Thursday, 11 September 2014

Odd Thoughts On The Train: How Does It Sound Today?

In 'odd thoughts on the train tonight' I was mulling over how music sounds to people today. I'd been talking to a colleague at work about the film 'Pride' and its great soundtrack and then, on the walk to the station, started thinking about earlier music. 'Pride' is set in 1984 and 1985 and I went back to 1977 and hearing The Ramones and The Buzzcocks and how their music had been featured in adverts. Seeing Tommy Ramone as Uncle Monk a few years back in New York (I shook his hand, one of the Ramones brothers!). And then I remembered that 'Anarchy In The UK' by The Sex Pistols popped up on my iPod the other day and how it still sounded visceral and scary. And I wondered how people hear that music today?

Back in the late 70s punk music was the enemy and The Sex Pistols were banned almost everywhere they tried to play. It was rebellion and activism at the same time, a threat to society and something to set us free. It was challenging and that's why I liked it. I'd bought punk records before but it was 'Pretty Vacant' by the Pistols that made me a punk. It was an anthem, a war cry, a call to arms, all in a three minute pop song. It worked for me.

How does it sound today? How do first-time listeners react to it? I don't know because I've been listening to it for 37 years and still love that call-to-arms guitar intro from Steve Jones. If you were 17 and heard it for the first time today how would it affect you (if at all)? Is it just old music from a 70s band that had a few hits?

I remember getting angry (and I mean really angry) when I heard the Buzzcocks 'Ever Fallen In Love' (the version by Nouvelle Vague I think) used in a car advert. How dare they? How dare they corrupt something as pure as that song into a song to sell cars?  That's sacrilege and a crime. Of course, Pete might have needed the money so I mellowed but it does raise some questions about whose song it really is.

How do people hear these songs today? Are they historical old pop songs or are they still radical? I have no idea.

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