Guns N' Roses Forever? Journalist Claims 'Today's Music Sucks'
A data journalist known as "The People's Pundit" has sparked debate on social media by branding today’s music artists as “talentless.”
In a Twitter thread on Nov. 30, Rich Baris listed two dozen albums released 30 years ago by acts like Guns N’ Roses, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Prince, Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey.
“Forget 2021 releases,” he opined. “Last decade still couldn’t compete with that range of talent. Today’s music sucks.”
Baris insisted he is not comparing genres or “old vs. new” but simply “talent vs. talent.” He explained: "Musical talent is not subjective, it's very much objective. Many replies mistake genre preference and sales for talent. Some are more talented than others w/ instruments or singing, meaning they have abilities to play or sing more difficult compositions than others."
Baris said Taylor Swift’s talents “are not on par with Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey” and stood by his belief that Guns N’ Roses is “the most talented band ever to be assembled.”
Of course, people were quick to weigh in.
“This is not how you do a comparison dumbass,” read one reply. “You just listed a bunch of albums from 1991 without any explanation of how that meant 2021 musicians are ‘talentless.’”
Another read: “There’s a lot of incredible artists releasing music all the time. Whether the ‘music business’ chooses to highlight them is a separate issue. What’s lazy is generalizing things to fit into your narrow subjective view of music.”
Some thought the comparison was unfair. “This is like complaining that no one is making good arcade games in 2021,” wrote one person. “That is because the way people consume that form of entertainment has changed. Young people do not buy albums, they buy songs.”
Another tweeted: "This is not a comparison. It's just a list bookended by some impotent whinging coloured by your ignorance of how the music industry has evolved.”
(Baris countered: "Changes to the music industry do not account for the lack of talent in modern music. Plays and sales ≠ talent.")
There were plenty of comments about Baris’ age.
”If you didn't want to tire yourself out typing, you could have just tweeted ‘Old thing good, new thing bad,’ and that would have achieved the same thing as this thread.”
Not everyone disagreed with Baris. "Preach," read one reaction. Someone else replied: "In addition virtually no modern artists ... even write or produce their own music. Much of the time the people actually responsible for this are Scandinavian or German men."
Baris admitted his Twitter thread hit a nerve with music fans but pointed out no one has been able to provide “an exhaustive list of talented artists who released albums in 2021” – because, he said, “they don’t exist.”
1. Musicians in 2021 are talentless. For proof, I submit the 30-year comparison.— Rich "The People's Pundit" Baris (@Peoples_Pundit) November 30, 2021
Releases in 1991:
Guns N’ Roses: Use Your Illusion I & II (Greatest rock masterpiece ever)
R.E.M. – Out of Time
Soundgarden – Badmotorfinger
Pearl Jam – Ten
Listen to music from acts on Rich Baris' list