Posted by: CeCe | April 28, 2013

Cream rises to the top

When I was in high school, I listened almost exclusively to classic rock.  My radio station was almost always tuned to the local classic rock station (Seattle’s KZOK, 102.5), and I loved rocking out to Pink Floyd, Cream, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Heart, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Zager & Evans and so many others.  Now I can’t listen to any of these artists without being transported right back to the days of calling my old high school a penitentiary and trying to avoid security guards when we all took off for Fred Meyer’s or Snake Lake to, um, do stuff.

It’s funny thinking about it, because I remember telling friends’ parents that I listened to music that was around when they were my age, and about how the music of my own generation “sucked” for the most part, and music of the 60s and 70s was so much better.  They would always get this little smile, and some of them tried telling me that not all music from the 60s and 70s was any good, and in fact a lot of it was terrible.  They would tell me that the cream rises to the top, and I never believed them.

Until now.

I’m seeing this same phenomenon; I hear teenagers say that music of the 80s and 90s is so much better than anything coming out now, and they talk about how awesome it must have been to be alive then.  They start talking about The Cure, Alice in Chains, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, The Smiths, and all these other bands that I remember listening to myself, and in the case of most, still do.  And I find myself wanting to tell them that not all music from the 80s and 90s was awesome, and in fact, most of it was terrible.  But the cream rises to the top.

The music that was popular then, and the music that’s popular now, for the most part is terrible.  It’s mass produced to be sold to consumers who are told what to buy, who are told what’s cool and what’s “good”.  That’s why we have all the Nikki Minaj, Justin Bieber, and Lil Wayne types.  Fortunately, these are not the artists by which we’ll remember the music of the 2010s, just like if you mention Tag Team, Joey Lawrence, Snow, or Wrexx n Effect to anyone who didn’t live through the 90s, they’ll have no idea who they were (which is a good thing).  Anyone remember Aqua?  Yeah, that’s what I thought.  If you were there, you now have “Barbie Girl” stuck in your head, right?  You’re welcome.  😉

The truth of the matter is, there is some great music to be found in nearly every decade in every century since humans have been performing music to be heard by the public, ranging from the Middle Ages with artists like Hildegard von Bingen and Thomas Tallis (if you have not heard them, go to YouTube and look them up right now!), to now, with artists like Disturbed, Nightwish, Adele (yeah, I said it, she’s amazing!), Stone Sour, Scar Symmetry, Amorphis (they’ve been around forever and are still making awesome music), Broken Bells, MGMT, AWOLNATION, Young the Giant, Fleet Foxes, Florence + the Machine, Mumford & Sons, Muse, and many others.  There’s something for almost any taste in genre, and unlike when I was a teenager (yeah, I’m aging myself here), almost all of it is available with not much more than the click of a button.  A million years ago when I was a teenager, it was much harder to find good music.

All of the best music is what will be remembered.  Fifty years from now, no one will remember Nikki Minaj and others like her.  No one will remember Britney Spears or the Backstreet Boys.  But they’ll remember Elvis, Alice in Chains, Nirvana, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, and all the many other “greats” from history.  The cream rises to the top.  This is always true, especially when it comes to music.

Are there any modern artists to whom you like to listen?  Which decade of music is your favorite?  Please feel free to tell me about it in a comment!



  1. I’ve listened to many many artists since I first saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show oh so many years ago. I have favorites from every era, and in almost every genre. Some, who will surprise music elitists who decide which music “rises like cream to the top” and lasts for decades. Some….like the Backstreet Boys. Yes. Even them. They are right there on my playlists with the Beatles and Stones, Simon and Garfunkel, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Sting, The Who, Dylan, Joan Baez, Leonard Cohen, Jimi Hendrix, The Temptations, the Supremes and on and on. Why in hell would you ask? While I recognize the culinary masterpieces of best chefs in the world, I also LOVE simple FEEL GOOD food. And there’s a place in MY heart for them all.

    • Thank you for your comment, but that wasn’t the point I was making. There’s nothing wrong with people listening to what they like. If you like the Backstreet Boys, have at it! This was more in reference to people who like to say that music of the decade in which they’re living “sucks”. The point I was making is that there’s good music out there. I don’t see it as being “elitist” that I *don’t* like bubble-gum pop. People like what they like. I just don’t like being told what I “should” like, and I’m not the only one.

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