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Metro Retro

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27 years ago in Metro Times: Bill Rowe writes on his opposition to electronics, gizmos and automation in pop music in the article "Grabbin' Gizmo: How are your waveform options?" He writes, "I took a look at the nationwide Top 50 last week. Of the 44 tunes I knew well enough to gauge, 35 had significant degrees of automation generating rhythm, butts and bucks. We have an active revolution here, the implications of which we surely don't fully understand." Rowe disapproves of pop engineering, with examples ranging from Devo to Soft Cell to "every rapper out of New York City," lamenting, "it's now entirely possible to make a record, sell a zillion copies and run with the cash without ever having played a note in your life." Twenty-seven years later, the public's attitude for automated music has changed very little. In fact, Rowe's worst nightmare has turned into reality. An overwhelming majority of the Billboard's Top 50 pop songs are filled with booming fake-kick drums, samples, automation and the tone-deaf's best friend: Auto-Tune. What was happening: Ray Charles with the Raelettes at the Hill Auditorium, Smokey Robinson at the Premier Center, The Fleshtones at Clutch Cargo's  

13 years ago in Metro Times: In "Party Politics," Hobey Echlin explores the growing interest in the Detroit techno and rave parties in venues you might not exactly expect to see lasers, strobe lights and fog. Venues such as Pontiac's Velvet Lounge, Zoot's Coffee and Rivertown's Sardine Bar all host techno-friendly dance events. This change in venue style differs from the traditional techno-party, whose location ranges from huge warehouse parties to more mid-sized clubs. A techno night at Sardine Bar called Bionic actually draws some of the crowd away from the larger warehouse parties. Thirteen years later, although techno-parties have somewhat decreased in size and number, especially over the last five years, some new crews have picked up the slack, including Blank, Proper | Modulation and RandomReason. Overall activity, however, has lessened in intensity. What was happening: Mötley Crüe at the Palace of Auburn Hills, the Dirtbombs at the Magic Stick, and Pantera at the Palace.

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