The sounds of Post Punk and the New Wave were so crystalline and pure, and here we are talking about Joe Jackson, Tommy Tutone, the Pretenders and many more. Today’s music, or lets say music being created in the last five or six years has become so un-dynamic, over-compressed, over-produced and in general un-musical it really makes one long for a time when rock bands reigned with their unabashed driving and energetic sounds, which helped increase and release energy and emotions of those attending their shows or listening on the radio. What we need is a revolution, some new bands that can give music a rebirth and become once again the shout of youth – and those that feel youthful.
One of those greats from that era was Joe Jackson. The guitars on “Look Sharp” were sharp, dynamic, and loud. Jackson created so much energy with his sound while being very dynamic. Soft tones and loud together so that a genuine sonority that was easy on the ears was created. “Sunday Papers” was not only a great song with a drum track that was so pure it was as if the drums were right in your room playing – what a great sound! When you listen to the guitar on that song you hear the muted hits on the down beats and the loud pristine chords on the up-beat eight notes. What do you hear in-between? The natural decay of the previous sound, then the natural attack of the next note, and in-between nothing. That is a great sound, not like today where the compressors are set in such away that there is no silence between the notes.
How about The Pretenders? You certainly would never compare Chrissie Hynde as a vocalist to Rihanna. But the Pretenders on a whole seem more forceful, fun and effervescent, and their staying power certainly could not be called into question. But why do people with such different vocal abilities seem to have such different energy levels. This question is especially perplexing when you listen to the production of the music from each performer. Rihanna’s production is truly loud using compressors and limiters to such an extent that when you listen to one of her songs it is virtually one loudness, very un-dynamic. Hynde’s music, created before the compression over-use-fad, is loud rock’n’roll but with dynamics. The Pretenders, while being less loud, still have seem much more punchy and energetic, which brings up a point that loudness does not necessarily mean more forceful music, and it could mean just more irritating.
We don’t need to bring back the great bands of the 80s, however bring back some of the production values of those days will revitalize music to a great extent.