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Dear America: Old Music Holds its Ground Against the Modern Sound

Do you prefer the classic oldies, or do you lean more toward what’s popular today?
Record player playing a song

The debate over whether old music is better than new music has been discussed for decades. In my opinion, the classics from the 50s – 90s have a certain charm that easily beats the latest hits.

Frank Sinatra
(Universal Music Turkey) (Unknown)

First, the themes in old jazz, or classic songs, tend to be more grounded. While tracks like “Beyond The Sea” by Bobby Darin, or “Fly Me To The Moon” by Frank Sinatra explore nature, true love, women, and scenic landscapes, many modern hits seem fixated on drugs, sex, break-ups, and parties (for example, “Sex, Dugs, Ect” by Beach Weather (an obvious one) or “Pound Town 2” by Sexyy Red, Nicki Minaj, and Tay Keith). Old music simply offers a refreshing, enjoyable escape to simpler themes that celebrate timeless aspects of life.

Now, that’s not to say there aren’t any good new songs. I’m a huge fan of Lord Huron, Hozier, and Lovejoy, but most of the time those lesser known artists aren’t top of the charts, or they’re only known for one song whereas an artist like Taylor Swift or Ariana Grande is extremely recognizable and played everywhere. However, most people, regardless of the internet and age, know who Frank Sinatra or David Bowie are.

A major divergence lies in production.

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Taylor Swift at the Taylor Swift “The Eras Tour” held at Allegiant Stadium on March 24, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
(Christopher Polk)

Today’s music often relies on autotune, synthesizers, and artificial instruments, creating a more polished sound. In contrast, old music was often recorded from live performances and genuine recordings, delivering an unfiltered experience that captures the artist’s authenticity. The use of autotune and synthetic instruments has led to a clear but unnatural sound.

Old music, with its simplicity and sincerity, resonates as a timeless treasure, transcending generations.

That said, the way we consume music has transformed exponentially, with people’s shorter attention spans favoring quick snippets of the chorus (or at least the most catchy part of the song) to the device used to listen to them. Platforms like TikTok and Instagram increase song popularity based on catchy 15 to 30-second clips, making it so people don’t listen to full songs as often as they did in past decades. The creation of headphones and smartphones as well as other devices capable of playing music has made listening to favorite songs much easier.

In the end, the debate over music preference remains subjective and I don’t think there will ever be a way to settle the argument. So that leaves it up to you: do you prefer the classics, or are you a fan of today’s trending hits?

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About the Contributor
Abby Coulter
Abby Coulter, Staff Reporter
I’m a Senior here at Sutton High School as well as Sutton E-Sports’ four year Overwatch captain. I’m currently studying game design, specifically character design art which is something I hope to study in college moving forward.

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