I can’t remember if I’ve written about this before, but I saw some interviews of musicians I respect, which reminded me of this topic. Both bemoaned the current state of music, one of them gloomily predicting the the end boundary-pushing. (This interview was from the 80s.) My sense is that the basis for their assessment stemmed from a comparison with the past. That is, they compared their perception and understanding of the music of the present relative to the music from the past. If this is accurate, I don’t think this is a good way to judge the present. Indeed, I think doing so leads to erroneous judgments and pessimism.
Now, let me make a few things clear. One, I’m not taking this position because I necessarily think the present moment is filled with great musicians and great music. Instead, I’m basing my position primarily on the way we perceive and understand both the present and the past. The difference, I think, primarily explains why the present seems bleak, relative to the past; and I’m going to explain that in this thread.
(Note: This applies to movies, and I would suspect most other art forms as well.)