The state of popular music

Emeline and I were just having a discussion and I thought I would pose a question to all of you. Two questions, actually:

1 – Will there ever be another band that rivals the Beatles in both popular/critical reception and sheer songwriting genius?

2 – What currently-recording band would you say is the greatest (realizing that great can have many different connotations)?

Clearly, Stephen Jenkins is the greatest lyricist of our time, but I don’t think anyone will ever reach the height of both popularity and talent that The Beatles did. I think this for various reasons – mostly because our nearly unlimited access to new and different types of music leaves us with short attention spans. I hear lots of great bands (like Arcade Fire) who make waves for a short time but the popular consciousness moves on too quickly for them to make the same impression on our culture as the Beatles did.

I also think that our unprecedented access to music, while strengthening the overall scene and giving a stage to hordes of great talent that would have gone otherwise undiscovered, also lessens the impact of truly great acts. It’s like the peaks and troughs have gotten less intense. Again, I feel this is because there are infinitely more options for experiencing music. It’s virtually impossible to command the attention of the masses on the scale of The Beatles because the masses can be more fragmented now – you no longer rely on the one or two radio stations in town to provide you access to music.

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