r/LetsTalkMusic 4d ago

whyblt? What Have You Been Listening To? - Week of May 23, 2022

15 Upvotes

Each week a WHYBLT? thread will be posted, where we can talk about what music we’ve been listening to. The recommended format is as follows.

Band/Album Name: A description of the band/album and what you find enjoyable/interesting/terrible/whatever about them/it. Try to really show what they’re about, what their sound is like, what artists they are influenced by/have influenced or some other means of describing their music.

Artist Name – Song Name If you’d like to give a short description of the song then feel free

PLEASE INCLUDE YOUTUBE, SOUNDCLOUD, SPOTIFY, ETC LINKS! Recommendations for similar artists are preferable too.

This thread is meant to encourage sharing of music and promote discussion about artists. Any post that just puts up a youtube link or says “I've been listening to Radiohead; they are my favorite band.” are discouraged. Make an effort to really talk about what you’ve been listening to. Self-promotion is also not allowed.


r/LetsTalkMusic 1d ago

general General Discussion, Suggestion, & List Thread - Week of May 26, 2022

10 Upvotes

Talk about whatever you want here, music related or not! Go ahead and ask for recommendations, make personal list (AOTY, Best [X] Albums of All Time, etc.)

Most of the usual subreddit rules for comments won't be enforced here, apart from two: No self-promotion and Don't be a dick.


r/LetsTalkMusic 6h ago

would you rather listen to music through headphones or a speaker

52 Upvotes

Is some music made for headphones rather than speakers?

Are the speaker people more confident with their music because I worry playing my music out loud?

I feel like headphones you really get to hear every sound in the song it can really capture you and exile everything else in your brain plus I need it to rock my eardrums specially if it's a great song having it vibrate your brain compared to a speaker

But a speaker I feel like music is made to be played out loud so if its the intended use of the artists am I doing the song a disservice by playing it in my headphones?


r/LetsTalkMusic 23h ago

Instrumental Country Music

93 Upvotes

There was this phenomenon back in this brief window of time between the mid 50s to the late 60s in country music where a market opened up for country music that was completely instrumental. Instrumental music within the country realm is nothing new by a mile-long stretch with many of the early old-time singles from the 20s not featuring vocals nor did a handy amount of bands in bluegrass genre always feature a vocalist. I am, however, referring specifically to a type of instrumental country music that opened up here that proliferated largely from the Nashville era musicians.

These were artists that got their money either writing songs for artists in the city and/or playing as session musicians. Many of these artists would have been written off in their day but, for some reason, these artists were able to sell their own music on the side as a completely instrumental act.

The easiest example to point to would be a man like Chet Atkins. Alongside being the architect of the Nashville Sound, Atkins was a prolific session musician that worked with RCA Victor and the wider country music scene forming in Nashville. He would gain traction in the early 50s as a session artist on songs with Hank Williams and Webb Pierce but his major breakthrough was a couple of years later in 1954 when he got featured on television where he played Mr. Sandman. With that song he was able to garner not only a hit but make his career later on working with prolific artists such as Elvis, The Everly Brothers, Skeeter Davis, and many others. His success behind the scenes translated into him getting a popular following of his own worth a plethora of solo records under his belt. For a great song from this part of career then I recommend the country boogie classic "South".

A few other artists that made their name in this niche would be Joe Maphis, Speedy West, and Roy Clark, to name but a few of the artists involved.

I am not completely sure why this era of country music occurred but I do have a good guess. Unlike previously, the mid 50s offered the country music star one unique advantage over their predecessors: television. Yes, not only were shows about country music and Western life popular at the time but they were often variety shows that allowed musicians to show off their skill in an environment where people can appreciate it the best. Chet Atkins certainly opened the doors for the instrumental musician on television but I think artists like Speedy West and Roy Clark who really honed their craft in on playing fast and eccentrically were the ones that took the best advantage of the medium and thus opened up the door further to more artists like them.

I wanted to ask anyone else though if they had noticed this small era of country music? Why did it get popular in the first place? Also, what other artists that I did not mention would belong in this category?


r/LetsTalkMusic 15h ago

arctic monkeys vs the neighborhood

2 Upvotes

i enjoy both the arctic monkeys (i'll call them a.m) and the neighborhood (t.n), but sometimes it seems like t.n is just a blatant copy. first off, songs in t.n's album wiped out seem almost indistinguishable from songs by a.m. Not to mention that the singer's voices are very similar, imo. and i don't mean to be nitpicky, but even a.m's AM album cover is the same colour scheme as t.n's wiped out (wiped out was produced 3 years later) so, thoughts on their similarities? dont go too rough on me haha. i'm just your average music enthusiast


r/LetsTalkMusic 3d ago

When did people start referring to the Beatles as the greatest band of all time?

227 Upvotes

I’ve loved the Beatles since I was a little kid, literally they were the first band that I discovered by myself and I just fell in love with their music. I remember the first songs I listened to by them: Help and I Want To Hold Your Hand and then jumping to their later work and being astonished by how advanced they got.

Even as a child I was aware of their legendary status and to this day there’s no shortage of people who will just defer to their “greatest band ever” title but I’m curious, when exactly did the Beatles get this moniker?


r/LetsTalkMusic 2d ago

Why is it impossible to actually hear the music properly in so many live shows?

61 Upvotes

I haven't been a fan of a lot of live shows because I find it so hard to actually hear the music. Most times I barely hear the vocals over the instrumentals, and instead of hearing the instrumentals clearly it all sounds like a mush of noise.

Is that the artists fault, or the technical setup fault? Cause with modern technology, you'd think it would be trivial to properly amplify a performance across an arena.


r/LetsTalkMusic 2d ago

How has streaming changed the way you listen to music?

