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Thread: How Important Is Originality In Music?

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    Record Label Executive Oceansoul's Avatar
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    Default How Important Is Originality In Music?

    People have different opinions on this, some people see originality as an essential element in what they listen to and the artists/bands they gravitate to and some prefer standard music. Is it necessary that your music is unique? Or is that attribute overrated?

    As for my opinion, I like artists/bands who push the boundaries of music and aren't afraid to try something new, of course that doesn't mean they have to be different for it's own sake mainly that they enjoy making music. I appreciate uniqueness when it's executed well and is refreshing. On the other hand, I don't think uniqueness always equals great either, it depends.

    Just curious how others feel about it.
    "One must work and dare if one really wants to live." - Vincent Van Gogh

  2. #2

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    Has there been a totally original band in the last 40 years???
    I don't know....

    I hear influences in most music I hear nowadays, doesn't make it bad music though, especially when the artist injects themselves into the sound which does give it some originality I guess...

    Take one of my favourites in Neil Young for example,
    he could have spent the last 45 years rehashing "harvest" but he doesn't he flits from genre to genre at the drop of a hat from country, jazz, blues, soul, r+b, grunge, concept albums etc etc, sometimes it works, other times he fails miserably but he's out there pushing his boundaries with almost every album over last 30+ years....

    Another of my favourites, Paul Weller, could have kept playing with The Jam with their sound and have hit after hit in Europe if he chose to (remember, between 79-82 when they split up The Jam were outselling the likes of Dire Straits, Police, Stones, McCartney, Queen etc in the UK) but Weller wanted more he moved on to Style Council where he was recording blues, jazz, soul, r+b, funk, rap, dance, pop, house/EDM),
    His solo career has gone from Soul, pop, rock, blues, folk, kraut Rock and everything inbetween,
    I'm not saying its all good, because it isn't (same as Neil Young), but he's out there reinventing himself and pushing his own boundaries and for that alone both need to be applauded IMO...

    On the other side of the coin you have the likes of The Rolling Stones who IMO have basically tinkered with 'satisfaction' for the best part of fifty years and AC/DC for 40 odd years who have rewritten "you shook me all night long" over and over again,
    I'm not criticising those two artists and there more like those two, but what I'm saying is, you get the same sound year in, year out with bands like that, which is also fine IMO

    Back to eclectic artists, Elvis Costello is another one who just came to mind as I write this post...

    I guess there's no definitive answer to the originality question, simply comes down to taste IMO.

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    Record Label Executive Oceansoul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CRAZY-HORSE View Post
    Has there been a totally original band in the last 40 years???
    I don't know....

    I hear influences in most music I hear nowadays, doesn't make it bad music though, especially when the artist injects themselves into the sound which does give it some originality I guess...

    Take one of my favourites in Neil Young for example,
    he could have spent the last 45 years rehashing "harvest" but he doesn't he flits from genre to genre at the drop of a hat from country, jazz, blues, soul, r+b, grunge, concept albums etc etc, sometimes it works, other times he fails miserably but he's out there pushing his boundaries with almost every album over last 30+ years....

    Another of my favourites, Paul Weller, could have kept playing with The Jam with their sound and have hit after hit in Europe if he chose to (remember, between 79-82 when they split up The Jam were outselling the likes of Dire Straits, Police, Stones, McCartney, Queen etc in the UK) but Weller wanted more he moved on to Style Council where he was recording blues, jazz, soul, r+b, funk, rap, dance, pop, house/EDM),
    His solo career has gone from Soul, pop, rock, blues, folk, kraut Rock and everything inbetween,
    I'm not saying its all good, because it isn't (same as Neil Young), but he's out there reinventing himself and pushing his own boundaries and for that alone both need to be applauded IMO...

    On the other side of the coin you have the likes of The Rolling Stones who IMO have basically tinkered with 'satisfaction' for the best part of fifty years and AC/DC for 40 odd years who have rewritten "you shook me all night long" over and over again,
    I'm not criticising those two artists and there more like those two, but what I'm saying is, you get the same sound year in, year out with bands like that, which is also fine IMO

    Back to eclectic artists, Elvis Costello is another one who just came to mind as I write this post...

    I guess there's no definitive answer to the originality question, simply comes down to taste IMO.
    Maybe Radiohead?

    As far as I know, almost every artist, band, musician has been inspired or influenced by previous ones. The Rolling Stones were obviously influenced by blues musicians, but that doesn't make them "bad" per se. Many bands wear their influences on their sleeve yet can somehow create something that is unique to them. It's hard to know for certain if any band or artist is unique since there could be someone else who beat them to the punch, maybe there was an unknown band who did it first, but aren't famous.

    Genre defying music is appealing to me also, especially if it sounds great to my ears. Originality to me means when I hear someone sing, or a band play, or a musician start playing his/her guitar that there is a part of themselves in it, an element that is a signature of their music's voice, if that makes any sense haha. I appreciate artists who are fearlessly passionate about their music whether or not what they experiment with is successful or not, they took a risk anyway.

    Yeah AC/DC is a pretty predictable band, if you hear one album like Back in Black, you've pretty much heard them all. Some bands have a signature sound and style that works for them and they really have no need to change much not to mention how many fans want it that way and could be disappointed, especially if the change is a failure to them.
    Last edited by Oceansoul; 21-09-2016 at 03:53.
    "One must work and dare if one really wants to live." - Vincent Van Gogh

  4. #4

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    I personally hate the term genre when describing an artist, especially those who are eclectic...

