The Instigator
HyenaD
Con (against)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
wierdman
Pro (for)
Winning
5 Points

Music was better in the 1970s than it is now

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
wierdman
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/26/2011 Category: Arts
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,597 times Debate No: 19498
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (0)
Votes (2)

 

HyenaD

Con

Many music fans posit that music was so much better in the 1970s than it is now. I think that's ridiculous.
wierdman

Pro

I accept and await your argument.
Debate Round No. 1
HyenaD

Con

There seems to be this romanticization of music from the 1970s, and in my opinion it's unwarranted.

The people who argue for that music's superiority often point to what they see as the lowered standards of music in popular media. They point to groups like Led Zeppelin, and then talk about how much better that stuff is than, say, Justin Bieber. What is ignored with this comparison is the parallels that these bands have across their times. It's important to remember, for every vapid pop group of today, there was a bland radio rock or manufactured bubblegum group from back then. Advocates of music from the 1970s often overlook the insufferable vapidness of formulaic pleasant pop songs by groups like Air Supply. People seem to overlook the fact that groups like Led Zeppelin weren't dominating the charts - people like Barbara Streisand were.

If we look at heavy rock music from the 1970s, we see a lot of great groups, including some of the bands that paved the way for heavy metal - Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper and Led Zeppelin, for example. Yes, these bands were crucial for a lot of the music that came later, but the fact that it came first doesn't necessarily make it better. Yes, those three bands are hard to compete with, since they're three of the most revered names in hard rock. However, most of the bands around then were much lesser, and are quite easy to compete with: Uriah Heep, Free, Rush, Aerosmith, Hawkwind, KISS. . . .
Comparable acts are still around. Once Black Sabbath appealed to people because they were the heaviest band around (or one of them, along with groups like Blue Cheer). That style is still around, and now there are a ton of bands that picked things up where Black Sabbath left off. And while all these bands carry Black Sabbath's influence, I would even argue that they're not any less individualistic or unique than Sabbath. Sure, Black Sabbath seem visionary, but their downtuned guitars had been done before by groups like Blue Cheer, the Jimi Hendrix Experience and the MC5, their style was taken straight from Chicago blues, and their obsession with dark themes also came from the influence of the blues, at least initially - think of Robert Johnson's "Crossroad Blues" - a song about selling your soul to the devil. Just as groups as Black Sabbath and the others I've listed built upon the blues, the heavy metal bands of today built on their work, along with such things as noise rock and gothic rock. And now, instead of there being a few loud blues rock bands, there are entire scenes. From that sound came entire genres: out of Scandinavia came black metal, which melded thrash, noise rock, hardcore punk and satanic themes. Some huge names came out of that scene, like Mayhem, Bathory and Gorgoroth. Out of Southern California came desert rock, with a ton of influential bands like Fu Manchu and Kyuss (whose guitarist, Josh Homme, would go on to lead one of the most famous rock acts in the world, Queens of the Stone Age). From Seattle exploded the Seattle Sound, latter dubbed "grunge" - heavy bands that melded metal with hardcore punk - bands like Soundgarden and Nirvana. And there are still tons of other movements - doom metal, sludge metal, drone metal . . . all focusing on building on that downtuned sound in different ways, to express themselves in a variety of directions.

