When people get nostalgic for the past, they usually point to the great things of yesteryear: Led Zeppelin, Marilyn Monroe, or FDR. But there's a more compelling way to prove that things used to be better: by comparing things that suck. Yes, that is my thesis. The terrible sucky things of the past were better than today's terrible sucky things. That's why this article is titled "4 Terrible Sucky Things That Used to Be Better." OK, that's a pretty awful title, so I'm pretty sure Cracked is gonna tweak that before this hits the press, but let's just use that as our thesis statement for now.
#4. Corporate Rock
Corporate rock is a much maligned genre describing music generated from businessmen instead of artists. So often corporate rock today is just what you'd think it is: half-talent pretty boys and girls backed by producers and marketing.
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But in fairness, that's a music mainstay and has always been part of the business.
Specifically, I'm talking about a different kind of corporate rock where music labels create fake bands. Not like the Monkees. More like fake real bands. Bands where only one member is actually signed to a contract and the label creates the appearance of a band by hiring competent musicians all around them. That would be the case with a band like Paramore, which is basically Hayley Williams signed to a deal, fronting musicians just like a real band! And that's the best case scenario of corporate rock today, because Paramore is a totally competent, decent band, even if they're never going to change the world.
But Back in the Day ...
Corporate rock actually had a lot more integrity. See, in the '70s, rock stars became less important. Think of bands like Journey, ELO, Kansas, and Boston. These faceless bands didn't rely on interviews in Rolling Stone with thoughtful, poet frontmen or reputations as kick-ass bar bands to sell records. The records were products. Well-written, well-recorded, big-money-financed products. It was contempt for this kind of music that inspired, in part, the punk rock movement. But here's the deal: For a genre of music born from cynical businessmen treating art as product, the results were really good.
Look at the business model. It was basically: "Let's not worry about finding pretty boys and rock stars. We'll just find super-talented musicians, give them a lot of money to record in the best studios (which are super expensive at this time), give them cool album art, because they're not pretty, and promote the hell out of them." But even if that formula was thought up by capitalists, you'll notice that the artist is left alone to create and be supported. At that time, albums were good business, and capitalists were funding artists to go make mini Sgt. Peppers. So even the most maligned music of the '70s was far better than the corporate rock of today. After all, it gave us stuff like this.
#3. Cheap Horror Movies
Bad horror movies are a tradition. They are often made poorly, with unknown actors, featuring abysmal special effects. But here's the thing: Advances in technology have made filmmaking almost too easy. I mean, even a spaz like me knows how to make videos with green screen and body cloning special effects. And with that power, it's easier than ever to take an absolute B-movie idea and dress it up like a real film. Uninspired but professional looking films like Paranormal Activity.
Of course, these advances in technology also allow people with absolutely no talent to make movies. That would be the case with maybe the biggest atrocity known to film: Birdemic.
If you've never seen that clip before, you are so welcome.
But Back in the Day ...
There was no CGI. The special effects were horrible and bad. Cheap horror movies couldn't pretend. Sure, there were still terrible special effect disaster movies, like The Food of the Gods, but you also got movies that were just plain weird. Movies that were somehow scraped out of the opium residue of a demented mind. When it comes to terrible horror movies, I think they used to be better. Case in point? Tourist Trap. Take Texas Chainsaw Massacre, add telekinesis, mannequins, and Chuck Connors, and voila!