In this week’s readings, specifically the theme of disco, rap, and technologies in the 1970s were well discussed.

For my latest journal, I would like to share my thoughts on the Millard text and the articles by Dyer and Lawrence.

Disco became popular in the 1970s.  This unique musical genre impacted the music industry and the people who listened to it.  It featured drums, synthesizers, the singers, and the optional DJ.  DJ’s were the cheerleaders of the music clubs where they kept the party and energy going as evident in clubs both homosexuals (mostly as Lawrence tells us) and heterosexuals in Dyer’s article.  The discotheques were special places to jam and have fun while listening to disco tracks.  I didn’t realize that disco impacted such a huge array of audiences, from the music industry, to fashion, and arts.  This genre I feel isn’t just the 1970s Saturday Night Fever style and disco ball shining in the club but a whole encompassing aesthetic and dance driven type genre.  Seeing that I didn’t grew up knowing much about disco, the material Dyer discussed was eye-opening.  When Dyer mentioned that it was erotic, I didn’t knew disco can be looked at like he argues.  I guess it’s because of my unawareness that impacted my thoughts and feelings about this genre.  Before reading this I always thought disco was purely entertainment and dance, while rock and roll was all sex, drugs, and of course rock and roll which was connotative for sex.  Now I see that disco is more than what I thought it was.  What do you think about disco?  Do you know any examples where disco isn’t erotic but tame?  I wonder if any exist.

Punk was another one of those special tastes kind of genre.  Many deemed it low-fi and not conforming to music industry’s norms.  Punk is like a revolting revolutionary wave of singers.  They wanted to sound low quality in order to gain their fame.  They stood up for what they sang, and I feel that’s risky but if it works (which it did for their sake), then by all means I support it.  I feel that punk isn’t a well-standing genre but it’s own target audience is what will keep them alive in the music industry.

Rap was also another unique genre which connected to the black audience right off the bat.  They were originally independent champions as they were ignored by many major labels.  I didn’t think they were classified as “indies” before I read this.  Now I feel even more convinced about the underdogs, the independents.  The original roots of rap are really interesting to hear as evident by Sugarhill Gang’s Rapper’s Delight.  It was the first rap single to actually impact pop music as Millard points out.  This single sounds very authentic, and does not sound like modern mainstream rap singles (in terms of the background sounds).  You can hear elements of disco kind of trickled in.  It’s more like a dance-rap single.

CLICK HERE:Rapper’s Delight — Sugar Hill Gang (Youtube video)

DJ’s are also an important component to rap.  I feel that this is evident today with many rap artists utilizing DJ’s in their performances.  Artists who take the DJ into their performances in my opinion are creative, and expressive in general.  They know they can connect with their fans and its evident because rap is still a thriving market to be in.

The digital technologies in Millard were interesting to read.  From eight-tracks (my topic for my paper) to the digital age (elements of which I plan for my presentation) started in the 1960s and continues right through the 1990s as Millard mentions.  The digital age in my opinion will always continue until something crazy happens which ultimately changes the music industry and how we listen to music.  But meanwhile, we wouldn’t be where we are today if it weren’t for lasers, cassette tape, and the compact disc.  These three I believe are essential if we are to have the CD player, VCR’s, laptops, iPods, iTouch, iPad, digital cameras, etc.  So we owe those three a lot and what they function in the 1970s to early 2000s.  Though its sad to see old formats slow down, new ones are very exciting to experience.  For example, I grew up with my parents who had the big stereos and cassette players.  I was raised when cassettes were still in popular use.  Then when that slowed down, CD’s became my main format for music listening.  Nowadays you don’t see a cassette tape anywhere unless you go ask your parents, or visit your grandparents.  Just a few years ago I began to notice the CD (album) slowly declining.  Evidence includes: artists having their albums released only as digital copies online, and iTunes selling more singles than the whole CD album.  Now with everything online (Youtube, iTunes) and the introduction of portable music storage devices, I feel it won’t be long before the CD format will become part of our memories.  Fortunately enough, I still have CD’s in my house and I don’t see myself ever selling them.  Best to collect and cherish the formats you love is my message to you all.

Additional Questions to Consider:
Do you still buy CD’s?  OR Do you buy both CD’s and digital tracks from iTunes?
Do you think digital tracks will be taken over by some unknown format that has yet to be introduced?

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