Question Of The Week: Is Music Getting Worse Or Am I Just Getting Old?

Question Of The Week: Is Music Getting Worse Or Am I Just Getting Old?

I laugh every time. Every single time. Whenever someone talks about how great Christian music used to be and how much worse things seem to be getting with time as if the music industry was on fire and there’s no way to put it out I don’t even get angry any more, I just laugh. Why? Because they say how much greater things were 3 or 4 years ago, but people were saying the same things then.

Does music ever really get better or worse with time or does it evolve and shift like any other art or creative outlet? I think that we tend to think of things we used to like with such a flare for nostalgia that we fail to appreciate what we have presented to us right now.

When comparing today’s Christian music with, let’s say, the Christian music coming out of the 90′s, I’ve heard a ton of people talk about how much better it was back then. Either because they were really into the CCM acts of the day like Newsboys, DC Talk and Audio Adrenaline or they were first in line for the early days of Tooth & Nail Records when they had a whole bunch of punk and ska bands. People talk so fondly of those bands as if they were somehow “better” than what anyone could come up with today.

While some of those older albums were certainly classics, few of them really hold up to the production standards of today’s music. Some of you might think that the over-production of music is what is killing it today, but that is generally only the case with the most generic of pop and rock acts. Great artists can use technology to their benefit and make something great even better. There were people that surely thought that the electric guitar was the downfall of artistic integrity, but how many people think that today?

Although I’d like to see rock music in general become more popular, I don’t think what is out there is any better or worse, it’s just not necessarily as “in” right now.

Do you think that music is actually worse today than it was five or ten years ago or has it gotten better in some areas?

About Tyler Hess

Tyler Hess has been running Christian Music Zine since he created the site in 2008. His favorite bands are Relient K, Bleach, Emery, House of Heroes, The Classic Crime, Children 18:3 and Anberlin. Twitter = @tylerscotthess More Posts

10 Comments to “Question Of The Week: Is Music Getting Worse Or Am I Just Getting Old?”

  1. It hasnt specifically gotten better or worse its just evolved and grew to many different types of christian bands

  2. Robert Shell // April 24, 2012 at 8:47 am // Reply

    I don’t think it’s worse. I think the industry has changed some just out of everything evolving. I think the time we’ve had to make memories with certain albums is what actually fuels this debate more than anything.

    However, I do think as the Christian music industry has grown there has been more of an emphasis on releasing album after album. I don’t really think that is different than anywhere else in the music industry though. I just feel like I hear a lot of albums that have a “we just need to release an album” feel. Or they have decided on a formula (like a lot of CCM artists, in my opinion) and just don’t change it. Because at the end of the day it’s a business.

    Or the Christian fan world has set a standard of what they want to hear (lyrics, music style), and artists just hand deliver that to them. Spending some time working at a Christian radio station it was amazing to see this play out. The angry Christian listeners that would call in when we were allowed to play “rockier” stuff, or if it wasn’t positive enough, etc. But being Christian doesn’t make it any less of a business/industry. And before this turns into more of a pointless rant, I’ll be done. However, it’s issues like this that make me all the more excited of ministries like Come and Live.

  3. I think Christian music has gotten better and i’m in my 30s, but a lot of that may be due to the ease of finding a lot more that I like nowdays, even unsigned, unplayed on the radio, and generally unheard of, due to Internet, Itunes, Streaming Svcs (like Rhapsody, Spotify, MOG, and Pandora…and of course YouTube, SoundCloud, etc), Twitter, etc. Don’t have to rely on just what’s played on CCM and Gospel radio stations anymore. We can find what we actually like on our own now. Also I’m more of a pop (dance pop, r&b-style pop, electronic pop, etc) and electronic listener than a rock or adult contemp listener, and I’m seeing the rise of that in Christian Music now. So I’m loving it! I can now find more than Out of Eden, Stacie O., and Plus One that I liked back in the day, ha, and don’t need secular at all anymore to hear sounds that please my ears.

  4. As far as the musical aspect, music goes through cycles, and like anything else there’s gonna be a mix of good and bad with each one. And a lot of it’s about personal taste. Sometimes I think about how much good music there was 10 years ago, and sometimes I think about how much terrible music there was 10 years ago. But most of the time I just think “crap, that was 10 years ago?”.

  5. Every decade there are surefire “Classics”, some that overlooked or pegged “Underdogs” and then the flat out junk releases. Tooth & Nail’s early albums from like 93′-95′ had some pretty spotty production standards but there are some gems to be found. After those years, the label became more invested in the sound and quality of their recordings. All the other labels at the time had some gems and flat out disasters. I am not going to name names but you can figure it out on your own. I like progress too and appreciate many new bands of today but I do have a soft spot for stuff I grew up with. It is that nostalgia that keeps me coming back again and again. I think every generation has those same standards and practices. “Classics” can either be defined as a “Top Seller” of a specific decade or just an album that hit you in the heart at the right time and the right place, making a lifetime impact. I also don’t believe some of these “Christian” bands need to break up. Just put your music to rest and go an extended hiatus so as to avoid the dreaded “break up”. If you’re talented enough to write catchy music, time shouldn’t dictate how long you can compose those songs and at what age you should stop. Look at Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, ACDC, Motorhead, Social Distortion, Bad Religion, No Doubt, Green Day, Blink 182, Offspring, The Beach Boys, Paul Mcartney, Tom Petty, Rush, etc. etc. Those artists touched people’s lives in one way or another and they are certainly talented at what they do, why should they quit because of approaching age? I say this, because I hear it so often with young kids who think “just quit already” or “you guys are old”. Heck, my own 16 year old son says it almost every day about the music I listen to. “That’s old”, or “Those guys are old, like in their 30′s” I am dead serious. hahaha. To sum this whole random comment up, find music that inspires you and follow the band(s) till you’re old and gray.

  6. I have found that the majority of people seem to think the music they grew up with was the best. Their teens and twenties if you will. Not everybody, but most. So my contemporaries are listening to CCM or oldies (meaning ’60s and ’70s music). Some of us are more adventurous. I’m listening to Coheed & Cambria, for instance. It’s my oldest daughter’s CD and I find it interesting. Probably never have a place in my heart like Boston’s first album or Kansas Leftoverture. ;)

  7. Darn, I forgot to answer Tyler’s title question, “Is music getting worse or am I just getting old?” The answer, of course, is yes.

  8. I feel like the newer music continues to get better and better. I love the old days with DC T, Jars and Newsboys (orginal) but finding good bands was so tough and very limited in the Christian world. Now, bands have so many ways of getting music out there without having a label and more labels putting out quality Christian music. Fives us the listeners so many different types of music versus what Top 40 says is good.

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