Why Lots of Current Music Sounds Miserable...

Hi everyone! I haven't posted here for quite a while. While going through the pile of "Professional Trade Magazines" I receive at my video editing and media duplication company; I came across a copy of "Electronic Musician". As I'm sure you all probably know by now, the vast majority of recorded music being churned out these days is done on digital workstations. There on the cover in bold letter was the title - "Make Your Mixes As Loud As Possible". So next time you get a CD so hopelessly loud and compressed it makes your ears hurt, just keep in mind that that's what music
"professionals" are being urged to pump out.
I wondered when I saw this who would buy crap like that, but then I realized all the little thumpers on the road must really go for it...
I usually find three things about threads about the recording quality of modern releases.

1.The person making them doesn't buy very much new music.

2.Examples of compression (and yes of course it happens)are thin on the ground.

3.Examples are given of genres which the poster admits they would never play in their high end system.

Just some observations.
Try hearing that crap on stats, all the flaws are exposed and multipied...OUCH
Yes but what "crap" are we talking about?
The current popular crap (notice that word is really "rap" with a c added), hard metal bands, and your adolescent divas to name a few are engineered to be played on a 3" car speaker or through mp3 player earbuds or through the club PA system- none of which has much to do with fidelity. Compression doesn't matter as long as you can feel the bass in your chest and the treble zings in your ears, I mean after all the music is only background to getting drunk and laid.

It is not a new trend though if you look at the music of the past 3 decades (rock/top 40) tipped up in the treble to "sizzle" and the midbass to "thump". Recording values designed to make cheap speakers and electronics sound at least marginal but who cares - I'm drunk.
Entrope which of these recordings you refer to have you heard in your system?
Hmm, let me play the devils' advocate here. Maybe we're being myopic, not seeing the bigger picture. We at Audiogon are concerned with sound quality issues whereas I think the general music consuming public is caring less and less about such things. I work with lots of people in their 20's & 30's that are very well educated & are obsessed with popular music of all genres. As a rule, they couldn't care less about high fi issues. They do care about HOW they get their music delivered to them and vastly prefer their Ipods and computer hard drive storage/Itunes because of convenience. All they care about is maximazing file storage space and choose MP3 as a rule because it uses less storage space. This phenomena isn't limited to my friends, it's world wide. Loud bass and zippy treble with compressed sound cuts through the ambient noise that's the backround for most music consumers. People tend to use music as an sound track to daily life now, and they don't approach music listening as a passive activity requiring concentration. Even many older people I know have given up their component stereos for the convenience of the Ipod/Itunes music delivery systems. The audiophiles world is one of increasingly less less relevance I'm afraid.
Regarding bass boost, it seems like there was a time in the 70s / 80s where the opposite was occurring - thinned out bass, I'm guessing to help improve clarity on boomy speakers of the time (before "perfedct sound forever", too). Specific examples: Cheap Trick, live at Budokan, Blondie, Eat to the Beat, great albums that sound way too thin on a high end rig. Anyone else notice this?
"06-25-05: Ben_campbell
Entrope which of these recordings you refer to have you heard in your system?

Ben if I could chime in here. I don't have to listen to Rap on my system, I hear it at a stoplight or stop sign in my car when one of those characters are beside me, behind me, or in front of me in their car. Boom...Boom...Boom...Boom.....F-en this, F-en that, Mother F-en this, Mother F-en that...
Let's hope that modern music is in a state of flux and will eventually evolve into something better. (I guess things are always changing.) I was listening to some of the old "talking blues songs" recently, ala Townes Van Zandt, Bob Dylan, Woddy Guthrie, Johnny Cash (especiallly "I've Been Everywhere, Man"} and I couldn't help but hear "rap" in there somewhere. I don't think that many, if any, rap mucicians would ever admit to being influenced by folk/country. I'm not a mucicologist but I would bet that rap and talking blues hearken back to something from the roots of music; let's just hope that it evolves into something better.
I see alot of great points on here, face it POP music stinks, Rap is the worst followed by the divas, the Idols, blah blah blah...yada yada yada, I am also curious why there is someone so intent on finding out what everyone is listening to?
Nevermind my last post, I didnt notice Ben was a reviewer. my bad

To name a few:

70's - Santana -self titled
Aerosmith-Get your wings
Led Zepplin - self titled

80's -Beastie Boys- Liscensed to Ill
Ozzy Osborne-Speak of the devil

90's Aerosmith-Pump (technically 1989 but fits the bill)

00's- Avril Lavigne & Brittany Spears (courtesy of my teenage daughter)

All heard on different iterations of my system through the last 5 years. Do I have your permission to have an opinion now?
There are two self titled Santana albums and both are actually quite well engineered. It's possible that you've listened to a poorly mastered edition or there could be problems with the iterations of your system.

I think these posts where a bunch of old farts bemoan the state of current music trends are the height of hypocrisy. Way back in 1955 your parents (grandparents?) were pointing to rock as the downfall of western civ. The early Beatles/Kinks/Who recordings were all criticized for being overly compressed. You've become your parents!
Onhwy61, you raise a point that I has amused me too: are we becoming our parents as we piss & moan about current music being crap? Mark Twain (I believe it was) said 90% of all art is crap. It was true in the early days of rock & it's true now. I work with a guy who's in an alternative hip-hop band who plays me alot of what he thinks is cool. While I can't say I'm a convert, some of is interesting and witty. The one thing that gives me pause in some cases is the overt promotion of crass materialism, violence, & Neantherthal sexual outlooks. Yeah I know, the same things were bemoaned by authority figures when Punk was around. Bad attitudes seem to keep getting ratcheted up though, where does it end? How low a common cultural denominator do we need to promote? I don't presume to know the answer, I'm just aware of the cultural tension. I know Rap/Hip Hop just reflects the world of those making the music and that world can really be miserable. An honest reflection doesn't bother me, art can be ugly and frightening. At what point does cultural reporting become agrandising promotion of negativity?
Different points about different things.

Entrope you are totally entitled to an opinon on anything that's a basic human right.
However despite making a very valid point about examples across the decades (which surely is at odds with the original point)-my main point was a general one and not aimed at you.

I stand firm on my examples above and I think some of the other replies speak for themself.

Chadnliz that is some statement.
POP music stinks well POP could include The Beatles,The Beach Boys,Mowtown,Stevie Wonder etc etc and dare I say people like The Police who are usually liked by audophiles and artists who are POP and don't appeal like George Michael and Maddona but who actually clearly take time to make sure their recordings sound good.
Generalisations are mostly pointless and I am yet to be even remotely convinced that any Audiogoner can give me copious examples of badly recorded new music.

Nobody truly expects people to investigate a musical genre that does nothing for them, that is truly acceptable but to deride whole genres just because you don't like the suface is silly.

To completely misquote Dylan "Don't criticise what you ain't even heard"
I should have been more specific, but it would take too long to list, but you are right, I painted pop music with too broad of a brush