It's extremely encouraging to see the tail-end of Generation X making its mark in music. The following two albums both give you hope for the future of music in the hands of this generation:
John Mayer - "Continuum"
Ray LaMontagne - "Till The Sun Turns Black"
Both albums were released within the last few weeks, and both are outstanding.
John Mayer's album, in particular, shows incredible growth from his first two albums. He has always had strong lyrics, and his voice has always been very expressive. He's always been good with melodies. But, now the layering of the music -- the heart and soul and the subtleties that were often hidden under sometimes superficial pop/rock distraction -- are catching up with the rest of his talent. It's outstanding.
The hope inspired that I mentioned above is not so much about originality, but more about high quality, soulful, realistically positive music (as in, it's positive on average, and it knows why it's positive, despite the acknowledgement of negative forces). Neither of these artists could be accused of being entirely original, but they are both beginning to master the subtleties that make music special and timeless.
This generation could accomplish so much if it could shake off its nihilism. Here is hoping. It's two and counting... I'm trying my best to do the same.
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