The 70s, being a time of diversity for music, also spawned a lot of what would become the sounds of the underground. It was the decade punk rock was born (arguably, though some would date that back to 60s garage rock), and out from that came a ton of sounds, like goth, industrial and hardcore. What we might consider today's "indie" sound could even be said to have originated in the 70s, because of groups like Joy Division. And, of course, it was a time when the artistic underground was pushed into pop music by the more ambitious figures of glam rock, like David Bowie, Lou Reed and Brian Eno (then of Roxy Music).
Certainly, these branches are interesting, but they're just one part of a continuum. Punk branched off from earlier sounds itself (garage, surf, bubblegum, avant-garde), and its descendants would continue to split out later on. Yeah, goth started, but the early goth bands barely hinted at what was to come, with the deathrock music of the 80s still to follow, as well as gothic metal. Industrial was in a fetal stage itself - back then, it was a bunch of non-musician artists (Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire, SPK) experimenting with noise. Later it would take shape with percussion and even tribal sounts (Einst´┐Żrzende Neubauten, Test Dept.), electronic dance music (Front Line Assembly and electro-industrial), and, of course, alternative rock (Nine Inch Nails). Instead of a few disparate artists in the US, UK and Australia, it became a huge scene with its own dedicated audience. And instead of the majority never getting to hear it, it's now easily accessible, both online and in any city. Hardcore grew even more rapidly. In the late 70s and early 80s, it was a small group of kids venting their rage. They were disliked by the artsy punk community, and didn't have much of an audience. That changed - Black Flag's influence grew throughout the 80s, and now tons of heavy punk bands exist. Minor Threat, which was just some angry teenagers, spawned an entire scene of kids dedicated to sobriety and positive thinking (straight edge), and today bands like Have Heart have pushed those kids' ranting to much more expressive heights. From that scene also came groups like Fugazi, who in more recent times made the music much more complex and expressive, while maintaining the passion. And, of course, those artsy punk bands and their diverse sounds live on as well, but are used by others as building blocks for their own sounds. For example, the Ramones can be heard in garage punk groups like the New Bomb Turks, but that band is not constrained to that sound - they meld it with a variety of other influences. And now, instead of one thrashy garage/surf band in new york, there are a ton of bands that carry on that same vibe in any city you go to. Quirky bands like Richard Hell & The Voidoids and Television have inspired tons of "indie" and "alternative" bands, while noisier bands like DNA gave rise to more skilled noise bands like Sonic Youth. Again, from those few bands, a ton grew around them. The great radical proclamations of the Clash live on through bands like Against Me! and the Gaslight Anthem, and these bands carry their own voices and influences to meld with that sound (folk, in the first case). Those 70s bands were no more original than these - the Ramones drew from garage rock bands like the Stooges and pop groups like the Shangri-Las, and in turn these more recent groups drew from them.

Some complain about the simplicity of today's dance music, but they forget about the 70s own simple dance music: disco. Disco was manufactured and made for mass consumption. After the 70s it would be improved upon with new artistic ideas to give rise to everything from house music to techno. We have Lady Gaga and Justin Timberlake in the mainstream, and LFO on the underground (with people like Moby as the missing link); they had Chic and the Bee Gees. Our dance music today is more complex and expressive than it ever was before, if only because of technological constraints.

Hip-Hop also grew, from a few block parties in the Bronx to a style used in some cases to address social issues (dead prez, K'naan, The Coup), and in others to push music in directions that would've been unimaginable previously (DJ Spooky).

To summarize,

1) there was a lot of bland, manufactured, soulless music dominated the media back then, too - we just remember some good stuff

2) everything that existed back then still exists, just in greater abundance now, and

3) today's bands are no less original. Everyone must draw from something - imagination is synthesizing ideas you've been exposed to.
wierdman

Pro

I affirm the following resolution: Resolved Music was better in the 1970s than it is now.

True music is defined by its originality, its beat, as well as its meaning. It seems that the main difference between the music from the 70's and our current music is not the beat but the originality and the meaning.

Originality: When looking at originality, we find that the 70's was a time where musics where unique and when different genres where formed. What makes the 70's music better than ours is the fact that during those periods, a revolution concerning the variety of music occurred. This revolution created a situation in which music during these times showed noting other than share originality, creative imagination, as well as the incorporation of emotion into your music. The fact is no matter how much we try, every music we create seem to be similar with other musics. The base has been created by the 70's and the best we can do now is follow this base in creating music that excites us but fails to incorporate originality.

Meaning: This topic deals with the message that music itself sends out to the public Every music is rated based on its message. During the 70's not only was there a wide variety of music as well as music types, but there was also the incorporation of emotion within your music. This not only created a situation in which the meaning of a song in magnified, but it also made it easy for the singer to extend the purpose of the music to the audience. In our current day, the message broadcast ed in music itself is so limited that a majority of our music deals with "love" or how had ones life was. An examination of the top ten music of 2011, shows us that not only do these message fail to broadcast the morals of life or the importance of been a good citizen, but they also broad cast a wide variety of violence and bad morals.

