I've just heard the "Hotel California" once again. Beautiful song from Eagles...

Watched nearly 10 covers on the YouTube, some of them are really awesome. This song was really a hit at its time. For some people, like me, it's still a hit, though I'm 29.

Through rethinking all that, I've got a question, probably you'll help me with that. Not that it's too important, but still...

In the past, there were a lot of songs which were telling some stories - from the start to the end, and they were very popular.

Now they are nonexistent. I can think of epic/power metal, but... You know the limits of these genres, not even in music (music sounds great for me), but in the discussed topics. Also, no one knows about them - popularity is zero.

So, what happened? Have modern people lost their will to actually listen to the songs they listen to?

Or, maybe I'm wrong about the past? Or about the present?

If I want to listen to something like that (without elves, axes, and big battles), is there anything like that?

P.S. Yes, there's also the rap style. But... Calling it popular is sort of erroneous. Certainly thousandfold less popular than Billie Eilish. And it stands pretty far from other music styles in terms of how actual music works from what I understand.

  • What exactly is your question here? Why story-based songs/lyrics have become less popular? And is that assumption based purely on the popularity of Hotel California? (I can imagine you're right, don't get me wrong, and I think it used to be more popular for progressive rock bands to harken back to the poetry, romanticism, and idealism of the chanson.)
    – Joachim
    Commented Jan 14, 2023 at 20:47
  • @Joachim The question is why they are nonexistent in the current popular culture - I can't name a single song or performance of a modern popular singer or a band telling any sort of a story. Feelings - yes, a lot. Some sorts of questions and their answers - yes, a lot. Probably something else like that. Cars and girls :-D Romanticism, love, everything like that. But not what I've described. Commented Jan 16, 2023 at 10:35
  • "in our culture" This is an international site and there is more than one culture in the world. All cultures around the world are free to use it.
    – Amarth
    Commented Feb 11, 2023 at 14:52

1 Answer 1


I don't know if this rises to the level of an answer, but it's too long for a comment.

In the past the artist had the stories, and the rest of us consumers didn't, or at least didn't realize it.

Modern technology (chat, blogs, newsgroups, social media, etc.) has provided people with the power and ability to think that "my own story is (at least potentially) just as interesting as anyone else's."

So instead, music presents moments, feelings, scenarios, concepts, feelings, struggles, conflicts, challenges etc. that are likely to resonate with the personal stories of the consumers and amplify/augment/accompany them.

A similar idea was much more thoughtfully articulated by journalist Audie Cornish in the January 27, 2023 Late Show segment Audie Cornish on George Santos and The End Of Shame after about 02:45

The point of the show is to, instead of you and I being in this seat, right -- you're a kind of gatekeeper and I'm in this like strange celebrity scenario.

We are in a world where everybody is part of the story, right? Like Tiktok, you can get your news, you get it on your Facebook feed and seeing a mix of things. We're driving the story.

She then goes on to describe how she elicits stories not from celebrities, but from people just "doing their thing":

And I wanted to put a regular people in this chair and talk to them the way you're talking to me; "Who are you? What do you do? What motivates you and how are you trying to add what's going on in the world?"

  • 1
    An interesting idea! I would say that this works for 99,9% of the popular culture at the moment. And there's no need to think of the story to tell, it's on the consumer's side. Commented Jan 16, 2023 at 10:38

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