Is the World of Music Better Now or Better Then?

Jim Louvau
How does Miley stack against music eras of yore?

Steve Wiley is Up on the Sun's resident Record Store Geek. He shares stories of great music and wacky characters from his continuing 27 years in Valley record stores and the always zany music biz.

I'm closing in on a half century of existence -- an existence immersed in the world of entertainment -- and sometimes I just sit back and marvel at technology. My phone is a computer. I can fast forward commercials. I've got music and movies and everything in between right at my fingertips.

We've got it pretty good.

Notice I didn't say, "You damn kids don't know how lucky you've got it." I haven't hit that stage yet.

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What to Expect When You're Musically Middle Aged

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Wikipedia Commons
"David Playing the Harp," a 1670 painting by Jan de Bray

Steve Wiley is Up on the Sun's resident Record Store Geek. He shares stories of great music and wacky characters from his continuing 27 years in Valley record stores and the always zany music biz.

What can I tell you? I'm middle-aged. Forty-nine to be exact.

I stopped my wild partying 20 years ago, so I don't know any of the new clubs, new bands, or new trends. I reminisce about things like The Gin Blossoms at the Sun Club

Never fear, because all of those extra years of experience allow me to write things like today's little ditty: What to Expect When You're Musically Middle-Aged.

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Forty '90s Albums That Still Hold Up

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The cover of U2's Achtung Baby

Steve Wiley is Up on the Sun's resident Record Store Geek. He shares stories of great music and wacky characters from his continuing 27 years in Valley record stores and the always zany music biz.

At the end of July, I wrote about Five Reasons I Don't Write About New Music, the most important of which is that new music hasn't stood the test of time. I prefer to talk about the stuff that holds up.

Over the years, I've given you all recommendations on jazz, blues, soul, even Brazilian music. I explained which decade of music was the best ('67-'77), and I even made a list of great albums from the worst decade (The '80s, duh).

But I haven't gotten a chance to lead you through the '90s ... and whether you like it or not, my aging brothers and sisters, that decade started almost 25 years ago! No time like the present, so here's 40 Albums From the '90s That Still Hold Up.

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How Deep Is Your Love: The Levels of Music Fandom

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Melissa Fossum
Safe to say you're a huge fan when you wear costumes at the live show, like these Lady Gaga fans recently did. Full slideshow here.

Steve Wiley is Up on the Sun's resident Record Store Geek. Biweekly, he shares stories of great music and wacky characters from his continuing 27 years in Valley record stores and the always-zany music biz.

I was hanging out at Revolver Records the other day, and Andy (friend, former hoodlum, and store manager) and I struck up a conversation with this kid.

The kid told us he was a fan of The Cars.

"Cool," we said. "It's always cool to see vintage music carry on to the next group of music lovers."

I asked him which album was his favorite. He said he didn't know any of the albums.

Uh, kid, I love your attitude, but think I need to set you straight. You can't really call yourself a fan of a band if you don't even know any of the albums.

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5 Reasons I Don't Review New Music

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Rolling Stone infamously panned the classic Led Zeppelin I when if first came out.

Steve Wiley is Up on the Sun's resident Record Store Geek. Biweekly, he shares stories of great music and wacky characters from his continuing 27 years in Valley record stores and the always-zany music biz.

Generally when I tell people that I write about music, they assume I write reviews for new music. However, those of you that may have read my past ramblings may have noticed that I never write about new music.

Since I don't get to talk to many of you deranged characters, my assumption is that most of you just figure it is because I'm some middle-aged cat whose music-finding drive got stuck in his early 30s.

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World Cup Playlist: The Quarterfinalists of Brazilian Music

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Steve Wiley is Up on the Sun's resident Record Store Geek. Biweekly, he shares stories of great music and whacky characters from his continuing 27 years in Valley record stores and the always-zany music biz.

Have you been watching the World Cup? Me too.

I'm a huge sports fan, but I only follow soccer during this one event, kind of like the Olympic sports. I'm not ready to trade in the NFL or MLB, but I'm looking forward to today's match between the U.S. and Belgium, and, whether our boys win or lose, the rest of the tourney. I've really been enjoying the sport, the crowds, and of course, the host country.

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6 Songs That Evoke Movie Scenes

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Hannibal Lecter was more of a classical guy than a rock guy.

Steve Wiley is Up on the Sun's resident Record Store Geek. Biweekly, he shares stories of great music and whacky characters from his continuing 27 years in Valley record stores and the always-zany music biz.

When you are a music geek like I am, you are constantly aware of the music that's playing.

At a restaurant. At the bar. At the game. At anything.

I especially hear it during movies. So I often end up linking certain songs and certain movie scenes. It's just the way I do it.

You too? Maybe you can relate to this little ditty.

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Arena Rock's 10 Greatest Bands

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Steve Wiley

Steve Wiley is Up on the Sun's resident Record Store Geek. Biweekly, he shares stories of great music and whacky characters from his continuing 27 years in Valley record stores and the always-zany music biz.

When I was a young music fan, I just liked what I liked. I didn't know about critics, or cool, or cheesy. I didn't have any peer pressure or older siblings to guide me, I just listened to the radio. And I liked most of it.

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The Eleven Greatest Record Store Performances, Part Two (The Top 5)

Steve Wiley is Up on the Sun's resident Record Store Geek. Biweekly, he shares stories of great music and whacky characters from his continuing 27 years in Valley record stores and the always-zany music biz.

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Steve Wiley
Blackalicious and guests entertain a huge crowd at ASU's Hayden Lawn

Welcome back, my friends. When I last left you, I was discussing my favorite record store performances of all time.

I had such a great time telling the stories, that my editor decided to break into two parts (a blogging first for me). So I was able to tell the stories of numbers 7-11, featuring Guttermouth, Pete Yorn, The Refreshments, and more. Hopefully you enjoyed them.

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The Eleven Greatest Record Store Performances, Part One

Steve Wiley is Up on the Sun's resident Record Store Geek. Biweekly, he shares stories of great music and whacky characters from his continuing 27 years in Valley record stores and the always-zany music biz.

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Steve Wiley
Guttermouth works up the crowd at Hoodlums ASU

As you might expect, working in a record store is a pretty cool job.

Sure, there are plenty of times when it's just retail, with all the same annoyances and tedious tasks as any other store. Being trapped in one place all day, standing for hours, and of course, customers from hell. But for the most part, it's a music-lovers dream.

This is especially true when you get a chance to get up and close with the artists...and nothing gets you closer than being involved in an in-store performance.

Luckily, over the past 27 years, I've hosted and attended my share. They are never the same, and never predictable. Read on, and I'll share a list of stories from my Top Eleven In-store Performances of All-Time.

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