1
1970's-Imagine-John Lennon
2011-We Found Love- Rianna
2
1970's-American Pie- Don Mclean
2011-Sexy and I Know It-LMFAO
3
1970's-I will Survive-Gloria Gaynor
2011-Someone Like You-Adele
4
1970's-The Knack-My Sharona
2011-Without you-David & Usher
5
1970's-Rainbow connection-Kermit the frog
2011-It will Rain
6
1970's-I can see clearly Now-Jonny Nash
2011-Moves Like Jagger- Moroons 5 & Christina Aguilera
7
1970's-O-o-h Child-The Five Stairsteps
2011-Good Feeling- Flo Rida
8
1970's-Baby Come Back-player
2011-Stereo Hearts-Gym Class
9
1970's-Easy-Commodores
2011-Take Care-Drake
10
1970's-Seals and Crofts-Summer Breeze
2011-The One That Got Away

http://top10070s.blogspot.com...
http://www.billboard.com...

When looking at a lot of these songs, you will find that in the &0's area, there is a lot of variety ranging from rock, pop, e.t.c as well as the variety in both the music itself and the meaning. On the other hand, the 2011 chart shows very small amount of difference in terms of similarity and differences.




" there was a lot of bland, manufactured, soulless music dominated the media back then, too - we just remember some good stuff"

This statement is highly flawed. The fact that the 70's was the pinochle of music variation itself, simply shows that it presents excitement that can't be found today. Every music presented in the 70's seems to take root from basis that haven't been explored before them. The fact is that we, copy so much from the 70's that our music presents a certain bland taste. Predictable lyrics also adds to the blandness-if you will-of the music.

"everything that existed back then still exists, just in greater abundance now"

This statement simply supports my point that we copy so much from the 70's that we tend to lack originality. The fact that there was such a small number for each genre simply adds to the excitement.

"today's bands are no less original. Everyone must draw from something - imagination is synthesizing ideas you've been exposed to."

It is true that everyone must draw from something however, the 70's not only drew there inspiration from unusual sources, the made it so diverse from there source, that it makes it almost impossible to trace there music back to a base without proper research.
Imagination is exploring and changing every idea that you are exposed to and making it your idea. This is what the 70's has done. Unlike today, the 70's transformed basis into legends and made it there own.




Thank you and i await your response.
Debate Round No. 2
HyenaD

Con

"When looking at originality, we find that the 70's was a time where musics where unique and when different genres where formed. What makes the 70's music better than ours is the fact that during those periods, a revolution concerning the variety of music occurred. This revolution created a situation in which music during these times showed noting other than share originality, creative imagination, as well as the incorporation of emotion into your music. The fact is no matter how much we try, every music we create seem to be similar with other musics."

I really question the notion that the basis for these styles of music lay in the 1970s. Every style of music from the 70s sounds like something that came earlier, or a mix and match of things that came earlier. Punk bands sound a lot like garage rock and surf rock bands in some cases, and bubblegum pop in others. The heavy blues sound of groups like Led Zeppelin was literally taken from electric Chicago blues folks, like Howlin' Wolf. Progressive rock groups like Yes and Emerson, Lake & Palmer were literally borrowing song structures from art music of the baroque era. The German krautrock groups like CAN and Neu! were essentially popularizing avant-garde sounds that had been pioneered by avant-garde composers like Iannis Xenakis back in the 1950s, and free jazz pioneers like John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman in the 1960s. No matter how they tried, musicians in the 1970s were simply tying together sounds they had been exposed to. We are indebted to the 1970s because their music and the music they influenced is in the catalogue of sounds we can draw from, just as they were indebted to those who had come before them. We are no more indebted to the 1970s than we are to the 1950s or the 1990s.

"Meaning: This topic deals with the message that music itself sends out to the public Every music is rated based on its message. During the 70's not only was there a wide variety of music as well as music types, but there was also the incorporation of emotion within your music. [...] In our current day, the message broadcast ed in music itself is so limited that a majority of our music deals with "love" or how had ones life was. An examination of the top ten music of 2011, shows us that not only do these message fail to broadcast the morals of life or the importance of been a good citizen, but they also broad cast a wide variety of violence and bad morals."

The problem with this sentiment is that you're looking specifically at top 10 music. Looking up a random year, 1974, we see that the top 5 hits were:

1. The Way We Were - Barbara Streisand
2. Time in a Bottle - Jim Croce
3. (I've Been Searchin') for So Long - Chicago
4. I Honestly Love You - Olivia Newton-John
5. Haven't Got Time for the Pain - Carly Simon

(http://www.mbgtop40.com...)

