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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bad Times, Good Music

posted by on September 23 at 11:24 AM

The Guardian makes a good point:

Punk exploded in an era of chronic economic gloom, as much a reaction against the bus-shelter awfulness of the 70s as it was against Pink Floyd. Then came post-punk and the desperately hard times of the early Thatcher years. This period also engendered an abundance of new bands; the ultra-noir likes of Joy Division and Cabaret Voltaire, and the more colourful Human League, ABC and the Associates represented an oblique defiance to the hardships of the time, whereas the Specials and the Beat were a more overtly political reaction…

Money, it seems, is not conducive to great music.

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Posted by a soul singer | September 23, 2008 1:48 PM

It's the musical equivalent to the gentrification arc -- artists move to a neighborhood with cheap rents, create art primarily for themselves and their friends, attract enough attention to become a movement, money follows and prices them out of the neighborhood while co-opting the most easily reproduced aspects of the signature style and distilling it into a mass-marketable formula.

Hard times enhance the sense of urgency. Cheap rents in the cities were a by-product of the economic shittiness of the times, and provided the petri dish for the new culture to grow in.

It is of course highly possible that the current economic downturn will reverse the earlier trend of a hollowed-out urban core, though. Bands need places to practice and to play.

Posted by flamingbanjo | September 23, 2008 1:58 PM

Yeah. What is the music scene in the blighted, post-oil suburban ruins going to look like? I'd wager terrifying.

Posted by Eric Grandy | September 23, 2008 2:31 PM

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