by Dawid Ziemba
One thing that we can easily observe from the past is that inspiration is key to innovation. In the world of music, every genre is a child of its predecessor. Rock ‘n’ Roll evolved from the Blues; Punk grew from Rock; Country developed from Folk and so on. Despite every genre giving birth to the next, all are very different. The contrast came from the artists’ individual writing and performance approaches. Buddy Holly inspired John Lennon whilst Lennon and the Beatles influenced Billy Joel. Over the decades, such inspirations have led to the development of the music that we love and care about today. It seems that these days, inspiration of previous years is more apparent then ever and songwriters are now going way beyond the recent past in their hunt for gold. The sound of today is the imitation of yesterday.
Day by day it seems that the 1970s and the 1980s are among the most revisited decades for modern music. Artists such as Childish Gambino proved the relevance of this on his 2016 album release Awaken, My Love, with other examples including Daft Punk’s 2013 Random Access Memories and The Weeknd’s ‘I Feel It Coming’ track from the 2016 album Starboy. Personally I believe the times have moved too fast to fully appreciate the full possibility of the music that was available previously. The period between 1970 and 2000 saw some of the greatest and most unique artists come to life, from Prog-Rock greats, such as Yes, Rush and King Crimson, to Disco kings such as Barry White, Leo Sayer and Boney M, through to the rise of arguably the last new addition to the rock genre, Grunge, with artists behind the helm such as Pearl Jam, Sound garden and Nirvana. It seemed that as soon as the 2000 rolled by, boybands and New-Age rock took over. The music industry was fighting the battle of MP3s, everything became digital, accessible and over-time limitless.
Today, you can find millions of punk bands playing the same songs, only distinguished by their titles, with a handful managing to scrape the big time until the next big thing takes over for yet another five minutes.
Some artists are looking deep into the past to find the future. Vinyl is returning to the game, offering hope that perhaps people will begin to not only sell music on vintage formats but also start recording and returning to old-school ways of producing. Every decade in the past was unique as it had new gear, new methods, and seemingly endless goals to achieve the highest format possible. Now, Pop music is becoming increasingly like a recycling machine, with certain artists already proving that the world needs a new sound to be entertained with. And maybe, just maybe, that sound is the sound of yesterday.