Here's a sample of the #1 song's lyrics:
"If we had the chance to do it all again
tell me would we? Could we?
Memories, may be beautiful and yet
what's too painful to remember
we simply choose to forget
So it's the laughter we will remember
whenever we remember
the way we were."
Clearly, a love song. I can't imagine the lyrics to "I Honestly Love You" are much more enlightened.
Certainly, there were politically conscious songwriters in the 70s. For example, the band Crass advocated for animal rights. And of course, there were plenty of politically active folk musicians, though they were often drawing heavily from music people like Woody Guthrie had done in the 1950s and earlier.

Today there is still plenty of politically conscious music. The entire straight edge genre of hardcore punk emphasizes sobriety and the dangers of substance abuse. Bands like Atari Teenage Riot and Rage Against the Machine have become icons of political action. My opponent also mentions the emphasis on violence in modern music, but I'd like to point out that the violent imagery utilized by these bands often exists to make a political point itself. A genre that often gets criticized for its emphasis on violent imagery is gangsta rap, but let's examine one of the pioneering songs of this genre, "Sound of da Police" by KRS-One:
"The overseer rode around the plantation
The officer is off patroling all the nation
The overseer could stop you what you're doing
The officer will pull you over just when he's pursuing
The overseer had the right to get ill
And if you fought back, the overseer had the right to kill
The officer has the right to arrest
And if you fight back they put a hole in your chest!"
As you can see, the violent imagery in this song is used to illustrate the hardships of inner city life, to address the issue of police brutality, and to address racial inequality.
Most of the politically conscious music made in the 1970s was not in the top 10, and the same goes for 2011.

The problem with the list of song comparisons my opponent has made is that they are poorly matched. Every song shown from 2011 draws from R&B-influenced pop music, whereas his sampling of music from the 1970s draws from everything from new wave to folk-rock. Let's take music with greater comparisons. Instead of comparing new wave group The Knack to R&B artist Usher, let's compare them to the very popular post-punk influenced group Interpol, a band that often focuses on alienation and depression. Instead of comparing sensitive singer-songwriter Don McLean to dance music producers LMFAO, let's compare him to Tom Morello's folk project, The Nightwatchman, which focuses on economic hard times and political struggles. Instead of comparing peace icon John Lennon to reggae-influenced pop diva Rhianna, let's compare him to Peter Doherty of The Libertines and Babyshambles, who writes about his observations of youth culture and life in England. And let's compare pop-rapper Drake to one of the original pop-rap groups of the 1970s, the Sugarhill Gang, who sang in their top 10 hit of 1979, "Rapper's Delight":
"I said a hip hop the hippie the hippie
to the hip hip hop, a you don't stop
the rock it to the bang bang boogie say up jumped the boogie
to the rhythm of the boogie, the beat"

"The fact that the 70's was the pinochle of music variation itself, simply shows that it presents excitement that can't be found today. Every music presented in the 70's seems to take root from basis that haven't been explored before them [...] Predictable lyrics also adds to the blandness-if you will-of the music."

The idea that the 1970s are a pinnacle of music (pinochle is a card game, I think) seems completely subjective. The music of the 1970s ties together what came before; it does not explore completely new territory, because that's not how imagination works. Anything you come up with is a synthesis of what you've been exposed to. You can't pull anything out of thin air.
If we have bland taste for borrowing certain elements from their music, a flawed notion in itself as it assumes that everything made in this day and age is just a rehashing, then I would say that by that standard people in the 1970s must have had bland taste themselves, given the fact that they were listening to what was essentially blues music played by bands like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, garage rock played by the bands of the punk movement, etc. As for bland lyrics, see the Sugarhill Gang lyrics above.

"This statement simply supports my point that we copy so much from the 70's that we tend to lack originality. The fact that there was such a small number for each genre simply adds to the excitement."

The small number of bands simply means that fewer people were creating, which means it had less creative input than today.

