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What's Happening With Music Today

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To the editors:

In his discussion of the "unplugged" phenomenon, Rick Reger reveals his ignorance as to what's happening with music today [August 27]. Gee, if only "grunge" were "the unruly real thing"! Rick concludes, "Clearly, rock music now exists on two entirely independent levels." That's semi-accurate with respect to rock audiences and musicians, but to my ears the music, be it Pearl Jam or Jon Secada, is uniformly dull, fed to us by a decidedly one-tiered music business.

Billboard recently proclaimed Chicago the new center for new sounds, but that's primarily because Smashing Pumpkins' prefabricated product leapt into its chart at #10. Meanwhile Urge Overkill can't sell enough to make the top 200. I think I know why. Nearly everybody I talk to about the fine Saturation has only heard the decent but jangly-safe song WXRT plays and/or the bland leadoff cut Geffen is pushing with a dumb video. All the best songs (e.g. "Bottle of Fur") are being ignored.

What if the only things that got played off Meet the Beatles had been "Till There Was You" and "Little Child"? Face it: On the whole rock and roll was much better when barely a handful of people in the record business claimed to understand the first thing about it. Now, unfortunately, it's an institution.

Frank Youngwerth

W. Division

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