I like your old music better than your new music

3 July 2024

I might say that of U2, whose music I once really liked, especially the stuff they did in the nineties. Achtung Baby. Zooropa. Pop. Even 2000’s All That You Can’t Leave Behind. These albums mostly represented their electronic music phase. I’d have them on loop for days at a time.

I drew the ire of friends though who told me I needed to listen to their real work, their earlier stuff. From the eighties. Of course: the eighties. The only decade real music was made, apparently.

But back to U2. I tried to get into their really early stuff, but it wasn’t quite the same, as their… (then) newer stuff. Though I still spin (is that the word I’m meant to use?) New Year’s Day (nothing changes on New Year’s Day…), from time to time, usually in late December. Today though, in 2024 — not 1985, or whatever it was — U2’s more recent music, is worse than their older, nineties, stuff.

Since 2000, nothing by U2 has excited me. How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, no. No Line on the Horizon, ditto. Songs of Innocence (remember the iTunes release?), forget it. Songs of Experience, nope. And if I hadn’t have looked it up, I wouldn’t have known U2 released a new album — albeit a re-working of earlier songs — called Songs of Surrender, in 2023.

In contrast, I pre-ordered All That You Can’t Leave Behind, and was outside the music shop before opening, on release day. The guy behind the counter, who (coincidentally) was Irish, and a U2 fan, told me this album was different from their previous three, and would take a few listens to enjoy.

And he was right. I did come to enjoy it. But that was over twenty-years ago. Today though, I barely listen to any U2 (except while writing this). None of it, however, fits into the category of being “gold”, as Nick Heer writes, compared to the new music being recorded by other artists in 2024. A lot of old music might be good, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better than contemporary work.

But the bashing of recordings made in 2024 goes on. It’s noise. It’s garbage. It’s getting worse. It’s too easy to make. Whoever said that has obviously never tried to record a song. In any era.

This is the reason I continue listening to Triple J, which predominately plays new and alternative music. It’s an Australian radio station, but I think anyone, anywhere, can stream it. The main point being, it is none of this “hits and memories” stuff. These are the good old days, not some past decade. They’re also more Billie Eilish than Taylor Swift, if that makes a difference.

But look, if you can’t stand today’s music, I suggest you lock yourself away with the songs of, say, the Mama’s and the Papa’s, a sixties act, and whose music is surely “golden age” enough for you. Please do so immediately, so the rest of us can go about enjoying today’s new stuff.


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