"The 70's not only drew their* inspiration from unusual sources"
Many drew from popular blues musicians. Bands today still draw from the avant-garde, as well as recent developments in art music, like chance music. Today we have drone - very unusual stuff, I must say. Today some rock groups play with pure noise.
Thank you for debating me!
wierdman

Pro

"I really question the notion that the basis for these styles of music lay in the 1970s. Every style of music from the 70s sounds like something that came earlier, or a mix and match of things that came earlier. Punk bands sound a lot like garage rock and surf rock bands in some cases, and bubblegum pop in others. The heavy blues sound of groups like Led Zeppelin was literally taken from electric Chicago blues folks, like Howlin' Wolf. Progressive rock groups like Yes and Emerson, Lake"

This statement is illogical becuase I mentionerd earlier, the 70's indeed use basis from previous years, but the improved and transformed this basis to actual genres. In our current day, we have not created any specific or even unique genres.

"The problem with this sentiment is that you're looking specifically at top 10 music. Looking up a random year, 1974, we see that the top 5 hits were:

1. The Way We Were - Barbara Streisand
2. Time in a Bottle - Jim Croce
3. (I've Been Searchin') for So Long - Chicago
4. I Honestly Love You - Olivia Newton-John
5. Haven't Got Time for the Pain - Carly Simon"

When looking at these lyrics, you find that it not only talks about love, buit also goes deep in analyzing true human emotions. It does not talk about love as a part of nature, but talks of the emotion that leads to love, the feelings that drives you to proclaime that you love someone.

"The problem with the list of song comparisons my opponent has made is that they are poorly matched. Every song shown from 2011 draws from R&B-influenced pop music, whereas his sampling of music from the 1970s draws from everything from new wave to folk-rock. Let's take music with greater comparisons. Instead of comparing new wave group The Knack to R&B artist Usher, let's compare them to the very popular post-punk influenced group Interpol, a band that often focuses on alienation and depression. Instead of comparing sensitive singer-songwriter Don McLean to dance music producers LMFAO, let's compare him to Tom Morello's folk project, The Nightwatchman, which focuses on economic hard times and political struggles. Instead of comparing peace icon John Lennon to reggae-influenced pop diva Rhianna, let's compare him to Peter Doherty of The Libertines and Babyshambles, who writes about his observations of youth culture and life in England. And let's compare pop-rapper Drake to one of the original pop-rap groups of the 1970s, the Sugarhill Gang, who sang in their top 10 hit of 1979, "Rapper's Delight":
"I said a hip hop the hippie the hippie
to the hip hip hop, a you don't stop
the rock it to the bang bang boogie say up jumped the boogie
to the rhythm of the boogie, the beat"

The only problem with this analysis is the fact that I did not compare these musics based on genre but based on there popularity. The fact is that if a music is popular, then there is sure to be another if not more that directly compies its style, thus it is only relevent that i choose the best of 2011 asefined by there popularity and the billboards.

"The idea that the 1970s are a pinnacle of music (pinochle is a card game, I think) seems completely subjective. The music of the 1970s ties together what came before; it does not explore completely new territory, because that's not how imagination works. Anything you come up with is a synthesis of what you've been exposed to. You can't pull anything out of thin air.
If we have bland taste for borrowing certain elements from their music, a flawed notion in itself as it assumes that everything made in this day and age is just a rehashing, then I would say that by that standard people in the 1970s must have had bland taste themselves, given the fact that they were listening to what was essentially blues music played by bands like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, garage rock played by the bands of the punk movement, etc. As for bland lyrics, see the Sugarhill Gang lyrics above."

Ones again, i am forced to say that the seventies did base there music on previous mnusic, but did not stay with the traditional form. They revolutionalized it and turned it into something that they can own up to. My opponent fails to understand the fact that just becuase you are exposed to a certain type of music doesn't mean that you have to strick with it. Just like averything else in this world, music can be improved upon and that is exactly what the seventies did.

Thank you for a wonderful round.
Debate Round No. 3
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Vote Placed by phantom 5 years ago
phantom
HyenaDwierdmanTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Awesome debate >"everything that existed back then still exists, just in greater abundance now" < Ridiculous! Pro also wins on originality and revolution.
Vote Placed by SquadSix 5 years ago
SquadSix
HyenaDwierdmanTied
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Total points awarded:32 
Reasons for voting decision: Well this was a good read but hard to chose. I wish you would have expanded from todays main stream media and go into Power Metal, Folk, and even Country. Bands today are better but you can't beat the classics!