I just finished watching Sound City for the second time. I first watched it in 2013 when it was released and thought the documentary was very poignant. If you haven’t seen Sound City, find it, sit down and watch it. Dave Grohl puts his finger straight into eye of what is wrong with today’s music. It fucking S U C K S!!! I used to think it was because I was much older, but now I can see clearly why music for the most part is shit. Now, before you go putting firecrackers up my ass and tell me, “but Roberto there are a lot of underground bands that are great.” Fuck you! I know there are a lot of bands out there that are cool and great and fantastic and all that. This is not what I’m talking about.
Sound City was a no holds barred recording studio that launched just about everyone’s career during the 70’s. Fleetwood Mac, Bachman Turner Overdrive, Cheap Trick, Santana, War, Tom Petty & the Heart Breakers, REO Speedwagon, Neil Young, and so on. Then there was the Chile Peppers, Slipknot, Nirvana, Weezer, and fucking Johnny Cash! The list goes on. What Sound City was and never will be again, was creativity that took work to make. Today, anyone and their granny can make music using some sort of digital device and some cheap or even free app. You don’t even need to know how to fucking sing, just auto tune the whole thing.
It used to be we’d buy a record, go home, put the record on our turntable and listen to every song on it, not just one or two and then expecting the rest to be shit. Now we download our music from any plethora of music sites and can listen to “our” music anywhere we are. But my question remains, is this music any good?
There is a line in the movie from Brad Wilk of Rage Against the Machine, and I’m paraphrasing, that went something like this;
Listen to the music that influenced the bands that you loved. Then listen to the music that influenced those bands. The further back you go the less technology there was and consequently the better records there were.
These words hold a lot of truth in them. There’s no getting away from things like Pro Tools, but there’s a lot to be said for innovation when you’re working with completely analog technology. By the way, the post I made earlier about CD’s vs record albums in no way relates to creativity in a digital vs analog world. Music is music no matter how good or bad it is. I just feel that making things easier is not always the best way to make good art of any kind.