Social Question

john65pennington's avatar

Will soul ever return to the music?

Asked by john65pennington (29253points) February 12th, 2012
44 responses
“Great Question” (3points)

I was there when Chuck Berry sang Johnny B. Goode in the late 50s. I was there when The Shirelles sang Soldier Boy on the same stage as Chuck Berry. They sang their heart and souls out to entertain the audience. Their brows sweat, but it was a sweet, soulful sweat they all loved, because they were making music for history. Today, it’s all electric drums and electronic gizmos that have taken the place of the soulful artists on stage and in the recording studio. Question: will this great time in music ever be back again or will generations to come have to only listen to CDs and view old-time videos of a time never more? I was there when it all happened the first time and it was fabulous.

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tranquilsea's avatar

Music, like so much of life, is on a pendulum swing.

Grunge rock was in answer to all the glam rock out there.

In the midst of all this techno music you find gems like, Blower’s Daughter by Damien Rice.

As bands search to differentiate themselves from the masses they will go in opposite directions and people will take notice because it’s different.

john65pennington's avatar

Tranquilsea…...I hope so.

tranquilsea's avatar

@john65pennington I have faith. My 16 year old son finds bands that are not techno nor tone corrected and he loves them.

JLeslie's avatar

Did you listen to Adele just now on the grammy’s? She is awesome, and 100% voice. True voice.

john65pennington's avatar

Jude, great song by a great Nashville artist.

Tranquilsea, tell him to keep searching and hit the studios ASAP.

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

Does the use of synths and drum machines mean this track has no soul? Listen to the lyrics!!

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

I prefer Nat King Cole, Vera Lynn, and Louise Armstrong to the groups you are describing.

You may be confusing Nostalgia for talent.

gorillapaws's avatar

The thing that really gets under my skin is that “artists” don’t write any of their own music anymore. It’s all glam, like in the 80’s with attactive people getting dressed up in glitzy outfits, and dancing around on stage with an abundance of lights and glitz and no real talent. I’d love to see things go back into the grunge/soul/blues/jazz direction of being honest. It’s like the music industry is hell-bent on turning music into an easily manufacturable comodity instead of recognizing and cultivating true talent.

There was a band I used to really like back in the late 90’s/early 2000’s that got signed to a major label. They turned the group’s sound from a very natural and organic southern jam into an overproduced pop/rock thing. It was really sad to see.

filmfann's avatar

Check out Mayer Hawthorne’s The Walk

King_Pariah's avatar

I think there are definitely artists who put forth great effort and soul into their music, who make music because they enjoy it and not just because of money.

James Blunt I think is a great example as well as Damien Rice (mentioned above) especially when he was with Lisa Hannigan

dappled_leaves's avatar

There are lots of great, soulful artists out there; it’s the delivery that’s changing. You can’t expect to hear it on the radio – that’s been taken over by pre-packaged autotuned crap. Talk to people who love music, and share your own ideas – it strikes me that Fluther is a good place to do this, but there are others – keep an eye out for blogs and columns about artists in the genres you like. They will be out there.

Jude's avatar

Listen to @dappled_leaves.

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

Mark Knopfler on the Fender Stratocaster

Mark Knopfler: “Some people when they first heard that noise (electric guitar chord played with vibrato from the whammy bar), the old generation, boy, they really hated it. But we don’t.”

Interviewer: “Because they felt it was contrived?”

Mark Knopfler: “I suppose they did, yeah. I suppose so, they must have. Which is probably why my folks wanted me to play the violin. But I wanted to go… (plays rock and roll riff)

Jude's avatar

^^ Yesssssssssssss!!

(what he said, but, mainly because I like his guitar playing. :))

AshLeigh's avatar

There are still some very raw, and beautiful bands out there.
If a song can’t affect my mood, it’s not worth listening to.
I still listen to a lot of older music (Joan Jett. Just sayin’), but I do like some of the newer bands/artists.
Eve Six, Anderlin, and The Pretty Reckless are God’s gift to me. :)

Aethelflaed's avatar

You know that Adele just won all the Grammys, right?

AshLeigh's avatar

<—Doesn’t enjoy Adele.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@AshLeigh I don’t, either. But, I get that the reason she’s so popular and so critically acclaimed is the soulfulness in her music, so it seemed appropriate to bring her up on a thread complaining that there was no more soul in music.

cazzie's avatar

I find that there is still every type of music being made out there, but with all the crap commercialisation of the music industry, you have to look harder for it.

I really like Adele, but her stuff is so overplayed, I grow tired of it quickly.

xnightflowerx's avatar

Its all still there. You just have put effort into finding it and you have to really be willing to become part of your local/regional music communities. There is so much good music out there played by absolutely wonderful people who do it because they love it, most aren’t playing to make a living, they’re playing to get enough gas money to make it to the next show, to buy a new amp, get their cds/records pressed to sell at shows and keep their vans running. They need and deserve your support!

