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January talking meme, Jan 11. From ann1962: What band that you enjoyed in your youth has held up the best today, to you, and doesn't sound dated?

Okay, first off, this question assumes I know what contemporary music sounds like, compared to which earlier music would sound dated. I SO don't. I don't have cable TV or listen to the radio, and most musak in stores is oldies--have you ever noticed?

What contemporary music I have heard doesn't sound all that different to me than stuff I listened to back in the '80's. In fact, I've been surprised by how *not* different it is. If someone is doing ground-breaking new sounds out there, I am not aware of who that is.

That said, there is clearly a "sound" to some music genres in particular decades that us unique to that decade. '50's rock sounds very different from 60's rock, which sounds mildly different from 70's rock. Contemporary Hip Hop has clear roots in 80's Rap, but a different sound at the same time. "My music" was late 70's-early '80's Punk and New Wave, and a LOT of that sounds dated now. Especially the peppy, shallow stuff and anything that used a lot of synthesizers.

Favorite bands:

Queen: hardly sound dated at all, but that's either because their music was purposefully vintage even for the time (e.g., Bohemian Rhapsody), or has become so ubiquitous it can't get dated (e.g., We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions).

Depeche Mode: Early DP *does* sound dated, but see above re: peppy, shallow stuff. Later (late '80's) Depeche Mode doesn't, to my ear.

Ultravox: Okay, yeah, big synthesizer band. But you know, stuff you listened to, like, a MILLION times is so familiar, it's hard to judge.

Roxy Music: Not so much, but they did a lot of deliberately vintage sounds.

Echo and the Bunnymen: They don't to me, but my ear, not the best judge. These guys might fall into the "Extended life via the Goth movement" category.

Elton John: KindOfYeah. But some bands/musicians are so closely equated with a particular decade, they're going to sound dated whether they are or they're not.

Japan: These psuedo-punkers were not mainstream enough to have a trendy sound, and also did a lot of deliberately vintage work. But some songs do sound punky-dated.

New Order: Dance music always sounds dated after ten or fifteen years. It's a thing.

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Early OMD falls in the same category as early Depeche Mode. Too trendy for its own good. Later OMD less so, but still.

Peter Gabriel: Most early PG has become classics, too ubiquitous to sound dated (to me). His later pop stuff sounds more dated. Word to the wise: being trendy means being forgotten in five years.

Siouxsie and the Banshees: God, I just can't tell. Maybe?

The Smiths: See above re: too closely associated with their era to ever sound anything *but* dated.

Music I associate with the era and so inevitably sounds dated: Devo, Oingo Boingo, Tears for Fears, U2, X, Yaz, Visage, Thomas Dolby, Spandau Ballet, PIL, Eurhythmics, The Cure, The Clash, Adam and the Ants

Other artists who have continued to be played and so don't sound as dated: Joan Jett, Sisters of Mercy (saved by the Goth movement!)



( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 11th, 2014 10:11 pm (UTC)
Which Japan do you think sounds the most dated? (In my opinion, Adolescent Sex, for sure. I think Obscure Alternatives manages to sound dated, but still as if it came out at least 5-10 years after it was actually released.)

We have a LOT of musical overlap it seems.
Jan. 12th, 2014 02:11 pm (UTC)
Wow, I've met exactly one Japan fan in my whole life who isn't me, and that was my best friend in high school. I honestly don't know when any Japan singles came out, because they didn't even play them on my alternative station in L.A. They were too "obscure."

Adolescent Sex sounds dated I think because at the time it came out it was a little subversive in a way it wouldn't be now. The album Obscure Alternatives had enough trendy pop sounds to it to sound dated. I apparently have the front cover of that album, most especially David Sylvian's posture and hair, seared on my brain, because sometimes even now I'm convinced I see it out of the corner of my eye and have to do a double-take.

I amused myself during my vacation last summer in Germany singing "Suburban Berlin" to myself as our train rolled towards Berlin Hauptbahnhof because somehow Japan had convinced me there really wasn't suburbs around Berlin.

I still do prefer their earlier stuff before they went on their China kick. Like Siouxsie and the Banshees, their writing was much more poetic than your average pop song.
Jan. 13th, 2014 12:07 am (UTC)
It is possible I may have made squeaking sounds of glee when I saw Japan mentioned. I was embarrassingly into them in the 1980s.

All of my Japan was/is on vinyl, and of course, I managed to miss any window to digitize it and no longer own a turntable, so I'm going to have to bite the bullet and see how much of it I can find on CD.

I'm trying to remember how much of Sylvian's solo work I wound up getting on CD in the mid-90s. I probably have to doublecheck against my album collection.

(The problem with a lot of my youth music is that there was a gap between when my turntable broke, and when I got a CD player, and that gap was during the no money period of my life known as college.)
Jan. 13th, 2014 10:01 pm (UTC)
I still have it (and a lot of other stuff) on vinyl, with no record player to play it on.

I found my favorite Japan songs on compilation DVDs. I've had those for years at this point, too. In fact, when I fail to put my iPod on "shuffle" and it reverts to alpha order by song, the first song is ALWAYS "Adolescent Sex." Ba-bum, ba-bum, ba bump-bump-bump-ba-bum-bum.
Jan. 11th, 2014 11:48 pm (UTC)
I just heard Killing Moon today and thought it has aged very well. Love that one.

I don't think Siouxsie has aged or not aged for me. Just the same as she ever was. Agree about Depeche Mode.

OMD has held up pretty well. Even though it is firmly in the 80s, Electricity for example, I think holds its own. I still like it very much.

If I cringe, I suspect it hasn't held up well!
Jan. 12th, 2014 01:59 pm (UTC)
Killing Moon is one of the songs high on the Saved by the Goth movement list. Because groups like Echo and the Bunnymen, Sisters of Mercy, Siouxsie and the Banshees were all post-punk, pre-Goth and predate the Goth movement by at least a decade or two. They probably inspired it, TBH. Twenty years from now, it will finally sound dated.

OMD to me is so tied up in an era of my life it almost can't help but sound dated to me because I overplayed them in college to an extreme. An OMD song comes on, and I am instantly transported to the '80's.
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 12th, 2014 01:52 pm (UTC)
Almost ALL dance music ages poorly, because the trends change so fast.

Songs about current history and politics also do. Less so if the politics and history you're referring to happened in the past even when you write the song (e.g., Peter Gabriel did a song about Lee Harvey Oswald).

Anything that hits the Top 40 for a brief spat (we're talking even weeks on it) and then fades away is usually so trendy it will sound dated. So broad appeal has to *last* a while, or it's not going to save you.

No one is allowed to make fun of Devo. Because they were never supposed to be taken seriously to begin with. That was the whole point of them. To be silly and fun and only subversive in the subtext.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )