29 September 2008

Comparative Musicology, Progress/Stasis?

(Hat tip Lexington Green at Chicago Boyz)

If you didn't know better, and couldn't easily find out, say it was a mysterious recording of unknown origin and vintage of a local band that never made waves beyond their burg, would you be able to name the decade?

I posit that both the look, and the sound, of this band and song wouldn't be totally out of place had it been recorded in 1978, or 1988, or 1998, or 2008.

Is that progress, or stasis?

I suppose to prove my point I could come up with a Blondie vid from circa 1978, a No Doubt vid from circa 1998, and a Sounds vid from circa 2008 . . .

Not saying all of these songs are the same, but they all come from the same neighborhood of Musiclandia. The Sounds could have been around in 1978, but instead of being ironically post-new-wave, they would have been sincerely pre-new-wave, Blondie could have been around in 1998, even with their bouncy disco beat, No Doubt could have released Spiderwebs in 1988 as there was still a ska thing going around here in SoCal back then (which they were a part of as youngsters), and The Primitives could have a hit with Crash today. There isn't a song in the bunch that couldn't be released at any other period covered by the other songs. Even the modes of dress for the lead singers and bandmates wouldn't be entirely out of place in each others' time frames. Strange, that.

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