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Who's listening to this stuff?

Talent has fallen by the wayside on mainstream radio



The "talk of the town" these days in the music world has been the Led Zeppelin reunion. After their recent performance in England, millions are clamoring for a world tour. I've heard talk of people willing to pay thousands to hear the band live.

It's not just Zepplin, either. There are a handful of other bands out there that fans are eager to see return to the road. While Genesis has taken the first step in reuniting -- as a trio ­-- to many it won't be the same until Peter Gabriel gets back into the mix. Some want a complete live reproduction of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, but I'd be happy with any setlist that includes "Supper's Ready."

Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood "got the band back together" in the form of Blind Faith. Pink Floyd did a one-off show for Live 8 and fans are keeping fingers, toes and anything else crossed that they'll get back on stage.

Of course, some bands did make their fans happy this year -- Blind Melon, The Stooges, The Police and Van Halen among them.

Why do so many fans hope for a return to the glory days of rock? Probably because they were bands that meant something. They were bands that created timeless music, some legendary musicians who could stir emotions and make jaws drop.

I should add that it's not just a matter of bands reuniting. There's plenty out there to see. A perfect example is The Avett Brothers. I can't say enough about them, as far as putting forth 100 percent in every show that they do, giving fans what they want and putting every bit of heart, soul and sweat into their music that they can.

You watch a band such as theirs, where the emotions take over, the energy is palpable and witness something that truly moves you. Then you look at other bands who, to quote Frank Zappa, are "only in it for the money." The Avetts aren't trying to recreate their album, they pile it on and tear the roof off.

Which brings up one question: Who's listening to all the crap they're putting on the road and radio these days?

Britney Spears' latest album made the top 50 of Rolling Stone magazine. Seriously? I would think a lot more albums would have been better this one. The emotionally-unstable pop tart can't even sing live, yet her short-lived tour last year sold out shows right and left.

Shouldn't some consideration be given to whether or not an artist can actually perform live? There's more to life than the radio.

The Spice Girls reunited and are selling out their shows, but they're not singing either. Aside from the obvious fact that their music is less-than-memorable, who is paying to see five washed-up ladies pose and dance while lip-synching? No mention of Ashlee Simpson necessary, I think.

Have you looked at some of the music that's in the top 40 these days? Will anyone remember any of these songs in 10 years? How about five years? How about next year?

That's the problem with a lot of the music being created. It's fun for the moment. It's enjoyable now, but, in a couple years, you'll be looking back, pointing and laughing.

In the meantime, I've all but given up on mainstream free radio. My days are filled with satellite -- both Sirius and XM at this point. Commercial-free is a bonus, but it's more about hearing music that has some life in it instead of the wishy-washy, fly-by-night trash that floods what MTV would play if they still played videos. Videos didn't kill the radio star; money and fame had a hand in it though.

Industry executives panic about the music industry and wonder why CD sales are slowing. While some of it is due to the increased sale online and trading of music, I'd like to give a shred of hope to the fact it may be due to the influx of so much horrible music. Maybe people aren't buying music because there simply isn't much good music going around.

Maybe that's how the genre got its title. Sure, it's because it's popular and people have fun with/to it, but in the next moment, "pop!" It's forgotten.

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