    If asked, most people would say Neil Young is a folky or even country because all they know is the Harvest album or songs like "comes a time" or "four strong winds" for example but out of some 50+ albums in his career he has only made five or six that would fit the mold,
    He's released double that in what we'd call the Grunge genre etc etc....

    But yes, other artists find their niche whilst creating their 'own sound' in the process...

    Clapton...blues rock, but he created his own guitar style as did Brian May of Queen...

    Mark Knopfler took finger pickin' to a whole new level IMO....

    Pink Floyd were part of the psychedelic movement but once Gilmour developed his own style of playing PF became pretty original in what they did....

    Once The Beatles realised what could be done in a studio (revolver/rubber soul onwards) they were creating music no one had previously heard...

    And the list goes on...

    Malcolm McLaren took 'tribal beats' to a new level when he showed Siouxsie & The Banshees/Adam & The Ants what could be done musically....

    What I would consider "original" artists or artists with a uniquely original sound;

    Pink Floyd
    Jethro Tull
    Public Image Limited
    David Bowie
    Beach Boys
    Dire Straits
    Queen
    Nick Lowe
    Nick Cave
    Split Enz
    The Smiths
    Abba
    Oasis

    To name a few,
    but all of the above have their roots firmly planted elsewhere

  5. #5

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    Probably should have added the likes of Prince, Michael Jackson, Warren Zevon,Black Sabbath and U2 to the list also

    With all the above artists, you know who it is when the music starts, which IMI, makes them original I guess.

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    Record Label Executive Oceansoul's Avatar
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    There are some solid picks you chose there, btw. I can think of many bands who try to sound like Pink Floyd, but they just don't have that magical quality that the original one does, IMO. I consider Black Sabbath, Michael Jackson, David Bowie, and Queen to be unique too, I know who I'm listening to when I hear them.
    Last edited by Oceansoul; 21-09-2016 at 05:36.
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    Record Label Executive Oceansoul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CRAZY-HORSE View Post
    I personally hate the term genre when describing an artist, especially those who are eclectic...

    If asked, most people would say Neil Young is a folky or even country because all they know is the Harvest album or songs like "comes a time" or "four strong winds" for example but out of some 50+ albums in his career he has only made five or six that would fit the mold,
    He's released double that in what we'd call the Grunge genre etc etc....

    But yes, other artists find their niche whilst creating their 'own sound' in the process...

    Clapton...blues rock, but he created his own guitar style as did Brian May of Queen...

    Mark Knopfler took finger pickin' to a whole new level IMO....

    Pink Floyd were part of the psychedelic movement but once Gilmour developed his own style of playing PF became pretty original in what they did....

    Once The Beatles realised what could be done in a studio (revolver/rubber soul onwards) they were creating music no one had previously heard...

    And the list goes on...

    Malcolm McLaren took 'tribal beats' to a new level when he showed Siouxsie & The Banshees/Adam & The Ants what could be done musically....

    What I would consider "original" artists or artists with a uniquely original sound;

    Pink Floyd
    Jethro Tull
    Public Image Limited
    David Bowie
    Beach Boys
    Dire Straits
    Queen
    Nick Lowe
    Nick Cave
    Split Enz
    The Smiths
    Abba
    Oasis

    To name a few,
    but all of the above have their roots firmly planted elsewhere
    I don't hate the term Genre per se, I just see it as a way to categorize different styles and elements in music so it is easier to find artists who share similarities in music, otherwise it would be a chore. I can understand why an artist or band might object to being placed into one genre when they don't stick to just one and none really fit, they do what they feel like without boxing themselves in.
    "One must work and dare if one really wants to live." - Vincent Van Gogh

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    a restless spirit Jerome's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oceansoul View Post
    There are some solid picks you chose there, btw. I can think of many bands who try to sound like Pink Floyd, but they just don't have that magical quality that the original one does, IMO. I consider Black Sabbath, Michael Jackson, David Bowie, and Queen to be unique too, I know who I'm listening to when I hear them.
    Tell you what I don't like. These 'tribute' bands who try and duplicate every single sound of the original albums. No matter how well they do it, it just does not sound like the real thing. Because it's not! There's Brit Floyd & the Aussie Floyd etc.etc. I would never go to see these outfits. I would rather have them try and write some original material.
    'The purpose of life is a life of purpose' - Athena Orchard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerome View Post
    Tell you what I don't like. These 'tribute' bands who try and duplicate every single sound of the original albums. No matter how well they do it, it just does not sound like the real thing. Because it's not! There's Brit Floyd & the Aussie Floyd etc.etc. I would never go to see these outfits. I would rather have them try and write some original material.
    I can understand that. I know some pretty good tribute artists/bands who can write their own material too though.
    "One must work and dare if one really wants to live." - Vincent Van Gogh

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    Nirvana exploded with a new sound...grunge! Then all the other subsequent bands followed!...lol
    " WHEN I WAS FIVE YEARS OLD, MY MOTHER ALWAYS TOLD ME THAT HAPPINESS WAS THE KEY TO LIFE. WHEN I WENT TO SCHOOL, THEY ASKED ME WHAT I WANTED TO BE WHEN I GREW UP. I WROTE DOWN "HAPPY". THEY TOLD ME I DIDN'T UNDERSTAND THE ASSIGNMENT AND I TOLD THEM THEY DIDN'T UNDERSTAND LIFE."

    - JOHN LENNON

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