Disruption! The Music Indicator…more! A confirmation?

Listen to the music…. Disrupting the disrupters…

 

The sequel for Mamma Mia and ABBA music represent the desire for feeling good and escaping the tensions of the real world. It reminds us of happier moments even though our memories may be playing tricks on us (with this in mind, take some time to visit Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History Series 3 podcasts). The first film was released in 2008 as we headed into recession. Is the music indicator telling us something? Bulls will argue, ABBA is not current, but music from the ’70s and all the upheaval of the times. The conclusion of initial IAV Music Indicator Report hints that we may be heading for or even in similar times! Most importantly, Baby Boomers are used to living lives full and immersed in constant disruption and they may be “old,” they may be slow, but there is an expertise longing to be shared. Disrupting the disrupters!

The following is an excerpt from an article from the Economist (paywall): “ABBA’s Songs are an Escapist Treat in Melancholy Times”

“Carl Magnus Palm, the author of “The Real Story of ABBA: Bright Lights, Dark Shadows”, says that the group itself was nonplussed about such critiques: political messages “were a waste of a good tune”. At the same time, the band understood where that frustration came from. “When you have all these forces working to make things better in society,” Mr Andersson said, “it can be very provocative with a band that just runs around in platform boots and plays music.” That singular focus on making effervescent pop music makes ABBA easy to dismiss. They were neither socially conscious, radically experimental musically (though they did apply innovative “Wall of Sound” production techniques) or, as a pair of then-committed couples, edgy as a band.

“But that dedication to universal themes and catchy tunes is also what makes them timeless, and a source of joy in anxious times. ‘Waterloo’, released in Britain in May 1974 as the winning Eurovision entry, quickly reached the top of the singles chart. The rollicking piano and saxophone number was a welcome distraction from soaring inflation, strikes, the oil embargo crisis and bombings carried out by the IRA. A recent exhibition at the Southbank Centre in London emphasised the grimness of the period and portrayed ABBA as a ‘breath of fresh air’.

“The band resonated in a similar way in America, which had been transfixed by the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal. “Waterloo” was competing with the likes of “Billy Don’t Be a Hero” and “Sweet Home Alabama”, which confronted the country’s two great crises head on. The song reached sixth position on the Billboard Hot 100 in August. A reviewer for Rolling Stone at the time heralded ABBA as “one of the most cheering musical events in recent months”: “Just when the top 40 was plumbing hitherto-unfathomable, moribund depths, along came their single, ‘Waterloo’…with the brightest, most exuberant sound around.””

According to the chart below, ABBA’s success signaled a bottom for the market and temporary low point for the US economy.

Economic Indicators under Presidents from 1968 -1989 (Dow, US GDP yoy, Oil, US CPI, US Unemployment)

1974-ABBA: Watergate Scandal (Nixon resigns in August), Stock Market Declining, Inflation Soaring, Unemployment Rising, and GDP Declining (about to bottom)Source: Bloomberg

1989: The Iron Curtain is coming down, Stock Market Soaring, Inflation Stabilizing at lower levelsUnemployment Declining, and GDP Stabilizing

1989 was also a time of disruptive forces that followed a culmination of good and bad events symbolized in Billy Joel’s song, “We Didn’t Start the Fire.”

From Wikipedia: ”We Didn’t Start the Fire’ is a song by American musician Billy Joel. Its lyrics include brief, rapid-fire allusions to more than 100 headline events between 1949, the year of Joel’s birth, and 1989, when the song was released on his album Storm Front. The song was nominated for the Grammy Award for Record of the Year. The song was also a No. 1 hit in the United States.”

Economic Indicators under Presidents from 1956 – now (Dow, US GDP yoy, Oil, US CPI, US Unemployment)

Source: Bloomberg

“We Didn’t Start the Fire” Lyrics (from Metrolyrics.com)

(The ’50s: GDP volatility, stock market advancing into 1960 elections-JFK wins)

Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnnie Ray
South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio
Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, television
North Korea, South Korea, Marilyn Monroe

Rosenbergs, H-bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom
Brando, “The King and I” and “The Catcher in the Rye”
Eisenhower, vaccine, England’s got a new queen
Marciano, Liberace, Santayana goodbye

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it but we tried to fight it
Joseph Stalin, Malenkov, Nasser and Prokofiev
Rockefeller, Campanella, Communist Bloc

Roy Cohn, Juan Peron, Toscanini, dacron
Dien Bien Phu falls, “Rock Around the Clock”
Einstein, James Dean, Brooklyn’s got a winning team
Davy Crockett, Peter Pan, Elvis Presley, Disneyland

Bardot, Budapest, Alabama, Krushchev
Princess Grace, “Peyton Place”, trouble in the Suez
We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning since the world’s been turning

(The ’60s: GDP bottoms in 1961 and the stock market rallies peaking in 1966 and again in 1968, and Unemployment falling)

We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it but we tried to fight it
Little Rock, Pasternak, Mickey Mantle, Kerouac
Sputnik, Chou En-Lai, “Bridge on the River Kwai”
Lebanon, Charlse de Gaulle, California baseball
Starkweather, homicide, children of thalidomide

Buddy Holly, “Ben Hur”, space monkey, Mafia
Hula hoops, Castro, Edsel is a no-go
U-2, Syngman Rhee, payola and Kennedy
Chubby Checker, “Psycho”, Belgians in the Congo

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it but we tried to fight it

Hemingway, Eichmann, “Stranger in a Strange Land”
Dylan, Berlin, Bay of Pigs invasion
“Lawrence of Arabia”, British Beatlemania
Ole Miss, John Glenn, Liston beats Patterson
Pope Paul, Malcolm X, British politician sex
JFK, blown away, what else do I have to say

(The ’70s: Oil and Political Crises, GDP bottoms in 1974 and the stock market recovers somewhat bottoming in 1982, and Unemployment peaks in 1975)

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it but we tried to fight it
Birth control, Ho Chi Minh, Richard Nixon back again
Moonshot, Woodstock, Watergate, punk rock

(The ’80s: Reagan, China opens up, Japan soars,  GDP bottoms in 1982 and the stock market long term bull market begins with some corrections in between-crash in 1987, and Unemployment falling)

Begin, Reagan, Palestine, terror on the airline

Ayatollah’s in Iran, Russians in Afghanistan
“Wheel of Fortune”, Sally Ride, heavy metal, suicide
Foreign debts, homeless vets, AIDS, crack, Bernie Goetz
Hypodermics on the shores, China’s under martial law
Rock and roller cola wars, I can’t take it anymore

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
But when we are gone
Will it still burn on, and on, and on, and on…
We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it but we tried to fight it
We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it but we tried to fight it

Video Link Source: YouTube and VEVO

Music currently is mostly sentimental and romantic, not “feel good” like ABBA indicating things are about to get better or critical/protesting like “We Didn’t Stop the Fire” indicating big changes and/or peaks. Music is thought as a medium connecting people and so watch the Millennials as a potential enduring force (?) and the Baby Boomers embracing continuous disruption. Maybe this rally has more legs…

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