Soundtrack of My Life - The State of Music, What I'm Listening to in 2024

Yesterday I listened to a commentary, The Real Reason Why Music is getting worse, by Rick Beato.



He first outlines the role of technology over the years, how that tech made it easier and cheaper to create the songs we hear today. From precise drum machines, multi track recorders / editors to auto tune, software and now AI generated music, the hurdles to creating music are so low. One only needs to describe what you want into an AI generator and voila, a song.


His next observation addresses the impact of streaming services on how we consume music. These services give you access to an artist’s entire library for a low monthly fee. His claim is people no longer have personal sweat equity invested in music they listen to. We used to pay for an album to consume it. Now we open up Spotify and click on what we want to hear or what Spotify thinks we want to listen to. Rick claims this cheapens the listening experience, that the younger generation doesn’t give the music the focused attention it deserves. He describes how this differs from the album listening process of yesteryear.


On some level I see his point, that in some ways music has been relegated to background noise - but only it you let it be that way. I think it depends on the person and how music fits into their personal values. A person who values music, understands the creative process and hard work required to make it is more likely to discriminate its consumption.


For me, music is woven into the fabric of my soul. It will always be important and a revered art form. I’m open to discovering new music and artists, those who create authentically. [Note - This is a sharp contrast to my husband, who lives in the past, preferring to immerse himself with the familiar comfort of 80’s music. I understand it - music lives in our memory banks, transports us back in time and allows us to escape the present. My brain, however, tires of that repetition and needs discovery.]


I consciously seek out different artists and even try to give the trendy music a focused listen. I’m even trying to overcome my preconceptions of artists I’ve dismissed over the years - like Beyoncé, like Billie Ellish, those annoying K-pop bands (ok, I listened to them and still don’t like them). I recently listened to the new “Cowboy Carter” Beyoncé album, thought her vocals on the remakes were great but still didn’t care for her original material. But instead of wholesale declaring the music was “crap” without listening to it, I gave the album my attention and then made an informed opinion.


I felt the same with the latest Billie album - slick production, catchy music and decent lyrics, but I’m simply not in love with her vocals.




So what am I listening to now? Maggie Rogers, who I caught live in concert earlier this month - she is fantastic live.

Maggie Rogers in Concert - Indianapolis

Maggie Rogers in Concert - Indianapolis


Regarding other "trending" artists - I’ve listened to Olivia Rodrigo, she’s okay (maybe I need to give it another go), I’m on the fence with Sabrina Carpenter (I don’t like her newest release) and the newest album from Kasey Musgraves is pleasant to listen to. My latest discovery is Chappell Roan who I find edgy, entertaining and talented. Her lyrics are interesting, musically catchy and fun. She clearly can sing and each song has a purpose or story to tell. I think of her as this generation’s Lady Gaga or Madonna. I'm linking to her NPR Tiny Desk concert that she knocks out of the park.


Any new artists I am missing?


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