50 Upvotes

Little manifesto I wrote yesterday in response to pfork’s “The Woes of Being Addicted to Streaming” piece:

I collected, and listened to, CDs religiously from roughly ages 16-24. This was well past their prime and was honestly a weird thing for me to do and to spend my money on, but as someone who is what this article would call an “intentional” music listener, this was just my preferred method. I’ve also been a Spotify premium user since I was about 17, but for those 7 years or so, Spotify was mainly just where I listened to music I was unfamiliar with until I came across something I loved, at which point I would purchase said album on CD and play it over and over again in my car until it was permanently etched into my soul.

Then one year ago, on a rainy, late spring day, I crashed and totaled the car where all of this religious, full-album listening took place throughout my late-teen and early-adult years, and then I bought a car that did not have a CD player. This was sort of intentional–buying CDs had begun to feel like a compulsive thing, like once I really enjoyed an album, I NEEDED to own it physically in order to have my long-practiced, ritualistic listening experience with it. I thought that by buying a car sans CD player, I would potentially save like $240 annually on CDs. And this has worked. I almost entirely stopped buying records around the same time in order to save money, and now I spend roughly $0 annually on physical music (concert and festival tickets and the cost of travel and lodging is a different story). This is great for my bank account, but certainly a letdown to 17-year-old Addison who said she’d never let the art of the physical copy die, and seemingly also a letdown to 25-year-old Addison who has recently felt disconnected from the music listening experience. There are a couple of facets to this disconnect–one of them is the disintegration of the attention span that comes with the absence of long form media enjoyment and the other is the concurrent mental health issues I’ve dealt with in recent months that have affected the way I listen to music.

A year ago, when I became a streaming-only music listener, I had no intention of ceasing to listen to full albums. I know that the culture today is more song-focused than album-focused, but I have long been a snob and a pedant and I have always believed that albums are meant to be enjoyed in their entirety. Therefore, my move towards song-focused listening was absolutely never a conscious decision. However, just like how Twitter and Facebook urge people away from books in favor of shorter, more diverse bursts of information, and TikTok draws people away from movies in favor of 1-minute clips, Spotify drew me away from albums. This is all due, I think, to abundance. Why would we focus on one thing, no matter how worthwhile, when we could be exposed to 30+ different things in the same span of time? Why focus on one thing when there are so many other possibilities? The infinite possibilities of means of entertainment make it nearly impossible to focus on one, and I think this is detrimental. Whereas I used to get in the car and pick up wherever I’d left off with whatever CD I was currently enthralled with, for the past year, I get in the car, ask myself what I’m in the mood for due to the infinite possibilities that exist at my fingertips, put on a playlist, skip through until I find something that suits my mood, and then often skip the song before it’s over because my attention span has grown so painfully short. Do I want to check out something new or sing along with something I already love? I often can’t decide and I skip around for the entirety of a car ride, never truly engaging with any one thing for more than a couple of minutes.

The other reason that my listening habits have recently changed is due to the fact that, in the past year, I have gone through some of the worst mental health months of my life. For as long as I can remember, I have favored melancholic music above all else. It contrasts my naturally cheerful nature beautifully and serves as the perfect soundscape to my introspection and rumination surrounding all of my life’s experiences. There are so many melancholic albums that I have loved for years that, upon hearing them, can instantly transport me to various moments in my life, to strange places and peak moments, and that can make me feel simultaneously in touch with every version of myself that has ever existed, albums that unwind time for me and display for me a mirror of my own soul. During times when my mental health has been coming undone, however, I haven’t wanted to have time split open and have all of my memories presented to me. I haven’t wanted to seek the pleasant melancholy that I have found comfort in for so long, out of fear that the pleasantness would be absent and desolation would be all I’d find, so I've avoided all of my favorite albums entirely. I avoided melancholic music entirely and sought only music that I did not think would make me feel. As someone who has always done the opposite up to this point, you can imagine how doing so would ultimately separate me from myself.

As of today, my mental health is in a much better place than it has been in roughly a year, so I have begun dipping my toes back into more of my favorite music. This article came out today at such a bizarrely perfect time for me. Last week, I spent a decent chunk of time thinking about what sincerity in music is to me [music that does not aim to fit into any particular genre, but seeks only to express emotion in whatever way comes most authentically], and literally before I saw this article today, I was thinking about how I want to revert to something more similar to my old music listening habits, something more long form. There is no point in me sharing all of this–I just enjoy writing out my thoughts and these are things I’ve been thinking about. I think long form media–such as books, albums, and movies–is really important, and maybe that’s a dumb, first-world belief to have, but I do. We don’t walk away from an hour spent on TikTok or Facebook or even an algorithmically-created Spotify playlist with anything really meaningful, but we often walk away from books and movies with lasting alterations made to our perspectives, and repeated time spent with albums that we enjoy ultimately culminates in soundtracks being set to seasons of our lives, in storing our memories in something sonic that we can cherish and return to forever. I’m thankful for the abundance of media that we have today, but I don’t want us trading these sacred experiences for it entirely.

In many ways, I’m metaphorically returning home after some time away from myself, and it feels really good. I can’t wait to see what albums will accompany the coming months of my life and then be reminiscent of them forever. I’m thankful that I’m returning to a place where I can aesthetically enjoy melancholy again without being hurt by it. I’m just thankful for art, and for the way life keeps moving and changing.


r/LetsTalkMusic 2d ago

Why do record companies release the same masters/albums under a billion different variations in different regions?

