Consider this a placeholder that can perhaps be fleshed out by someone better qualified on the subject. [Subtly requests volunteers.]
Yesterday I posed the question: who are today’s music geniuses? The discussion, the stellar discussion, yielded a lot of names. Rather than update yesterday’s post, I’m going to take a stab at cataloging them as I did my gen’s geniuses. (Remember, we’re working with individuals, not groups.) Here’s what I got from the comments.
- Cobain, Nirvana
- 9, Thom Yorke, Radiohead
- 4, Beck
- 4, Jack White, White Stripes
- 3, Damon Albarn, Blur
- 3, Jeff Tweedy, Wilco
- 2, Aphex Twin
- 2, Billy Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins
- 2, Colin Meloy, Decemberists
- 2, Daft Punk
- 2, Dave Grohl, Foo Fighters/Nirvana
- 2, Johnny Greenwood, Radiohead
- 2, Josh Homme, QOTSA
- 2, Les Claypool, Primus
- 2, Maynard James Keenan, Tool
- 2, Ryan Adams
- 2, Stephen Malkmus /Pavement
Single mentions: Aesop Rock, Amy Winehouse, Andre 3000, Big Boi, Bradley Nowell /Sublime, Cat Power, Chris Cornell /Soundgarden, Colin Stetson, Connor Oberst /Bright Eyes, Craig Finn /The Hold Steady, David Sitek /TV on the Radio, David Thomas /Pere Ubu, Derek Trucks, Dr. Dre, El-P, Elliott Smith, Frank Black /Pixies, Gary Louris /Jayhawks, Henry Rollins /Black Flag, Ian MacKaye, Imogen Heap, J Mascis /Dinosaur Jr., James Mercer /Shins, JayZ, Jeff Mangum /Neutral Milk Hotel, Jim James /My Morning Jacket, Jimmy Tamborello /Dntel, Jonsi /Sigur Ros, Justin Townes Earle*, Kanye, Ketch Secor /OCMS, Kurt Vile, Laura Marling, Mark Olson /Jayhawks, Morrissey /The Smiths, Nas, Nick Cave, Patterson Hood /Drive-By Truckers, Paul Westerberg /Replacements, Richard Thompson, Rivers Cuomo /Weezer, Seu Jorge, Steve Albini, Sufjan Stevens, Susan Tedeschi, Rza /Wu-Tang, Todd Snider, Trent Reznor /NIN, Win Butler /Arcade Fire, Eugene Hutz /Gogol Bordello), Esperanza Spalding, PJ Harvey. Dan Auerbach /Black Keys.
Now then, here’s Kanick putting them into the buckets I used with my generation’s artists. There is no pride of ownership here.
Kurt Cobain, Beck, Thom Yorke.
Albarn, Grohl, Greenwood, Homme, Keenan, Tweedy, Jack White, Secor.
/realizes this is beyond ridiculous.
Now I’m not saying there’s anything in the internet code of ethics that requires a blogger to know what he’s talking about. But when the subject is music common sense — common decency — requires that I stand down.
My main take.
My thesis, if you hadn’t read between the lines, was loosely: music isn’t as good as it used to be. The thinking of it jolted me because: that’s what 50 year olds have always said about current music since forever.
My takeaway, having read the responses is that the music is still there but the open distribution channels available now have changed everything. Artists can work within segments and their audiences find them. I won’t even start to categorize the different types of music comprised in the artists above.
But I’m satisfied there’s something in there I can latch on to.
And also, there have been no albums like as shown at right, so you’re all maybe actually ahead.
* Not sure where JT Earle fits, but … somewhere.