may edit it to be more detailed in future edits.

--- Kickin' it Old School: Why? ---
Fact is... not everyone listens to or prefers listening to today's music. A lot of people feel that today's music is more noise than actual music. Older songs even have certain levels of character devoid in most of today's music.

Take Houston radio, for example in terms of old songs. I don't usually listen to KBXX 97.9 The Box here in Houston (a hip-hop and Rhythm and Blues station here in Houston), but they usually have Way Back Wednesday during the late morning or early afternoon hours. This station plays a lot of old hip-hop and rhythm and blues songs as part of a mix. The Choice 90.9 KTSU usually plays traditional jazz music among a number of song types. However on Fridays and Saturdays, they usually play a variety of old rhythm and blues songs as well as blues.

There is obviously interest in listening to old songs. For many people, hearing an old song brings back memories or takes people back to different eras in music. Some songs just remain classic to most people even if they are old to very old. I swear some people talk like I shouldn't even be listening to old songs. And for the record, I like almost any kind of music as long as it's something I actually like. My preferred genre of music is often times electronica and electronic dance music. Even with that genre, I have my favorites.

--- Kickin' it Old School: My Own Thoughts ---
When you listen to older songs, you get to experience the past through music. I tend to like a good bit of melodic music. A lot of rhythm and blues songs from the 1990s (back when the genre was still fairly relevant) have good melodies and some great singing. Those of you who know rhythm and blues and hip-hop genres in the '90s may remember some of the past names. You know... Boyz II Men, Toni Braxton, TLC, SWV, En Vogue, Blackstreet, Keith Sweat, Babyface, Bobby Brown, Whitney Houston... need I go further?

I think we are a people who value today's music, but still have ears for the past. Many of today's talent wouldn't be possible without the support and inspiration of past artists and groups. Like sports, music is about reinventing and evolving. People love music. People want to push music to the next level. Only so few can be driving forces that push music to the next level, then go a few levels upwards. But before anyone can push music to the next level, past talent has to set standards to be bettered by future artists and groups. Take inspiration from the past, take account of today's talent, add your own musical twist, and try to put everything together to where your material becomes distinctive. That is one such way to become the next best music star or group.

I think people who truly enjoy music are the ones who can appreciate the past and present. Some people just listen to music; some others appreciate music and can equally enjoy a past song as much as, if not more, than any current songs. Doesn't matter if a song is only a few years old or decades old- some songs just remain enjoyable for ages to come.

--- Kickin' it Old School: "That's So Old!" ---
People get looked at and talked about funny for liking older songs than current ones. Same goes for those who are into past trends rather than current times. I honestly don't care if something is old. I was never a person about keeping in tune with current times anyhow. I've been late to the Twitter party, and I don't consider myself any kind of mobile device person. When was the last time I admit to being a fan of texting and having a cool smartphone?

The blog post mostly concerns listening to old songs, but there are just people out there more into past material and are not really much into current things- including music. There are people who'd rather listen to Madonna than Lady Gaga. There are those who'd rather listen to Red Hot Chili Peppers than My Chemical Romance. Some would rather listen to Ice Cube than Lil' Wayne. There are even people who'd rather listen to The Beatles than the Jonas Brothers. You don't have to enjoy older songs, but it helps to enhance your musical knowledge by going back in time.

Pop and Rhythm and Blues.

I find myself thinking more about '90s pop as a child of the '90s. I personally get sick of the '80s fandom. I just connect better with the '90s than I do with the '80s (speaking as someone born in 1983). There are few pop songs that really resonate with me than most of today's music. Boyz II Men and Toni Braxton delivered excellent songs in the R and B realm. And with love songs? One of my all-time favorite love songs is "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You" from Michael Bolton. I know there are people who would cringe knowing that I like a Michael Bolton song, but the song is just so powerful while also being a singing masterpiece. I also sort of missed the group aspect of '90s pop. These days, it's more about individual gain rather than a group coming together to make one great song. You can stand out even if in a group. Backstreet Boys did it. 'N Sync did it. Oh- that's ANOTHER aspect of this genre. Today's "boy band" is the Jonas Brothers. Well, them and rivals Big Time Rush. Other than these, I've remembered some of the many love songs from "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City" that I liked. A number of them to name, so I'll just leave it as that. Today's pop is MUCH different from the pop I've liked from the '90s.

Electronica and Electronic Dance Music.

When I did my blog post on "Cream Trance Anthems: Ibiza 2009," I noted the second of the three CDs to be my favorite and most-listened to because of the past songs in the genre. The second CD is mostly a collection of classic trance songs. It doesn't mean that today's trance is "blah," but more that many of these songs are classics for a reason. These are also mostly modern mixes of past trance songs. Still, everything is of great quality. I am not afraid to say that I still listen to Robert Miles' Dreamland CD and its songs. Two of the best songs I've ever heard in the genre are very long and from the same duo- Underworld ("Born Slippy" and "Pearl's Girl"). "Firestarter" from The Prodigy remains one of my all-time favorite songs in the genre. The singing of Amber remains strong with her '90s hits like "This Is Your Night" than most pop dance songs of today. I just resonate more with the '90s more than with 2000s or 2010 electronica.


What about hip-hop? Same thing. Many feel hip-hop is more about bling and killing people. In its past, most of hip-hop was about having fun. Maybe there were some hip-hop songs and artists/groups that dared push the issue of violence and raunchy sex, but a lot of past songs didn't go to serious extremes as most of today's hip-hop. Also, some past songs just remain great to listen to compared to hip-hop in today's genre. "Jump" by House of Pain is a classic. Still is.


Most of you know I am not much into rock music. However, I do have a fondness for old rock. I remember when me and my brother listened to "Black Hole Sun" from Soundgarden. Groups like Nirvana and Tool were favorites of mine as well. Just another example of my '90s child ways. I remembered playing "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City" and liked "God Blessed Radio" from Alcatrazz. If I had a favorite classic rock group, I guess you can say that I dig Van Halen. Hearing "Panama" in Gran Turismo 4 is always great. Otherwise, I am no professional or authority in rock music. I'm trying, though.

Showing some love for past songs in addition to today's music shows your appreciation for music as a whole. The reasons why people listen to and prefer listening more to old songs vary. The main point is that there are other songs worth listening to even if they are old. You shouldn't look at someone funny or poke fun just because their taste in music is stuck in the past as opposed to liking today's music. It just mean their tastes in music are different. So don't hate... appreciate! :)

How do you feel about having fondness for older music as opposed to always being fond of current songs? Do you feel funny when you or someone you know prefers listening to classic songs more than current ones? Feel free to comment! I need you to get more involved with my blog posts! Feel free to express yourself in my blog posts if you enjoyed my material. So go ahead and comment if you enjoyed your read and want to contribute to my discussions and posts.

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