A couple of my buddies are in two bands and sub in for a couple other bands and make solo tunes on the side. On top of full time jobs. One is an engineer and the other is a graphic designer. They pour everything they have into music. And it comes out in the music they make. This is the case for so many musicians.

How music is made has evolved and there’s more of it out there now and a lot of genres have meddled into each other. Yeah there’s plenty of crap. Turn off your radio and go find some local bands and singers and you’ll likely find all that soul you miss, it might not be soul the genre, but it will have soul and spirit and power and sweat. Keep an open mind to new stuff, its not all gonna sound like the oldies.

Personally, I always feel so much soulfulness pouring out of my favorite rocksteady/ska/reggae bands..
Deal’s Gone Bad – Things Are Gonna Get Better and Be Mine Tonight
The Pinstripes (Alright Baby is great. I’m really fond of dancing around to One Drop and The Wokkabout, Give Some Love is good too.)

Also, Brian Fallon has one of best voices in music today, and he’s in two wonderful bands plus some solo stuff, I implore you all to check his stuff out (: You won’t regret it…
The Horrible Crowes – Behold the Hurricane (this whole album is AMAZING)
The Gaslight Anthem – Orphans and Great Expectations
Brian Fallon – Goodnight Irene and No Weather

Here’s a few great powerful, emotional songs I love:
Frightened Rabbit – The Modern Leper
The Tallest Man on Earth – Gardener
The Frames – Revelate (couldn’t find a video with just this song, there’s another song after it too. Anyways, its powerful and full of heart. This band is amazing.)

Here’s one of my local favs from where I live:
Jake Simmons & The Little Ghosts (Check out Gone a Long Time. If you like it listen to the whole album, its really great! (: )

And maybe none of this is your cup of tea, but all this music has a lot of soul to me. Its damn good stuff. It shakes my bones, it makes me feel. And I’ve seen a bunch of these bands live (as well as so so many more), and I always have amazing musical experiences at shows.

Point is. Its out there. Go find it and support it!

YoBob's avatar

IMHO, it never left. It’s just that you don’t see it in the mass marketed lowest common denominator crap that gets all the publicity and cross licensing deals.

I have the good fortune to live in Austin, Texas. There are plenty of great “undiscovered” artists out there. It’s just that you have to go to those out of the way coffee houses and off beat restaurants in the later evening to catch them.

amujinx's avatar

People always lament about “soul” being gone from music, or how “no good music is made anymore” and the such. This is an absolute crock. Soul in music and performers never when anywhere. Music styles changed and your tastes didn’t. That’s all that happened. While I will agree that radio and music that people are aware of on a mass scale is heavily marketed and usually contrived and boring doesn’t make all music in any given time period like it.

@gorillapaws I have news for you; many artists from yesteryear didn’t write their own music either. How many songs did Sinatra write? Ella Fitzgerald? Elvis? Artists not writing their own material is hardly an issue with just today’s music scene.

john65pennington's avatar

Jude….I listened to Wye Oak and actually this is exactly what I was talking about. Two people and their electronic gizmos have taken away the soul of the music. What if the gizmos were replaced by real people with real instruments and playing them? Sorry, but I did not receive anything from their music. Had this been even a four-pience band, at least I could have seen their facial expressions of how much soul they were placing forth in this song.

Gizmos have taken over the sweat in a real, live musician. No soul, man.

Aethelwine's avatar

Have you listened to Old Crow Medicine Show @john65pennington? Is this what you are looking for? These guys are real, live musicians.

The soul is there, you just aren’t looking hard enough.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

@xnightflowerx I like your taste :)

xnightflowerx's avatar

@Michael_Huntington Thanks. (: Feel free to message me if you ever want music recommendations. I’m always open to them as well!

dappled_leaves's avatar

Ok, taking votes out of curiosity – which of these versions of The Tourist is the most “soulful”:

Radiohead’s original (very “produced” if I can say that, though I don’t think overproduced)


Sarah Jarosz’s cover (comparatively spare)

@Jude If you enjoy Allison Krauss, you should definitely check out Sarah Jarosz, especially her first album.

amujinx's avatar

@dappled_leaves I vote Radiohead, although Sarah Jarosz’s version is very good.

gorillapaws's avatar

@amujinx I very much disagree. First of all, Ella Fitzgerald was singing well-known classic songs, not strong-arming songwriters into pretending she wrote the material. It’s standard practice today for songwriters to have to surrender credit to their works in order to get them played. That’s an embarrassment, and it HAS changed a lot since the “good” old days. To the extent that Elvis and Sinatra engaged in this behavior, I think they are just as pathetic as anyone who does so today.

It’d be like having the dudes who read audiobooks forcing the authors to give them credit if they wanted to have their works published.

amujinx's avatar

@gorillapaws You are trying to make it sound like these artists are forcing people to write their songs for them and stealing credit. The songwriters are usually part of a think tank hired by the record labels to create songs for an artist. They still get paid, and still get credit for writing the song. Most just would prefer not to have their face associated with those songs, so they produce and song write instead.

