Pshaw. Depends on your taste, of course, but Tom Waits did some of his best work in the 1980s, for instance. Industrial and experimental electronica got really interesting (Einstuerzende Neubauten, Clock DVA, Throbbing Gristle/Psychic TV). Detroit techno, Belgian techno, all that stuff on Wax Trax. The pre-grunge Seattle/Portland scene, from Green River through the commercial success of Soundgarden. A certain amount of good stuff buried in among the college-radio ephemera, before R.E.M. made it big and the genre got commercialized as "alternative".
I'll grant you that the mainstream stank, but the mainstream of popular music usually stinks. Whoever compared it to stock photography was spot on, I think; occasionally it does something good, mostly by accident, but mostly it's just more oversaturated pictures of sunsets.
You've got me on Tom Waits. A true original genius in any decade.
OK, admittedly the charts from 1989 are a whole lot worse (I had to get to #47 before I found a song that I was sure shouldn't be shot on sight). Still and all, I think we tend to Photoshop our cultural memories more than we realize.
San Diego, CA, USA
The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
-The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_