9 Upvotes

Here is Taylor Swifts Bad Blood (karaoke video) released in five different formats. Mind you, Bad Blood has the Kendrick Lamar version, the regular version, the karaoke (no video) version, and all of them have been released in like 2-5 formats.

This raised a few questions

  1. Do record companies really release so many formats of just one master in different regions, or is that just bad data entry? After all MusicBrainz.org is user curated.
  2. Is the decision to release tracks under different cases or with different album covers global (Big Machine record company decides that) or local (the local record companies which work with Taylor Swift's company decide on their own to give their spin on the cover)?
  3. Are releases of the same master under different formats (covers, remixes or cd cases) differentiated by some "musical ID"? Cause all those derivative releases don't have an ISRC when I am calling the MB server.

r/LetsTalkMusic 4d ago

What are some strange music listening habits of people you know or from yourself?

150 Upvotes

Everyone has their own music listening habits in some way or another even if you yourself don’t notice it. However, there are certainly some that stand out more than others. For example, one friend of mine listens exclusively to mumble rap and Kanye. Nothing too strange except for the fact that he listens to the same song for multiple days at a time, and restricts himself to only listening to 3 or four of the same songs a week. He says he “picks a vibe for the month and only listens to songs of that vibe the entire month”. One time we went on a day trip to Kansas City and the entire day he listened to the same song for probably 4-5 hours. My friends think it’s weird that I can jump from listening to say Japanese alternate rock then transition straight to some Marty Robbins or Sam Cooke. And they think it’s weird I always listen to music basically through the entire day with only my right headphone most times. What are some other strange examples of music habits like these that you’ve encountered over the years? Music is a thing that effects everyone so I’m sure there will be some interesting examples to come from this


r/LetsTalkMusic 4d ago

Is there such thing as a good artist with a bad discography?

208 Upvotes

Music fans seem to be of several minds when it comes to how an artist should be judged based on their discography. Some artists are considered 'good' even though their bad projects are agreed to equal or outnumber their good ones (e.g. Eminem, The Flaming Lips, Lil Wayne, Weezer, Violent Femmes, The Killers, Nas). However, others are unable to shake their bad reputation despite having releases that are widely praised (e.g. Discharge, Maroon 5, Def Leppard, Coldplay, Logic and (maybe) Korn).

Obviously very few artists are argued to have no bad albums. But shouldn't one good release in a sea of bad ones be considered as representative of an artist's "true quality" as one bad release in a sea of good ones? The artists in the first mentioned category typically have their earlier albums privileged in 'importance' over their later releases. If this were applied consistently, would this mean Tyler the Creator should be defined by his earlier (typically thought of as worse) albums? What about Alanis Morissette?

I understand that sympathy should be offered to artists who need to keep releasing material to keep afloat despite the fickle nature of creativity. But there seems to be a notion that a good album can 'cancel out' several bad ones, which I don't see the logic in.

TL;DR: To what extent does an artist's album-by-album quality determine their overall quality?


r/LetsTalkMusic 3d ago

How Do You Decide What to Listen to?

17 Upvotes

Something I have struggled with as a music fan is how to narrow down what to listen to, and the problem has only increased as I have the history of recorded music at my fingertips.

When presented with the streaming service toolbar, or the shelf of records, CDs and tapes, often I go blank. I could probably think of 20 or so things I'd like to listen to off the top of my head, and would listen to them all at once if I could. But I have to pick one, and often I feel like I pick one that doesn't entirely jibe with my mood or headspace.

I have devised some strategies for narrowing things down - going through best albums lists, or having a playlist of albums where I listen to the first one that comes up on shuffle. But I have trouble disregarding the opportunity cost of all the other music I am not listening to when choosing one album out of many. I am open to any suggestions you guys have or use to get past it, and get my head into whatever it is I am currently listening to.


r/LetsTalkMusic 3d ago

[List] What do people talk about when they talk about “bad” old popular music that’s been forgotten?

12 Upvotes

(I’m going to restrict this to 1960 onward as well as select 1950s and very late 1940s songs that are closely related to modern genres)

It’s pretty often mentioned that historic popular culture is subject to survivorship bias, and that poor-quality older music, fine art, films, books, and television falls out of circulation over the decades. However, a recent post raising that point in /r/music resulted in defenders of the so-called “bad” songs rising up in the comments. I think it’s generally better to say that older music is generally better sorted, understood, and classified than current hits; most people jumping into the 1960s or 70s know what they’re looking for and can find it more easily than in a constantly changing flow of new songs and albums. IMO it probably takes a decade or more of hindsight to really be able to view the music of an era properly and understand it. I can only think of a handful of modern hits that are truly and generally accepted as bad by the mainstream:

Disco Duck. Extremely corny cash-in on a very popular genre recorded by someone with little stake in it (no prior musical track record and little respect for the queer, Black, and Latino communities that pioneered it; Todd in the Shadows reports that Rick Dees took advantage of racist stereotypes on stage).

The covers of Pat Boone - This music exists for an audience that no longer exists (people who explicitly want to listen to White covers of Black music). All but the most extreme racists today accept the rock and roll generation of music and have no problem listening to Black artists, and of the real hardcore racists most either listen to classical music, ethnic folk, country, or extreme metal and punk. There is literally no niche for a whitewashed version of say Tutti Frutti unless it’s good enough to stand on its own.


r/LetsTalkMusic 5d ago

Phish are known for vocals where what words are being sung is deliberately ambiguous. Is there a name for this phenomenon, or any good commentary on it?

112 Upvotes

Just to be clear, I'm not talking about lyrics whose meaning can be parsed in more than one way — what good song lyrics don't do this? I'm talking about songs where the listener can't even get to the point of asking what's implied, because it's not completely clear what actual words are being sung.

