Monday, December 26, 2011

Music for the Ages?

The Czarina and I have been discussing popular music lately.  The concert featuring the Beatles tribute band a couple of weeks ago sparked this ongoing disagreement.  I believe that the songs created by The Beatles will be played in the decades and centuries to come.  Songs like "Yesterday, "Something," "Help," and even "She Loves You" have a polished quality and even joy that are difficult to shake.  The Czarina disagrees.

She maintains that The Beatles will never stay with us the way music created by Beethoven, Bach and Mozart has.  The Czarina believes that modern pop music is simply too simple to have the staying power that these giants of classical music created.  I understand where she's coming from.  A three minute pop song pales when you listen to the works of a master composer.  But I think she's missing the mark.

I think great popular music, whether it came from the 20's (Irving Berlin), the 30's (Benny Goodman or Glen Miller), the 50's (Hank Williams) and on through the years will always have a place in the musical lexicon that has yet to come.  The discussion gained added energy when because of one of my Christmas presents.  I received the box set of U2's "Achtung Baby", the Irish bands mind blowing album that opened the 1990's.

I hadn't cared much for U2 at all until I went to see them live on their Zoo TV tour in 1991 at Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium.  It was one of the great concert moments of my live.  Not only was it an overwhelming experience for the eyes and ears but something about the band captured my heart.  In that massive stadium they managed to reach into my soul and connect in a way that I hadn't experienced musically except on very rare occasions. 

As much as I love Bob Dylan and I've seen him more than a dozen times he's never come close to doing what they did that night.  Neil Young's done it only once in the more than half dozen times I've seen him live.  I can only name four or five times where I've been completely blown away at a concert.

U2 is one of those bands like The Beatles that I think will survive the passage of time.  The Czarina disagrees.  Modern music, whether it's Dylan or Springsteen, Neil Young, or ABBA, lacks the complexity in her mind to reach across the years.  I don't know about you but I can't see going out on a run while listening to Beethoven's 9th.  But an hour or so on the roads with U2 is a completely different matter.

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