It's easy to look back at a period, especially if it's from before you were born, and think about how awesome the music or the movies or the literature of the period was and bemoan how crappy the contemporary stuff is. The smart money is to dismiss that attitude, because there really is a lot of crap that gets made in every generation, and we don't think about it when we reflect back on it, assuming we ever knew about it in the first place.
But once in a while you see something that makes you wonder if maybe there is something to the old "they did it better in the past" state of mind. Case in point: I'm flipping through the latest Rolling Stone and get to the back page with all the charts on it, and I come across the following list--top ten albums September 7, 1968, just two months before I was born. Here's the list:
1. The Doors--Waiting For the SunAnd now the same list from this week:
2. The Rascals--The Rascals' Greatest Hits
3. Cream--Wheels of Fire
4. José Feliciano--Feliciano!
5. Johnny Rivers--Realization
7. Aretha Franklin--Aretha Now
8. Jimi Hendrix Experience--Are You Experienced?
9. Cream--Disraeli Gears
10. Simon and Garfunkel--Bookends
1. Jonas Brothers--A Little Bit LongerIt's not just me, right? There's a significant difference in quality in those two lists. Of the top ten albums out right now, the only one I'm really even interested in hearing is the new Ice Cube, and maybe the Lil Wayne, though he's never really done a lot for me. Of the list from 1968, I could do without the Feliciano and Steppenwolf and maybe Johnny Rivers, but the rest? There's some truly awesome stuff in there--Hendrix, The Doors, Aretha, two by Cream--any of those are better than today's top ten list combined. Or am I just hating on contemporary music?
2. Kid Rock--Rock and Roll Jesus
3. Staind--The Illusion of Progress
4. Mamma Mia!--Soundtrack
5. Ice Cube--Raw Footage
6. Miley Cyrus--Breakout
7. Lil Wayne--The Carter III
8. Sugarland--Love on the Inside
9. Camp Rock--Soundtrack