In fact, there is a Christmas song that was recorded by Celine Dion that was written by Dee Snider. If you think for a second that Dee Snider had the song “stolen” from him, you are insane. He wrote it, and since it didn’t go well with his image, he sold it.

Also, the fact that you need to separate Ella Fitzgerald because she performed classic songs and not ones written for her is semantics. You said you didn’t like that artists now didn’t write their own music. Ella didn’t write her own music either. Just because you want to respect “classics” singers doesn’t change the fact she falls squarely into the same group of non-songwriters that you decided to rail against as a “new” thing.

Paradox25's avatar

Everything changes inevitably, including music. Technology obviously has taken alot of the ‘soul’ out of music to a far degree but there are always artists out there that march to the beat of their own drummer, even today. Adele is a very soulful artist in my opinion and I think she is one of the best singers ever and her music seems to have a hint of 60’s/70’s in it. Kelly Clarkson is another singer who comes to mind who sings with alot of heart.

john65pennington's avatar

Hiphophop, I listened to this song. After a minute into it, I felt like I should be seeing robots playing the drums in a video. Can robots produce soul?

I guess you figured it out that I do not like electronic drums. They are so obvious.

gorillapaws's avatar

@amujinx it’s about deception. Musicians today make it seem to the universe that they’re the ones writing it. Ask anyone who wrote <“insert recent popular song here”> and 10/10 people on the street are going to name whoever’s singing it on the radio, most won’t realize it’s been ghostwritten.

As for classic song issue, the point is that if I came out with a hit record singing Yankee Doodle, nobody would think I was the original songwriter. So it’s not a semantic difference at all, it’s about attributing a work to the person who created it. If it’s a well known song from the past, nobody will mistakenly credit you with creating the piece. And from what I understand of the industry, you can’t write music and sell it without surrendering your claim to the song. They’ve engineered the industry such that these make believe artists get to lay claim to other’s creative property because it will hurt their image if people knew what was really going on.

In the academic world, this is known as plagiarism, and I think it’s disgusting.

cazzie's avatar

If you are looking for real musicianship, you need to look grass roots these days. I love these guys… they are a group of unsigned musicians who are truly romantic and love performing live.

chocolatechip's avatar


The OP just hit on one of my greatest pet peeves when it comes to a discussion about music.

“Today, it’s all electric drums and electronic gizmos that have taken the place of the soulful artists on stage and in the recording studio. ”

No. You don’t know what you’re talking about. This statement is completely wrong.

To say that one medium of music production lacks “soul” compared to another is just wrong. Music production is just that – a medium, a way in which the artist translates a musical idea into a physical form. The emotional aspect of that idea does not change just because the medium is different.

BAD question.

cazzie's avatar

(old poster, but I so get what he means.) For some reason, this question sits in my head like a bee buzzing away and I feel it my mission to find you some music you can listen to and it will reinstate your faith in current music and musicians. There is so much out there. You just have to stop listening to crap they put on the radio and dig a bit.

A lovely album my hubby brought home a few weeks ago is a Brit band called Elbow and the album is Build a Rocket Boy. I am really into it and it isn’t often he brings home something I like.

Here is a little taste:

Let me know what you think and perhaps we can find you some new artists to follow.

Are you thinking of soul/funk with brass sections? What type of music gets you going?

cazzie's avatar

How about something like Adriana Evans?

There is some amazing stuff out of New Orleans. The band Galactic comes to mind… I’ll see if I can find something…

If you google New Orleans Soul music you are bound to find some amazing stuff.

When I’m looking for something new and interesting to listen to, I’ll go and see what NPR has been posting in their music section. They usually have a really eclectic mix that I can find something interesting in.

HungryGuy's avatar

Tell me this isn’t a awesome modern-day song with lots of emotion…

Earthgirl's avatar

HungryGuy I love Andrew Bird.
JohnPennington There is a lot of beautiful acoustic music being created today. I know you lean toward rock, but folk music is not what folk music was in the days of Woody Guthrie and Peter, Paul and Mary! No disrespect intended to them but folk music is way more broad today and encompasses many more diverse instruments. You can hear clarinets, xylophones, and mandolins in addition to drums and guitars. You must need to be open to it and give it a chance.

HungryGuy's avatar

@Earthgirl – And isn’t it amazing that he sounds like a whole orchestra, but he’s just one guy with a bajillion instruments hanging off him?

Earthgirl's avatar

HungryGuy He is totally amazing and who could fail to love a guy who has lyrics like Scotcthguard Mackintoshes shall be carbonized? I sa him at Carnegie Hall with Dosh. He kept his violin on his shoulder and would switch back and forth between guitar and violin as he wanted to.You can see it in this video with Dosh. Dosh does a lot of creative sythesizing and I am pretty sure he uses feedback loops. I don’t know if he uses it but it may be something like a tape delay looper pedal.
Here’s how KT Tunstall does it She calls it the “wee bastard pedal”, lol. It adds a lot of interesting effects to the music. I generally love acoustic and don’t like synthesized music but I make an exception for Dosh.

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