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Sun, Oct 29th, 2000
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Changes in Music:
Good or Bad?
By Chris GuttormsonMonday, October 30, 2000

How does the music of today reflect the personalities of its listeners?

There have been many changes in music over the past two decades (and over several decades). The question arises, "Are these changes always good?" I've asked myself this many times. Most of the time music seems to be somewhat (if not directly) related to the personality of the person listening to it.

If we go back to the fifties, a young man named Elvis Presley burst on to the music scene. This was wonderful timing for many teenagers who wanted to let loose and have some fun. This new "Rock and Roll" music gave them a great outlet to do just that.

We could cite examples like that for all the years following, but let's jump ahead. The eighties saw a rise in the "Hair Band" Heavy Metal. These new bands took their cues from such theatrical rock bands before them such as KISS. This new brand of heavy metal was much more colorful and lively than that of the rock before. It reinforced the eighties party attitude.

The nineties were itching for something a little darker. People wanted something with a little more "meat" to it than the light hearted metal of the previous decade. In came grunge. The early nineties saw a rise in this music, led by bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam. This time people grew quickly tired of the depressed attitude of the genre and craved something a little happier.

The so called "Top 40" pop groups began growing in popularity in the middle to end of the nineties. This saw a rise in the "Boy Bands" such as the Backstreet Boys, N'Sync, 98 Degrees, etc... Many people have called these bands "Manufactured Bands" for the fact that they are many times thrown together by a rich person with a craving for some part of the music business. This is where I begin to wonder about the music (and listeners) of today. These sorts of groups (and many others, even some in years past) don't play instruments or write their own music. I personally have a difficult time appreciating groups like this.

Being in a band myself, I have come to realize the tremendous amount of time it must take to create the music that eventually finds its way to the top of the charts. Many times the people responsible for this music receive recognition only at a few awards ceremonies. Needless to say, I have acquired a greater respect for the musicians and song writers of all generations.

So what does this say about the music listeners of today?

No matter how drastically music changes over time, it will always generally reflect the attitudes and personalities of the time. Thank goodness polkas and waltzes are reserved for the enjoyment of our grandparents (ha)!

Where does this leave us in the year 2000?

What will the attitudes be and how will music change and evolve?

And in the same respect, how will people change and evolve?

Chris Guttormson is a senior at Fillmore Central High School in Harmony.

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