Try to consider the consistency of the artists who defined the genre, as well the staying power of the works today.
I think the most obvious choice is the British Invasion (Beatles & The Who), but I wouldn’t count out Motown (Jackson 5, Curtis Mayfield, Lot’s of 1-hit wonders) or simply the 90’s : grunge (Nirvana, Alice in Chains), punk (Blink 182, No Doubt, Green Day) rock (Foo Fighters, RHCP, Weezer etc…).
Its got to be right now. Because of the increased impact that media has in our daily lives and as a direct result of the multimedia explosion that we’ve experienced in the past decade- “Mainstream” music has become so diverse that it really encompasses all genres of music. You like 70s rock? I bet half the people in the US would agree with you and turning on a radio/sirius/computer/cell phone/television gives you instant access to your own genre. So if we define mainstream music by its standard definition “Music that is generally on the radio and is well known by the general public”, I don’t see how you could make an argument for any era other than right now.
Today is a great era too. I can tell that the Clear Channels are really trying to step their game up because the internet made music better for the little guy, and they’re trying to diversify. Country is making top 40. Synths are fashionable again (of course it was cool in the hipster scene and the dance scene when electro clash was blowing up). The Majors are looking underground and they’re getting people’s attention even though they are 10 years late for everything. Even the “safe” stuff sounds great.
Radio and TV are getting better. You cannot get away with a show like “Step by Step” or any other type of crappy show in the 90s. The Dexters, Houses, and the 24s are really good because the amount of choices make these companies take risks.
The only beef I have with the mainstream today is that everything tries to be louder in the mastering but it ends up being soft because of the distortion and lack of dynamics. And today’s sissy rap is not my thing. High pitched synths combined with auto-tune makes you sound like a sissy. Not what i’m used to from rap.
One particular era seems conspicuously missing from the OP post: The 70’s. The era that brought us Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Disco (with all the good it did and the bad), the end of it brought us punk and some of the early metal. I could make an intelligent post about the importance of disco in relation to latin music but it seems like a troll thread.
Also, Classical > Baroque. Baroque is some boring shit, yo. How can one possibly make an arguement for an era of music when the music written was meant to be background noise at gatherings? Garbage.
if by “best” you mean critically acclaimed then it has to be late 60’s-mid 70’s bcuz that era encompasses the british invasion and the height of motown. that was probably the only era where the critics and populace were completely on the same page with regards to what was “good” music. 80’s music was terrible with a few exceptions and since the 90’s if something is popular critics almost definitely pan and vice versa.
My favorite era of music was the 80’s. The 80’s had so many amazing and catchy songs, lots of one hit wonders, and by far the best era for Metal since all the best bands started in that era and had the best albums in that era.
Mainstream “punk” may be a contradiction, but in the 90’s when people (who only knew of “mainstream music”) thought of punk, I’m pretty sure they thought of Green Day and Blink 182. We’re talking about MAINSTREAM (as in pop) right?
In that case, I don’t see anything wrong with the poster’s first post.
Nah man I disagree wholehartedly. Im not sure what kind of music you were listening to but for me the 80’s had the some best songs and a legendary list of timeless artists whose music are still being played, covered or even sampled to this day. MJ, Prince, Luther, Marvin, Tina etc
Im not sure about rock but soul, RnB, funk had shit on lock back in the day.