In the past year Noise has seen over a hundred young people pass through our doors for music mentoring sessions, covering a panoply of musical styles.
A key part of the process, prior to songwriting, production, and creative development, is the exploration of the young person’s musical tastes.
With the aid of YouTube, a guitar or piano, and an experienced ear, mentees are taught their first chords, riffs, and musical fundaments, through analysis of their favourite songs.
As a result, we have made a number of observations around the listening patterns of our young people and the styles of music they are into – with surprising results.
In short, Merseyside’s young people are ‘70s mad.
From America’s ‘Horse With No Name’ to Ziggy Stardust, via Marvin Gaye, the 1970s is the runaway #1 musical decade, with the ‘00s and the ‘60s in joint second place – and the current decade just making the podium in third.
But why? We hear a number of explanations. Firstly, it’s the tunes. The riffs, the myths.
Secondly, it is longevity – something few artists today, dropped from short-term deals at the drop of a hat, get the chance to achieve.
Thirdly, they are doing just what earlier generations did: excavating what has gone before, with the aid of history’s biggest free music trove, the internet.
The preponderance of interest in bands from decades past, including Joy Division, Fleetwood Mac, Nirvana, and The Smiths, to name a few, also tells us something about the state of the music industry today.
When was the last really big band that captured the imagination of a generation? Our data would suggest that The Arctic Monkeys is the last, preceded by Oasis. (No one ever asks to learn Scouting for Girls.)
Despite fleeting mentions of new bands, such as Catfish and the Bottlemen, it appears that the artists cutting through to young people today are solo artists. Which begs the question: are there just no new bands out there or are they not getting the investment?
Whatever the answer, young people still crave both the creativity and chemistry of the band; the fraternity and promise of four lads, four lasses, just like them, breaking the chains of hometown tyranny and taking on the world.
Today’s new bands are out there somewhere. If you can’t find one form your own.