Has this ever happened to you? You are trying to get in touch with a friend. These days that usually doesn’t mean a phone call and certainly not a letter. Maybe you are going to go old school and send an email, instead of a text. “Hey man, we are heading out to 151 for a few nights. We will be in the usual place; you know the place we camped last year. We will be BBQin, playing horseshoes, the whole bit. Do you think you can make it?”
They reply, “cool.”
As Chuck Noise recently pointed out, our communication window is quickly shrinking. We all know this, but that is not what I am here to discuss. What I am wondering is how far the spill off from this cultural shift towards brevity will go? In particular, it might be interesting to see how it could affect music in its various forms.
In the past we pretty much had two ways to listen to music, on our stereo or live. Then the Walkman came around and this changed things, but in most respects it was merely a mobile stereo, other than the fact that I was now isolating myself from the rest of the world, by creating my own personal music bubble.
In recent times, our options have increased. Music videos in some respects mixed our stereos with live performances. Now online services, such as U-tube, put a myriad of options at our fingertips 24/7, and as Tony Ballz is so happy to point out, it is free.
Still, this begs the question as to how, and if, this current tread of ADD driven sound bite culture will affect music. How many times has someone posted a music video link in your email or Facebook page? Do you look at it, and if you do, do you bother to watch the whole thing. “Come on man, that video was almost 3 minutes long, I don’t have time for that.”
The Eighties, mostly thanks to the punk movement, saw the invention of the shorter song. Where the rock dinosaurs thought bigger was better, punkers could get a whole song belted out, before Neil Pert could finish a drum solo. In 1983 Poison Idea put out the album, Pick Your King. It has thirteen songs and is less than sixteen minutes long. Now however, it seems the current trend in punk is for longer dirge songs, but we’ll see where that goes.
My point is will some of the newer modern bands, which have members that grew up on text messages and Face Book, create a new style of music? In five years from now, will we be hearing mega short sound bite songs. Little twenty second diddies that I can check out on my cell phone or blast from my Face Book page and then quickly move on. In an age where no one has the attention span to even bother to call a friend, when text messages will do, will music also tread down this Twittered path?
I could be way off on this, but if you are listening to your middle school daughter hum some half a minute tune, a few years from now, remember you heard it hear first.
Problems on the double,
Try to burst my bubble
Chaos all around
Feet never touch the ground
(4 second guitar solo)
I don’t know why
Fingers to the sky
I might as well try
Before I flippin die.
“Sorry Mr. Bone, but that song is a little longer than what we are looking for. If you can trim it down to half that size be might have a deal.”