Friday Fun: 4 Common Music Arguments

People argue passionately about music, but some discussions keep cropping up even when they're a load of bulls--t. Is music as good as it used to be.

Ultimate Guitar

People are passionate about music. It's why we're all here.

But sometimes these passions can erupt during a discussion and lead to full-scale arguments. It's never pretty, and people are rarely willing to back down when they think they're right.

Cracked recently posted a breakdown of four common music arguments, then translating them to expose what they really mean. We're giving it a fresh lick of UG paint to help arm our younger readers with a sensible open-minded attitude to the music world and its many facets.

01. "Music isn't as good as it used to be"

Translation: "I'm old and don't know how to use this computer thingy."

We've all remember hearing our parents say it. If they're a classic rock fan it might be true, but that's because classic rock has a specific historical meaning. But even so, there's plenty of awesome new music being made, and sweeping modern tracks under the carpet because you haven't heard them is a big fat fail.

Do you long for the psychedelic 1960s? Try Tame Impala. Miss the riff heavy 70s? Get some Black Moth on. Anyone longing for 80s style hardcore will probably get a kick out of Daughters. There's plenty of great new music out there if you can put some effort and time into using music services like, Soundcloud or Spotify. It's easier than complaining.

On the other hand, old recording techniques worked really well, and the prevalence of digital recording has lowered the barrier of entry so that bad producers can pump out music too. There's a plus side to making production accessible, but it's fair to say old recordings had really high standards.

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02. "I only listen to [insert obscure genre]"

Translation: "There is nothing interesting about me other than the music I listen to."

It's perfectly normal to align yourself with one area of music. A lot of people here are rockers, for example. But when people rant about how their niche collection of Radiohead b-sides is the only collection worth hearing, or how their Aphex Twin acid bass rarities are the greatest thing since a TB-303 and they only listen 24-bit master files to preserve all the original lo-fi nuances (groan), they're really saying one thing: "I have nothing interesting that defines me other than a snotty elitist iTunes catalog that no-one else will ever care about."

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03. "I only liked this band before they were popular."

Translation: "I only care about myself"

Some popular bands really do suck, but plenty of them deserve credit for achieving their long held dreams of being a rock star.

Take Green Day for example; they started out as many of us did, writing catchy punk songs as teenagers. They made their fame in the 1990s, but over the last decade they really hit the big time and became an all-time classic act. So why do people still complain about how they used to be better? A lot of these moaning losers seem to forget that Green Day were already popular before they knew how to hit a play button.

How about this: last weekend, Green Day played an impromptu set at Reading Festival. It was an immense display of showmanship from a band at the top of their game. Would a younger Green Day be able to pull that off? Not a chance. Sometimes the pressure of fame makes performers better, whether you want to acknowledge it or not.

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04. "American Idol ruined music"

Translation: "Seriously, American Idol ruined music."

We're not going to counter this one. Cracked argues that it takes talent to get on these shows, and it helps the winners become real stars. That much is true, but the fact remains that American Idol (and its ilk of dead-eyed talent shows like X Factor) have done a world of damage to the music world.

How could it be so bad? Two particular problems come to mind.

First, millions of young talented singers start to believe that the only way to 'make it' is to get through these auditions and make it on the show. Anything that counters the reality of hard work and networking is bad for the real music economy it's like that condition where millions of people genuinely believe they're destined to win a lottery to make their millions, and idly wait for it to happen rather than get up and put any effort into improving their life.

Second, it makes a parody of people who can't sing. We all know some entrants are bad, but to mislead them into getting through to a second round of the show after passing an off-camera initial audition, only to have the celebrity judges slam them is genuinely cruel. It's no way for a modern society to entertain itself and should stop.

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Do you disagree with any of these counter-arguments? What music myths would you like to dispel? Share your comments below.

