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​Is there such a thing as an album that doesn't sound dated?

A topic by MartinL89 created 58 days ago Views: 59 Replies: 1
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Will start this by suggesting that all art is to some extent a product of its time and so, it follows that recorded music is going to be representative of when it was made, to some extent . But are there some albums that sound more dated than others?

For me, recorded jazz of the 1950s and early 1960s, such as on Blue note / Verve and Impulse labels sounds less affected by passing time than most pop or rock from the '50s to the 21st century. A lot of music from the 80s (especially the mid '80s) seems to me particularly of its time, When it gets past a certain point in the 2000s I personally start losing the ability to discern (and would probably find it more difficult to tell recordings made from 2007 to 2016 time period - but am sure there are people who could).

Of course none of this is meant to suggest that if a record sounds old then it denotes a lack of quality. I think Pet Sounds, for example, sounds very 1960s but I love it.

I follow the notion that a lot of popular music will follow trends and tropes of the era. You discuss music from the mid '80s having a very particular sound, which is indeed noticeable as per synthesizers and computerised music becoming mainstream for the first time. Also, new romanticism oh my...

In my opinion, albums will sound more dated if they had more strictly followed the conventions of their time. Conversely, the most 'timeless' albums can often be works that cover a broader spectrum of styles with elements from the past as well as present.

This is why I believe electronic arrangements that utilise sampling over synthesis will often age more gracefully. DJ Shadow's 'Endtroducing' (1996,) for instance, still sounds modern compared to the dance pop and club trance of the same era.

Your comment regarding discerning the difference between songs from 2007 as opposed to 2017 is interesting. I have found that over the last 10 years, the 'loudness war' finally reached its zenith. Production trends have become more 'spacey' and airy. I think as more people listen either via their own headphones or better quality speakers, dynamic range has at last been granted precedence over volume. Also the '80s revival that gathered momentum around 2006 is gradually morphing into the '90s revival. It's all going full circle.