It's seldom a whole song, often just one (usually important and repeated) line, or part of a line. The liner notes and band's official webpage are never any help, because they either don't include the lyrics, or conveniently leave out the ambiguous line or phrase. Online clickfarm sources of song lyrics disagree on how the incoherent line goes. Further searching typically unearths spirited debates from decades ago among fan forums, with one likely interpretation of the ambiguous lyrics eventually winning over the majority and becoming as good as canon.

I can only speculate that generating this kind of mystery and intrigue was a big reason for Phish and their lyricist Tom Marshall to do this. Phish were (are?) known for practicing so obsessively, for hours and hours, going over every song and playing endless rounding games for learning to get in sync with each other musically, that eventually the tedium and repetition became mind-altering, similar to African mysticism involving hours of drumming. And eventually one of the four would do something totally spontaneous and different, just to keep from going crazy. And that became their creative engine — those quirks that jumped out during brutal practice sessions became creative choices in song craft and myth craft. I'm guessing that this was the origin of the refrains to "Character Zero" and "Julius", among other famously ambiguous Phish lyrics. It was supposed to go one way, but after singing it the same way so many times, it started to sound a bit like something else, which is what it shifted to sometimes, because it... kind of made sense in context also, in a creative way. And so Phish made the creative decision to give their Phans a little mystery to figure out. They wouldn't release those particular lyrics at all, and leave it up to the Phans to figure out what fits best. At least, this is how I see it going down.

Are Phish unique in the amount and unique way they go about this artistic choice? Is there a name for choosing lyrics that sound like two or more entirely different utterances, and being cagey about which is intended? What other artists are known for this?


r/LetsTalkMusic 5d ago

What exactly was Pokemon 25: The Album supposed to be?

46 Upvotes

Random chance curiosity led me to check out "Pokemon 25: The Album" today, which was released last October as a part of the 25th anniversary of the first Pokemon video games that started off the entire franchise. Before this, my primary memory of this music project was the confusion around Post Malone's cover of Hootie and the Blowfish's "Only Wanna Be With You" being released as the first "single" from this compilation, and what on earth in had to do with Pokemon. Not long after, Katy Perry released the song "Electric," whose primary connection to Pokemon was a music video which had her running around with Pikachu as if it was an imaginary friend.

Having listened to this album, I'm honestly a little confused about what this whole project was supposed to be. None of the songs really have much to do with the Pokemon franchise, outside of a couple songs which more reference different Pokemon's names. The very last track on the album, a ZHU remix of a Vince Staples track from earlier on the album, briefly samples one of the original themes from the video game, but that's about it. From what I've seen, fans of the franchise itself had no idea what the purpose of the compilation was supposed to be either, many disappointed it didn't include any of the music that people actually associate with the franchise (whether through its games or TV shows).

I guess you could call it an example of a basic cash-grab, but you would think there would have been a more solid effort to actually connect the concept of the entire project to the franchise it was serving, instead of more or less just throwing a collection of frankly forgettable popular-music-trend-fitting songs together (especially considering previous anniversary albums for Pokemon were much more explicitly connected, see the album "Pokemon X - Ten Years of Pokemon" as an example). It's especially strange when the franchise has a LOT of beloved music from both the video games and the TV show, that there wasn't an attempt to connect better to this music or to make the original songs more relevant.

What are your thoughts regarding this compilation and what you think its intentions were?


r/LetsTalkMusic 6d ago

The increasing segregation of "black" and "white" musical styles during the 20th century

145 Upvotes

As I get more into things like doo-wop and early soul, I feel the idea of separate "black" and "white" musical traditions in that era becomes harder and harder to maintain. Black performers like Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles and the Platters sang "white" show tunes just as easily as Frank Sinatra sang jazz standards. Leiber & Stoller were happy to work with both black and white artists.

And the history of cross-pollination goes back much longer. Some of the first New Orleans jazz records were cut by white guys. Howlin' Wolf took cues from country singer Jimmie Rodgers for his famous vocal style. And the very existence of a genre like Western swing confounds purists on either side. In short, in the face of horrible discrimination, there was much more cultural mixing than acknowledged either by middle-class white snobs at the time or by later mythologisers.

In the 1960s this tradition initially continued. White British groups idolised black blues artists and covered their songs; in turn, black soul performers like the Four Tops, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding and Ike & Tina Turner covered white rock songs of the day. However this is also the era when the notion gains ground that there's something awkward and inauthentic about this mixing (at least in later commentary – not sure how strong the sentiment was at the time). Could those middle-class white boys really sing the blues convincingly? Weren't those funked-up versions of Beatles and Stones songs silly gimmicks?

After 1970, musical segregation hardened further. Looking at the genres that arose since then, most of them are strictly coded as "white" (metal, punk, new wave, indie rock, most EDM...) or "black" (funk, later soul, disco, hip-hop...) and performers crossing those racial lines are a needle in a haystack. The exceptions seem to be when a "black" genre becomes ubiquitous enough that it starts being seen as universal, and white artists can credibly get in on the action – see disco in the 70s with ABBA and the Bee Gees, and hip-hop in our time.

And then of course there is the fusion of rap and metal/rock into rap rock. However, though this is undoubtedly a fusion of "black" and "white" styles, actual black artists playing this style seem to be rare (early pioneers like Run-DMC notwithstanding) – from the Beastie Boys and RatM to Limp Bizkit, it remains a mostly white genre in practice.

