It’s been a hard day’s night and I’ve been working on my blog

It’s been an hard day’s night and I’ve been working on my blog. And in some kind of infinite loop stretching all the way from Liverpool, England to Cupertino, California, Apple Corps have finally resolved their differences with Apple Computer, and allowed The Beatles catalogue to appear on iTunes. So now everyone can download the same songs that their gran bought on vinyl, that their mum bought on CD in immensely inferior quality mp3 with no lovely cover art to look at.
It’s 2010 and The Beatles are Top of the Pops (again). Don’t get me wrong, I love The Beatles, grew up with their music, studied their evolution, swinging wildly from wanting to be McCartney to wanting to be Lennon and back again. But this is just not exciting, it’s just immensely tedious. It’s another excuse for programmers to live in the past and play more old music (again).
But it has got me thinking. Because every type of history seems to work like a cone, so this applies to music as much as art or photography or politics. We start with fragments, field recordings of folk and blues and music passed down from one generation to another. This is added to by urban kids doing their rebellious, or not so, thing and being recorded and exploited by businessmen, then explodes in the 60s, 70s and 80s with all sorts of innovations, electronic sounds and crazy new recording techniques. Then as we get into the 21st Century it just fans out into a mass of everything all at once, with more music being recorded in the past ten years than in the whole of the rest of human history (or something like that).
So I’m thinking, was it easier for Paul and John to write songs in 1962, or even 1969 than it is now, with fragments and contemporaries for inspiration, without the weight of fifty more years worth of songs on their backs? After all, there are only so many ways to play a few chords on a guitar, only so many notes that the human voice can sing in a pleasing fashion one after another. Was it easier to write Hard Day’s Night without having heard all that other music? Would they be too self-conscious to write a chorus that goes – She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah in 2010?
I don’t know. Maybe that’s just how history works, the closer you are to stuff the harder it is to see what’s important and what’s just mush. But I think it may be why the contemporary urban sound, the computer music, bass music, dubstep, new house, whatever you want to call it, is so often instrumental or just features sampled voices. It’s like there’s so much stuff to process it just turns into fuzzy sounds, things of the past through a digital filter. It’s so much more difficult to be clear, concise and create a three chord wonder because it really has, mostly, been done before. If you get angry, oh, you’re so 79, so punk; if you get housey, oh that’s so 88, so aciiiied, and so on.
I suppose there is no simple answer, and there will be no clarity till another ten years have passed and we can look back and say, for example, gosh, that Mount Kimbie, they changed the way we feel about music, isn’t it great that you can get their first album on (insert name of new format not invented yet). Baked apple anyone?