Deadstring is dead right. Every possible permutation of our twelve tone scale has been written again and again.
There are no "new" melodies left to write.
All we can do is come up with a fresh scenario and interesting lyrics and instrumentation.
Really? You think so? I suspect we've barely scratched the surface.
If you were to only take those 12 notes with no note repeated there are 8,916,100,448,256 possible permutations of those 12 notes, (calculation is 12 to the power of 12). That's just using each note once leaving none out, use each note twice in a 24 note sequence and its 12 to the power of 24!!!!! You do the math. Now, while I can't prove it and I have no idea how to calculate it, I suspect that there may be an infinite number of ways to arrange those 12 notes as theoretically a song doesn't have to end! Any mathemeticians available? That's of course assuming that we only use the notes available in standard notation and stay within a single octave and don't use any of the stuff used in Asian or Arabic music that has notes that fall in to the gaps between our tones!
As for whether the music produced these days is good or bad, I think there's plenty of rubbish but there's also plenty of good stuff too. Some of this is down to the fact that there's more accessible music about. Before the advent of the internet bands had to convince a record company to back them and that took talent and commitment. These days you chuck a few tracks onto Myspace and you have access to most of the planet and we have to work our way through the dirge to get to the good stuff. Like many earlier posters I'm a child of the 60's and I was weaned on Led, Deep Purple, Sabbath, Hendrix etc but there's plenty of newer stuff I like and I've found that as I've got older my musical tastes have broadened and now I'll listen to anything from rock, blues, jazz, classical, pop, country, I'll even admit to a liking for opera!
I certainly don't believe your tastes should be limited by generation and I don't believe that bands have got worse, however they may have moved a particular genre on. A good example of this is Muse who while many believe to be Queen resurrected, have move the genre on. Matt Bellamy is an exceptionally talented musician whichever way you dice it and I love they they've fused Chopin into the last album.
Saying that I do believe that whoever invented rap should be tried for crimes against humanity.
Live the life you love, love the life you live