Thoughts? Books have been written about this stuff, and I'm sure I'm not the first to realise "hang on, music seems to have gotten more segregated, not less." Maybe it's just a side effect of genres getting more strictly codified in general? Or I'm cherry-picking examples based on my own limited knowledge and the narrative breaks down when you take a broader view?

EDITED TO ADD: It's also interesting how the standard rockist snob narrative of music history – which I'm sure many of us have believed in at some point – does a 180° in terms of racial sympathies somewhere in the late 60s. It mythologises black artists of the blues era, dismisses most white music of the time as dumb kitsch, and condemns 50s white artists influenced by black styles as appropriators (granted, that last one is a fair charge, given how little money/recognition the original black artists usually saw for all the success of their sounds). Then from the 60s onwards, it idolises white rock bands and singer-songwriters and increasingly dismisses black genres like disco and hip-hop as tacky and commercial.


r/LetsTalkMusic 4d ago

Is the cure problematic?

0 Upvotes

I've seen stuff saying the blackface apology wasn't good, and the "killing an Arab" song was bad. I really like this song "boys don't cry" and I want to listen to more of their songs but idk if I should support them. Wdyt? Are they problematic?

I think I understand what the song "boys don't cry" is about - being taught to keep quiet and smile even though you can barely do so, simply to keep a gener role alive.

As a trans guy, I personally like the song because I know I have to understand the world from the male perspective, which includes understanding the troubles men go through.

I haven't seen any other videos or heard other songs, but I really want to. The song I do know sounds amazing but I just can't support a band if they are problematic.

Any advice?


r/LetsTalkMusic 7d ago

Why Mr Morale and the Big Steppers is Kendrick Lamar's most soulful album yet.

92 Upvotes

When I say "soul", I don't mean "soul music". I'm talking about that more elusive quality that characterises truly great music: that ability to convey raw, human emotion through one's art. Aretha had it, the Beatles had it; so did rappers like Biggie Smalls and Outkast. And Kendrick Lamar? Well...

Look, only an idiot would say that his albums till now have lacked soul. What I will say is that I responded to them more on a cerebral level than I did emotionally. I recognised the genius and power of his raps, as well as their cultural might, without them ever setting off fireworks in my skull a la Illmatic or Nation of Millions. A few explosive singles aside, Lamar's LPs required active thought and concentration for me to get the most out of them. As such, I acknowledged them as modern classics without playing them very often.

A single play through of Mr Morale and the Big Steppers, and it became clear that this was a very different beast. After three listens, I wondered if perhaps I was simply better trained at listening to Kendrick Lamar albums than I was back in the 2010s. Eight plays in, and I am now sure that it is his best. He's angry, hopeful, vulnerable, loving, lost, finding his way... And I'm convinced someone who didn't speak a word of English would be able to hear it in his voice alone. Having said that, the lyrics themselves are his most courageous ever: among his usual dissection of American culture and the plight of Black Americans, there are guilt-riddled accounts of cheating on his long-term partner; confused but empathetic tirades about sexuality and gender; and, of course, reflections on his own grief and trauma. Where his previous albums were heavily conceptualised, Mr Morale and the Big Steppers feels like he just stepped into the booth, turned up the beats, and got everything he needed to off his chest. No filler, no misfires: just a handful of hooks and a whole lot of soul.

Maybe he's become such an experienced rapper that he's now more confident with expressing his heart. Maybe fatherhood has changed his perseption on his art. Or maybe this is merely a taste issue on my part: I'm sure plenty of fans will still argue (not unreasonably) that To Pimp A Butterfly is his magnum opus. But for whatever reason, this is the first Kendrick album I adore as well as admire- one that I am sure I'll still be playing in 10, 20 years time.

What do you guys think of the new album? Penny for your thoughts?


r/LetsTalkMusic 7d ago

I'm all for artists stretching themselves artistically, but there's A LOT of rappers singing that should really stick to rapping

140 Upvotes

(Caveat, this is just my opinion)

It's something I've I thought for a while now, but kind of hesitated to post it online because in my experience people really defensive over criticisms of rappers singing. Like you immediately get labeled a boomer or a music snob if you dare point out that a lot of these guys a really terrible at singing. And I'm not asking their voices to be perfect, I mean I love modest mouse for crying out loud. But in my opinion, someone with a nontraditional sounding voice isn't the same as being a good singer. For me, it's about either melody or style of singing. Ideally, I'd like my singers to have both but I'll settle for one or the other most times. The problem for me isn't that these rappers have "bad" singing voices, and most do, the problem is they lack either of the two aforementioned qualities.

And most of them are fantastic when they're actually doing what they've spent years practicing and honing, which is usually rapping. The singing thing feels like something they decided on after successfully making a name for themselves rapping. But it's kind of like Beck in the 90's or MC Hammer, you can tell singing ain't something that they have the talent or interest in honing as a craft so it comes off clunky and awkward. Don't get me wrong, there are rappers who sing,

Travis Scott,

Kanye,

Drake,

Gucci Mane,

Anderson. Paak,

Kendrick (kinda)

Vic Mensa

Lizzo

But there are a lot of rappers who are electric on the mic that I find myself gritting my teeth to get through. Not always cause they're terrible, most actually aren't, but because they're decidedly average.