47 comments sorted by best / new / date

    If you fall under the category of #2, and you TRULY only listen to one genre, what you're really saying is "I'm a giant douche". There is too much music out there that is worthy of liking. Don't be afraid to try it.
    Really? What if only one genre actually appeals to you? Just because its out there doesnt mean everyone has to like it and it doesnt mean it deserves appreciation
    If you only think one genre is appealing to you then you aren't looking hard enough for different music.
    I agree that you shouldn't try to make yourself like something, but to only like one genre is more or less showing that you don't really know that much about music imho
    exactly, for example, i love all kinds of heavy metal, and hardcore. but i also like listening to techno, electro house, dubstep. i'm not stuck up.
    I'll take this opportunity to share one of my favorite quotes; "If it sounds good, it is good", said by Duke Ellington. Who cares if it's old or new.
    Alas this list is missing the "you don't listen to the obscure bands I listen to, therefore you are stupid and I hate you" argument.
    Monsieur Folie
    UG Staff Guy 1: "What are we going to do? Every time we write an article, we get hounded for bad editing and general lack of substance and purpose in our writing!" UG Staff Guy 2: "Just copypasta an article from Cracked. People love that site!"
    UG has been copy and pasting articles from websites for years.... I find it odd that people are just starting to complain about it
    This article wasn't pasted! Everything I write for UG is fresh text. Cracked had credit for the points in the intro.
    "'Translation: "I'm old and don't know how to use this computer thingy.'" Also "I love to say that music isn't good today because it makes me look cool and I'm 15 years old". I ****ing love this new wave of hard rock/psychedelic rock. People with the "rabble rabble only Led Zeppelin is good rabble rabble" argument should really listen to Radio Moscow, Black Keys, the mentioned Tame Impala, Graveyard, Rival Sons, Samsara Blues Experiment... just to name a few.
    The black keys suck
    I like The Black Keys, and while I think they're just going down the hill with their last 2 albums, I hold a big respect for them for unveiling a shitload of bands of the same genre, getting contracts for them, etc. One of those is the aforementioned Radio Moscow.
    Right on. Good bands. Check out Bright Light Social Hour and The Sheepdogs as well.
    The more correct statement is "Music today isn't good". Music today honestly isn't as good as it used to be, but that doesn't mean that music today isn't good. The White Stripes, Young the Giant, The Kills, Tame Impala, Arctic Monkeys, and the Darkness all kick ass.
    Some great tips there, thanks. Name more!
    Firebird, Brutus, Witchcraft, Orchid (not to be confused with the metalcore band, this Orchid plays doom metal), The Sword, Arc of Ascent, Earl Greyhound, Siena Root, Hella Vader... and so it goes.
    Where is the source credit for this? This article is literally copied from
    Looks like we accidentally missed link link in the intro, it was definitely submitted. The text refers to the Cracked post twice. Will fix it.
    People who fall under the #3 category really piss me off. As if they are so much better than you for liking the band when they weren't well known.
    I take issue with #3. Most bands that make it big now days did so because they changed their sound at least somewhat. Contrary to what this writer says you AREN'T a douche bag because you prefer a band's old sound to their new. He's pretty flaming everyone in my generation that I know, because we all like old Green Day and not new Green day
    I respect new green day more than I like it...I think its good that they aren't trying to pump out records like Dookie anymore. They are in their late 30's so I think it would be weird if they were still singing songs about smoking tons of pot and masturbation
    The issue I take with green day is the very steriotypical "angry teenager" image they took up wearing all black and eyeliner etc that occured around the time of american idiot. Its as if they became so disconnected with real sense of rebellion that they had to reinvent themselfs as a cliche of rebellion, or else it was a marketing stunt to appeal to a target audience, it just seemed strange and I couldnt buy into it
    Delighted to see only tre is wearing eyeliner in the above video, and they really seem to be enjoying themselfs too so more power to them
    How is "modes" not up here? It's like, every single modes discussion turns into a holy war.
    I actually enjoyed this list. Also if you don't like the articles UG posts and just come to complain, it says less about UG and more about you. True Story
    Is all music as good or better than it used to be? Maybe, maybe not, there's really no way of knowing. But I think we can all agree mainstream rock music is worse than it's ever been.
