I like the music of the 70’s when the electric guitar came into its own, and like some of the 50’s and 60’s music as well. But the music of the 80’s, for me, represents the pinnacle of rock. The 90’s and after basically blew chunks. Oh, there was some good music still made after 1989, but all that was any good at all was basically throwbacks or retro songs that were clones of the 80’s style. I like a few bands from after 1989, such as Train, Third Eye Blind, and so on, but I believe the grunge style of music that came out of Seattle in the 90’s, as popularized by bands such as Nirvana, was the death knell of good music.
Soon into the 90’s I found myself rarely listening to the radio anymore with the crud they were playing. Even classic rock stations became an endangered species, and good ones are even rarer these days. I would be lost now without my mp3 player with its treasure trove of mostly 80’s tunes. I don’t even turn on the radio anymore. Back in the 80’s I used to be on top of virtually everything about the modern music scene, even in genres I wasn’t a fan of, but now, I know next to nothing of what is hot, what is popular, and what is not. But I don’t care, because it is all crud to me. As far as music goes, I’m living in the past, and couldn’t be happier and couldn’t care less.
Another thing I lament is the demise of the guitar solo, kind of like the demise of the complete game shutout in baseball. Back in my day, nearly every song went by variations of the same formula, basically two verses, then a bridge and a guitar solo, possibly followed by a third verse and oftentimes not. It was almost a requirement to have a guitar solo in a song, even in pop. Nowadays you would be hard pressed to find any guitar solos in any popular songs, not that I listen to them, but when I do I never hear a solo.
Beginning in the 70’s and continuing in the 80’s, the solo became such a staple that some guitar virtuosos, such as Joe Satriani and others, gave up the vocals and the verses, and made entire songs out of guitar solos. To me, nothing sounds better than a wailing, distorted, effected-out guitar singing and screaming in a recording and especially when it replaces the vocalist at the forefront for a solo or a break. I could go on and on and list the best and my favorite guitarists and solos, but that would go on and on for pages, so I won’t even get started.
Just suffice it to say that I am very sorry that both my kind of music and the guitar solo both seemed to die at the same time, right around 1990. To be honest, I just don’t get what the younger generation sees in the crud they call music. But then my parents and those older than me could never see what I found so great and fascinating about the arena and big-hair rock of the 80’s. So I guess the cycle goes round and round endlessly. Each generation seems to have its own music that helps to define it. And since some of the best years of my life were spent in the 80’s and that was when I learned to love music and play the guitar, it is the songs of that decade that defines not only my taste in music, but part of my life. Each time I listen to one, it takes me back to a certain time, or a certain place, or a certain person, and they are mostly good memories. No other music can do that for me.