Do Music Scenes Exist Any More?
As a young teenager, I always liked the idea of being so deep into a music scene that it influenced how I dressed, what films I watched and who I was friends with. It was my sad realisation that life isn’t anything like Quadrophenia, and that most people tend not to pick a musical team in the same way anymore. Nowadays we can all listen to The Beatles and The Stones, Oasis and Blur without anyone blinking an eye. The modern musical landscape is far more diverse and more niches have been carved out, making it difficult to pick a side when all the lines are so blurred.
I was recently lucky enough to see James Blake perform live. It was in the queue that i realised that he doesn’t attract a type; as people of all ages, genders and dress sense where in attendance. This signified to me that we now live in an age where anyone can listen to a little bit of everything without that meaning anything. I haven’t heard anyone refer to an artist they listen to as a guilty pleasure in a long time. I don’t think it matters that the gang mentality of music is dying. Instead I see it as a very exiting time in which musicians can now taste flavours from anywhere on the musical buffet and produce something new and exciting.
Artists’ musical influences are often so broad now that it is impossible to categorise them with a one word term like Jazz or Funk, resulting in the creation of incredibly specific sub-genres called things like Post-Chillwave and Seapunk. These categorisations leave little room for artistic manoeuvre before someone in a blog declares the short-lived movement to be over.
James Blake’s success is a case in point. His father was in a progressive rock band, and one of his songs is the foundation of Blake’s The Wilhelm Scream. He has collaborated with musicians from all across the artistic spectrum including Chance the Rapper, RZA, Brian Eno, Rosalía and Bon Iver and always manages to make their styles fit his own. Blake’s open mind to collaboration with artists leaves us with distinctive, memorable and unique songs. If he had decided he had an unshakeable allegiance to one musical style when he was growing up, I doubt we’d all still be listening to him.
Maybe we are slowing reaching the point where Lily Allen can go into a record store and ask for that very specific record and be handed it without any hesitation – and maybe that’s a good thing.
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