The Sky is A Neighborhood

I think something we can all agree on as of late is the questionable integrity of the music industry. All of the big labels seem to be forgoing legitimate talent in order to capitalize on trends. Quantity over quality I suppose.

The latest strike against the big labels comes from Atlantic, who recently gave a record deal to the “Cash me outside” girl, who is 13 years old and has absolutely NOTHING to do with the music industry prior. She’s a trend, and Atlantic just wants money.

Seems like a rather dismal and defeatist way to start a post, but all is not lost! We’ve seen a turnout of some pretty decent albums so far this year from bands like The Flaming Lips and PVRIS. Last month we saw a heavy hitter from the Rock re-enter the fight with Queens of the Stone Age releasing their fantastic album “Villains,” and now we have another contender coming in swinging.

 

Foo Fighters have released a new album.

 

Dave Grohl and the gang are back with “Concrete & Gold,” further proving that good rock music is still alive and kicking.

Now, I must make a confession here: I was skeptical when I saw a promotional picture of the band prior to the release of the album. I saw a new member, and he’s a keyboardist. As my friends know, I’m very skeptical about bands officially adding keyboardists. Nothing agains the musicians themselves, however usually when an established rock band adds one their sound changes to more of a generic pop sound.

Thankfully, this was not the case.

Foo Fighters have had keyboardists playing with them in the background for years now, but never officially added one to the lineup. Upon further examination of the photo, I realized I was looking at Rami Jaffee. Rami was part of the Wallflowers, and has worked with acts like Coheed & Cambria, Soul Asylum, and even Stonesour.

So, that kind of put me at ease.

Now that the album is out and I’ve listened through it about ten times already, all my worries have gone out the window. Grohl knows what he’s doing. He always knows.

There’s no trace of over-synthed beats and loops, no “uhn-tiss uhn-tiss” dance beats, and NO dubstep drops to be seen. No, “Concrete & Gold” is a legitimate Foo Fighters release from beginning to end.

The Foos have an amazing knack for expanding their sound, while simultaneously staying true to themselves. You hear a track like the single “Run,” and you think to yourself “Yep, that’s Foo Fighters alright.” Then you hear a song like “Dirty Water” and it sounds like someone took the best elements of Foo Fighters and mashed it together with the best elements of Metric and blessed us with this tune.

It’s actually funny. I was watching the Foo Fighters’ documentary “Back and Forth” and I kept saying “Oh man, I really like that song” and “Yeah that one too!” Throughout the whole thing, and the I realized something: there really isn’t any Foo Fighters songs I dislike.

I thought that was kind of odd, since there’s usually something by bands I don’t like. For instance: most of the recent releases from Smashing Pumpkins, and some of the songs off of Interpol’s self titled album. And that’s saying something because I love BOTH of those bands!

So I asked around to some of my musician friends, and was surprised to hear they all pretty much agreed with me. It seems like the Foos can do little wrong when it comes to their albums, and this one is no exception. It’s a little different, but it’s still undeniably a true Foo Fighters album.

Check out “Concrete & Gold,” the band’s ninth studio album, available in stores and online now.

Why I Hate Pop Music

My readers often ask me why I avoid talking about Pop music, and why I never discuss Top 40 or who is on the cover of Rolling stone this month. So I think it’s time I finally address this subject.

Pop music has been around since the first bands and singers took to stage. It’s one of the oldest genre stylings beyond classical. It has endured decades, and it dominates the airwaves to this very day.

And why not, right? I mean, Pop is usually fun and you can dance to it.

But I hate it. That is, I hate the modern day version of Pop music.

I blame the Boy Band movement of the late 90’s/Early 00’s. The choreographed, overly hair gelled groups haphazardly thrown together by record companies trying to capitalize on the smiley, bleach-haired teen heartthrobs ripping off real R&B artists in an effort to make more of that almighty dollar.

In doing so, they flooded the market with cookie-cutter groups that became increasingly difficult to differentiate as they all ended up sounding the same, and thus the death of quality Pop music was set in motion.

Gone are the days when a Pop star can write a meaningful song and it get airplay. Nope, instead we get stuck with factory made “music” that’s meaningless and devoid of any substance.

Seriously! Look at most of the Pop songs being shoved into our ears today. What are they all about? Partying. Butts. Advocation of infidelity. Greed. Butts.

It’s just all so shallow and meaningless.

That’s not to say Pop music of the past has been so altruistic, but artists like Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Prince, and so many others wrote songs that you could dance to while simultaneously having actual meaning behind them.

Despite all this, Pop thrives and dominates. But for what purpose? So the next pretty blonde white guy or girl can have a big hit, and then quickly get shoved aside for the next one? That’s what I’m saying, it’s devoid of substance.

It’s not just the bubblegum dance side of Pop either. Every sub-genre of Pop is just as bad. Pop Rock? A joke that no real rock fan takes seriously. Mainstream Rap/Hip-Hop? That’s been reduced to repetitive Trap beats and whatever the hell Mumble Rap is. Don’t even get me started on Pop Country. That genre is the most trite and morally questionable of them all.

Now, I listen to pretty much everything. That’s why I chose the name The Music Junkie. So I do, in fact, listen to Pop must, just not modern stuff. Basically anything 90’s (which was a golden era across the board if you ask me) and older. I realize this post may come across pretentious, but for the sake of journalistic integrity I decided to not sugar coat things and answer truthfully.