Dark Clark wrote:That's the fallout of postmodernism.
Artists like Costello, Andy Partridge, Tom Verlaine or whoever else come, by definition, with a certain weight of history on their shoulders. Being a late period player obliges you to acknowledge everything that went before you, gives rise to certain standard 'concepts' and 'movements' and forces you to go with your intelligence rather than your instinct if you want to stand out.
Great post. I couldn't agree more.
There is no question that the anxiety of influence is hanging over anyone who tries to make pop music now in a way that it didn't 40 years ago. An artist had to feel more liberated when there were wide open creative vistas waiting to be conquered all around them. These days we've pretty much exhausted most of the obvious things a person can do with a three minute pop song. It really must make a current artist feel like they have to be terribly clever just to stake out an inch or two of their own. This was obviously already an issue when Costello came along. So maybe its not fair to hold it against him. But ultimately the music wil be judged on its merits, and there is no question that Costello's work will not be likely to endure the way the Beatle's will. I'm sure he'd agree.
That's why I'm pretty unabashed about the primacy of 50's through 70's pop. After that, it seems to me that most artists were forced to operate in very narrow confines.