    "It's too fast, there's no emotion in it." That argument has always irritated me to no end.
    Veronique Vega
    @jrodgers- I can see your point. Some bands, more than just Green Day, change their writing style after becoming successful so that all of their music sounds like their breakthrough hit single. Thats probably part of why so many people fall into the ' I like xxxxx before they made it big' thing.
    In addition to #4, I think another problem with American Idol-esque shows is that the fan base of the show doesn't necessarily translate into a fan base for the 'winning' act. People watch the show for the 'drama' of the competition, not to find a new artist to listen to, so in most cases the 'winning' artist still really doesn't make it big because they can't break into the actual music business by selling records. There are exceptions; Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Daughtry, to name a few, but for all the seasons of all the talent shows that have been on, the majority of 'winners' are back to working at McDonald's as soon as the next season airs.
    link no1
    "Cracked argues that it takes talent to get on these shows, and it helps the winners become real stars." Proof or it didn't happen.
    "Rock is dead" Translation: "I don't like today's rock music, so I'm gonna speak for everybody." Dear classic rock fans/musicians: Just because your era of rock is over, doesn't mean that rock music is no longer made and listened to. Classic rock isn't the only rock out there. Back in the day, people used to listen to stuff like "Generals gathered in their masses, just like witches at black masses." Now, most of them are listening to crap like "Baby, you light up my world like nobody else!" But that doesn't mean they all are. Suck it up and get over it.
    Even with the internet its hard to really find good new bands everything on tv is either rap or hip hop so in general im gonna say music was better back in the day then today we dont have any new bands with the potential as say van halen or rush
    I really enjoyed American Idiot from a musical/production stand point. But i do agree with you on the image thing. I was a little weirded out by the eyeliner.....
    I absolutely love the comment about Green Day. I'm a huge Green Day fan and I love hearing their new music even if some of it doesn't appeal to me..I still think its cool that a band can re-define themselves and still pump out an incredible live show with incredible music
    shred vs feel? thats a big one. and fact not all music is as good as it used to be. this radio mainstream crap is well...crap. but bands like alter bridge and taddy porter keep real rock alive. also anyone that does blues music like davy knowles.
    I love argument #1. The main thing, it seems, about "back then", would be that "good music" was more readily available. What these people don't realise is that there is equally good music around these days, just that in many cases you just have to look a bit harder, which I much prefer as it feels a lot more rewarding if you've come across a little known band that are brilliant purely by digging deep for it.
    I just wanted to post to say that it is ****ing awesome that you added Tame Impala to the article! They are easily one of the best modern bands, but they don't get enough recognition. I love '60s and '70s psychedelic rock, and Tame Impala are my favourite band. Their album 'Innerspeaker' is also my favourite album of all-time, and it was only released two years ago! Seriously, anyone reading this go and check out that album. It is ****ing mindblowing! Almost all of their music is written and recorded by one guy, Kevin Parker, and I seriously think he is a musical genius! They're from Perth in Western Australia and all the guys from Tame Impala play in other bands as well. The Perth music scene is a goldmine of amazing music. Also, check out Pond and Mink Mussel Creek. Those are side-projects from Tame Impala and they are very, very good. Sorry for the super long post, it's just that I've never seen them mentioned in a UG article before, and they really deserve more attention and recognition. They will be remembered as one of the greatest bands of this generation, so check them out!
    Music is Music. Its amazing it makes us. Music is a God given gift that holds the world together. New music now is well in a way kind of scary to think that this is what people consider "good" music. Now, that being said not all new music is garbage. I just think the artist that are popular now aren't really artist. I feel that they are talking about absolutely nothing at all. And its really sad that people go on Itunes and pay for 3-4 minutes of straight up trash. Thats just my two cents. We need someone to bring that real music back that doesnt just talk about drugs and sex but someone that raps/sings about the truth, about the problems of the world, about finding a way to help change the world. -Keezy