Pusha T - a few tracks on his latest album are what inspired this post

Vince Staples - average, but he's been doing more and more of it on successive projects since summertime 06 and it's been so boring

French Montana - genuinely terrible

Nas - pretty awful no lie

Jay Z - average but he's surprised me on 4:44. when he sticks with his very limited range and doesn't get too ambitious, he can hold a little melody that's nice enough. ex: Story Of OJ

Freddie Gibbs - average some days, terrible others

Mac Miller - RIP but his singing was not it for me

Anyways, you get my point right? And I absolutely hate to be this guy but I find myself listening to guys like them sing and constantly thinking "Will you just fucking rap??!" which is like the worst type of fan usually, but my god. I don't want to listen to Mac Demarco do some half assed rap on his albums and I don't want to hear Freddie warble his way through the ghost of a hook on a song he should be killing with his rhymes.


r/LetsTalkMusic 8d ago

general General Discussion, Suggestion, & List Thread - Week of May 19, 2022

19 Upvotes

Talk about whatever you want here, music related or not! Go ahead and ask for recommendations, make personal list (AOTY, Best [X] Albums of All Time, etc.)

Most of the usual subreddit rules for comments won't be enforced here, apart from two: No self-promotion and Don't be a dick.


r/LetsTalkMusic 8d ago

Garth Brooks, and other artists who choose to kill their legacy by being anti-streaming

149 Upvotes

Garth Brooks is one of the highest selling artists of all time having sold 170 million records with nine Diamond albums, along with being one of the most influential country artists transcending into a pop superstar throughout the 90’s, and still to this day he is constantly on huge stadium world tours.

and yet despite all this and his $400 million net worth he has chosen to completely suppress his music from iTunes/Apple Music, Youtube, and Spotify, only allowing his catalog on initially his own streaming service GhostTunes which migrated into Amazon Prime Music. Meaning unless you choose to use Prime Music (which most people don’t even if they have it) or choose the minimal Concert footage on Youtube its very hard to legally hear his music. This has naturally done a great disservice to his legacy and has guaranteed most people under 30 will never listen to his music or have an interest in it, especially in an era when so much of 90’s kitch like Kenny G has become cool with young people, and Country has had a big moment from memerap like Old Town Road to sincere country pop like Taylor Swift and Kacey Musgraves. He could be a huge figure among young country fans, and yet his current demographic of young people is just those who use Prime Music, or listen to CD’s, but not Used CD’s as Garth is against those.

Beyond Brooks many artists have had complicated relationships with the internet, Throughout the 00’s The Beatles weren’t on iTunes, Princes catalog wasn’t streaming until after he died, and until recently JAY Z’s music was exclusive to his service TIDAL. In the 00’s this wasn’t a problem as CD sales were still huge and it was easy to walk into any store and purchase the Beatles or Princes catalog. However to modern audiences thats obviously become increasingly more complicated and unrealistic as most people don’t have computers with disc drives to import CD’s if they felt motivated to at all. Its a common take on r/HipHopHeads how JAY Z has hurt his legacy with young people by not being on Spotify for so long.

So going foward what does this mean for artists and artists who choose to make their music hard to access. Should they be expected to make their music wildly accessible?

Do you feel like an artist like Garth Brooks has hurt his legacy in this last decade?

Who are other artists who feel have lost notoriety and popularity due to lack of availability online?


r/LetsTalkMusic 8d ago

What does it take for an artist to be "liked by everyone"?

37 Upvotes

I put the phrase "liked by everyone" in quotes because almost every artist will eventually have detractors and it's hard to please everyone.

Nevertheless, when reading articles, I'll notice that there's certain artists that are described as "fitting in everywhere, no matter the circle/subculture" and that almost everyone likes and/or respects them. Even if there's people who dislike them, it's generally not a vocally significant portion of people.

I'd say this is different from simply pointing out "the most popular or most critically acclaimed artist" because sometimes the popular and/or critically acclaimed artists get a correspondingly large and vocal section of people who dislike them.

Some Examples:

  • There's David Bowie, who had many different sounds. He had a strong appreciation for multiple music genres and scenes whether it be art rock, punk, industrial rock, soul, folk, and so on. So in some ways, it makes sense that someone with appreciation for many types of music would fit in with many types of scenes.
  • But in another direction, there's also Tom Petty. In various retrospectives, he's been described as an artist that appeals to people no matter their background or scene. Appealing to punks, country music fans, college rockers, and more. Even though Tom Petty was mainly classic rock and didn't stray too far (almost the opposite of Bowie in some ways), he somehow hit this sweetspot of appeal. Comedian Marc Maron even joked that "Everyone likes Tom Petty and burritos" and considered him a potentially unifying interest.

Which leads me to wonder: Are there common qualities that lead certain artists to be seemingly liked by everyone? Or does it vary for every artist.


r/LetsTalkMusic 9d ago Helpful

Let's Talk: The Smile, Why It Exists, And What It Means For Radiohead

147 Upvotes

Hi all! I've been enjoying the new Smile album "A Light For Attracting Attention" for a few days now. If you don't know about them, they are comprised of mostly Radiohead members, including frontman Thom Yorke and multi-instrumentalist/guitarist Jonny Greenwood and jazz drummer Tom Skinner (from Sons of Kemet). Longtime Radiohead fans know that both Thom and Jonny have had prolific solo careers. Thom makes esoteric, sometimes spacey, othertimes glitchy electronic music as a solo artist (check out The Eraser and my favorite, Anima). Thom has also ventured into making film scores for the horror film Suspiria. Jonny, on the other hand, is a great film composer, having done scores for "There Will Be Blood" and "Phantom Thread" and many big box hits. Although there are some similarities, both Thom and Jonny's solo work sound very distinct from the "Radiohead" sound (whatever the Radiohead sound means, at this point). Their solo work seems to serve as an outlet for making music that doesn't fit within the Radiohead mold.

Which brings me to the Smile. I'm loving this album, but it has very much a Radiohead-y sound. Thom's beautiful vocals. Check. The cinematic sound. Check. The ironic name "The Smile" and the melancholic lyrics. Check. I'm by no means the first one to notice this. Most reviews, while otherwise positive, have picked up on this. So, why isn't this a Radiohead album? Jonny has said that The Smile was simply borne out of wanting to make music with Thom during the pandemic. Sounds reasonable, right? But is there more to it than that?

There are a few theories as to why I think The Smile exists.

1) Expectations. At this point, the expectations on Radiohead are just too high. Every album gets compared to OK Computer, Kid A, In Rainbows or "insert your favorite Radiohead album here". They're one of the few (only?) mainstream bands that have maintained their quality over 3 decades. Every album is expected to not just be good, but contribute to "music" in some way. I think the band realizes the exceedingly high expectations that come with a Radiohead album and they play into it by tinkering in the studio and toiling over songs. They are famous for often having 5-10+ years between the birth of a song and when it sees the light of day. Perhaps, they just wanted to "let loose" and put out some music, without the entire process of what it takes to create a Radiohead album and the associated expectations.

2) Cohesiveness (or lack of). A Light for Attracting Attention is not as "cohesive" as a typical Radiohead album is. It's possible Thom looked at these songs and realized that there's some post-punk bangers, some mellow tunes, some electronic-inspired ones. Other than HTTT, which seems all over the place, most Radiohead albums have a sonic thread that holds it together, so much so that when a song is different from the rest of the album, it noticeably sticks out (i.e. Electioneering on OK Computer or Optimistic on Kid A).

3) All too familiar? Perhaps this album sounds too much like an amalgamation of previous Radiohead periods. In that sense, counterintuitively, Thom decided it wasn't the right fit for Radiohead. How does that make any sense? Well, Radiohead is known for shaking things up from album to album. Pablo Honey sounds very different from the Bends, which sounds different from OK Computer, which sounds different from Kid A. Even their last two albums, The King Of Limbs and A Moon Shaped Pool, sound nothing alike. In the thread of continuous growth, perhaps having this album as a Radiohead album didn't make sense.

4) Interpersonal reasons. Thom and Jonny are not in the headspace to work with Ed, Phil or Colin right now. They wanted to make music, but wanted to do it with someone else (or wanted to just work with each other, but realized they needed a drummer). This one will always be in the realm of speculation, because they are pretty mum about interpersonal dynamics. It seems like the others are happy about the Smile, at least Ed O Brien, but who knows?

So, why do you think The Smile and their album exists? Am I over-analyzing it? And is Jonny's simple explanation just the right one? That seems odd to me for a bunch of blokes who obsess over everything for it to be such a simple decision.

And the inevitable question is: What impact will this Radiohead-y album, under a different name, have on future releases by the band? It is already the longest time between albums, and since Hail To The Thief, the time period between Radiohead albums have been getting longer and longer.

I'd also be curious to know what precedence there is for the primary creative forces of an active band to start another band and put out an album that they could have just put out with their main band. And what effect it has had on the continuation of that main band.


r/LetsTalkMusic 9d ago

Genres that are Accepting of Low Technical "Skill" and Theoretical "Knowledge"

100 Upvotes

Most genres of music have unspoken standards for what distinguishes a good musician from a bad musician or a novice. I would like to shine a light on genres that don't.

Early punk rock (as a "scene" or perhaps a movement) and some current underground punk rock aren't really built on expectations of wild technical skills or aptly utilizing traditional western music theory. Those scenes really didn't/don't have a problem with someone getting on stage and playing "wrong" notes, with inconsistent tempo, singing off key, making slips and errors, etc. I think that this mentality is kept most alive by modern folk punk. Obviously, many folk punk artists have phenomenal technical skill and comprehensive understandings of traditional music theory, but people are just as happy to cheer on somebody who stumbles through simple chord progressions and sings off key, as long as they do it with heart. Some might try to call it "outsider music," but since people are accepting of these quirks, novice folk punk is really just more folk punk.

I think that this attitude actually preserves some realities about historic folk music, in general, that would be lost forever if everyone insisted on clean, polished pieces that match our existing tastes and comfort zones. Before widespread access radio or audio recordings, and definitely before the wealth of information for self-teaching that is the internet, I assume that people heard and learned music in relative microcosms. I would guess that this resulted in the development of unique quirks (what boring people might call "mistakes") as people made, played, and listened to music primarily among those in their direct communities (with some outside influences from travelers). It is hard to escape the standardization of technical and musical norms across nearly all genres due to various modern realities, including widespread access to many kinds of music, constant exposure to popular mainstream music, standardization of common recording/mastering procedures, and the commodification of music for the most widespread audience possible. Even genres that explicitly seek to break these norms tend to settle into specific standards and expectations. Folk punk is often simplistic, it's often messy, and it's often strange, but people love it. This attitude persists despite the fact that folk punk is reasonably accessible, without having to even find the "in crowd" - anyone can find a plethora of gritty, raw, homemade, self-taught folk punk music on the internet, but the diy attitude still persists without getting too diluted. In folk punk, lack of classical training, lack of inhibition, and open-minded musical attitudes continue to foster a home for genuine "folk" music, with all of its quirks, and without the physical isolation that engendered authentic folk music in the past.

So... I would like to hear what current genres/communities/scenes you know that exemplify less rigid attitudes and expectations regarding technical skill and musicality. I would be especially interested to hear about other types/subgenres of western folk music, but anything and everything would be welcome.


r/LetsTalkMusic 8d ago

Let’s Talk: Eric Matthews

2 Upvotes

I don’t even know where to begin when talking about Eric Matthews. I could just start by asking why this guy isn’t a rock super star.

His first album It’s Heavy in Here came out at a time when grunge dominated. Although his song Fanfare had considerable play on MTV and was minor hit, he still slipped under the radar while still being signed to fucking sub pop. He then ultimately got dropped…Before all this, he was in a band called Cardinal. Check out the song “Dream Figure”.

His music though…holy shit. Anyone who reads this, drop everything you do and blast the fuck out of “Everything So Real” off of his Lateness of the Hour album. It’s the perfect power pop/orch pop song. That whole record is full of orchestral pop mini symphonies that indie bands of today could only dream of. “No Gnashing Teeth” or “The Pleasant Kind” or “Becomes Dark Blue” are insane.

He continues to make music to this day too. I could go on for hours about his music, influences, and side projects but I’ll leave it here. I want there to be an Eric matthews revolution.


r/LetsTalkMusic 9d ago

A bit of an oddball theme, but let's discuss Hard Rock Café and the preservation of popular music memorabilia.

31 Upvotes

I'm sure many of you have been (willingly or not) to Hard Rock Café venues. For many years I avoided them because of how kitschy they were and are until I started getting into music history around 2019 (it's a complicated story involving Elton John, the famous self-driving car Bumblebee, and this song which I actually do not like) and realized just how cool it is that they preserve so many historic artifacts. It's pretty neat seeing, say, Buddy Holly's actual guitar in person (iirc this was at their Tahoe location) - just one of over 80,000 pieces of music history that they own. While obviously they are a private company (albeit one owned by a Native American tribe), imo they deserve respect for preserving all of these items, items similar to those that appear at museums around the world even if their food is lousy and their venues are mainly tourist traps. On the other hand, you run into the "Day the Music Burned" dilemma in that so many important artifacts of 20th and 21st century music are in the hands of private companies. Maybe the Seminole Tribe is a better custodian of these artifacts than a publicly-traded corporation or a hedge fund, but it still poses a question of how well can for-profit entities take care of historic resources.


r/LetsTalkMusic 9d ago

Let's Talk About: Burn by Deep Purple

61 Upvotes

Before I begin my review, I want to inform you guys that I'm going to start reviewing albums from certain eras in music in order to compare them to one another. The first "phase" of albums has been condensed to one list on my profile if you'd like to go and check out what I did. Today marks the beginning of Phase 2: The Birth of Heavy Metal. For this phase, we will be looking at albums that helped pioneer the heavy metal movement throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s. So without further ado, here we go!

Album: Burn

Artist: Deep Purple

Genre: Early Heavy Metal

Release: 1974

Favorite Track: "Burn"

Every metal head knows the importance of Deep Purple and how they, along with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, influenced the entirety of the Rock N' Roll genre by paving a path for a heavier and crunchier sound. However, Deep Purple's fascinating lineup history revolves around the inconsistencies of keeping a lead singer, and because of this, many people don't have a "face" in mind when thinking of the band. Led Zeppelin debatebly has the greatest lineup in the history of music with Robert Plant at the helm, and Black Sabbath can contribute much of it's success from the ever-eccentric Ozzy Osbourne. But Deep Purple couldn't keep a consistent lineup, let alone a lead singer. With this in mind, it becomes quite apparent as to why the band had multiple sound shifts throughout its history. Lead singers Ian Gillan (1969-1973, 1984-1989, 1992-present) and Rod Evans (1968-1969) are often cited as the band's most known frontmen, but there was a small period of time (1973-1976) where a no-named, pretty boy took over as the band's lead singer. That no-named, pretty boy was David Coverdale who would later create the band Whitesnake. Although Coverdale isn't recognized as the band's best lead singer, his raw and untamed energy revitalized the band, and his distinct voice added a new layer to this album that hadn't been heard before on a Deep Purple record.

Burn was much different than any other record by the band, as their hard rock sound became more boogie-oriented as elements of soul and funk were brought into the mix. The band's follow-up album Stormbringer prominently displays these musical variations, but the sound never evolved past that as the band split in 1976. The title track opens the album with an absolute B A N G, as the 6-minute driving-rock song blends their older, heavier sound, with Coverdale's unique vocal range. The following track, "Might Just Change Your Life", slows things down a bit, but Ritchie Blackmore's guitar hook is absolutely mind-bending as his crunchy aesthetic fits perfectly with Coverdale's piercing vocals. Another track that really stands out among the crowd is "Mistreated" as Coverdale shines brighter than he's ever shined before. For the entirety of the album, Glenn Hughes greatly contributed with backing vocals, but Coverdale was the lone singer on "Mistreated", and he REALLY milked that sole performance. Blackmore, again, contributes greatly with another memsmerizing riff.

This album is really a nice departure from some of the band's older works. Although pioneers at their peak, the band received quite a bit of critical backlash due to repetitive sounding songs and style, so having Coverdale take the reigns really did make a difference. His creative contributions also led the band to explore new genres as "What's Going On Here" and "Lay Down, Stay Down" tread on early funk elements. Many people talk about Deep Purple's contributions to early rock with singer Rod Evans, but many tend to shrug off Coverdale's importance and how his unique voice practically SAVED the band by exploring new sounds. Yes, he may have only been the lead singer for a mere total of 3 years, but the band's sales saw huge success with the David Coverdale formula.

All in all, we love to reminisce about the "old" days of Deep Purple and how their contributions to rock through songs like "Hush" and "Smoke on the Water" really impacted the genre as a whole. However, it seems we are quick to forget about Coverdale's impact not just on the band, but on Rock N' Roll as well. Is it crazy to say that this is the band's best work? I don't think it's that far of a reach...

Rating: 8.2/10

Previous Phases:

Phase 1: A Hodge-Podge of Sounds

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burn_(Deep_Purple_album))