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Music Today

This post is way overdue, and I suppose it’s a bit hypocritical of me for posting it…

A while back, a friend of mine posted a note on how much she was frustrated with music today, following a conversation with her mom about Rebecca Black’s Friday.

‘i dont even turn the music channel or radio on anymore because i just get so so angry about the electronic, autotuned crap that will come out of it. What happened to music being created out of instruments and lyrics having any meaning. Live music now is just an absolute joke.. its all about the looks and the money. No one gives the tinyest shit about what actual sound is being produced. I cant believe it’s actually gotten this bad… i dont even want to be a musician anymore as people clearly have absolutely no clue at what is good and what is trash. AAAAHHHH im so frustrated right now.’

What she says is so true. Almost everything on the Top 40 is 120 or 140 bpm, Verse/Choruse + Rap breakdown. And don’t forget the 4 on the floor club beat. Yes they’re catchy. That’s why they’re on the Top 40. That’s why I listen to them. But that’s not the point.

What seems to be happening is that we’re accepting that music should be mindless and that general topics should be sex, clubs, and occasionally, love. Forgive me for being nostalgic, but so much can be said for musicians such as Leonard Cohen and Joan Baez with meaningful lyrics, or Stevie Wonder and Led Zeppelin for at least using harmonic progressions which aren’t based on 4 chords throughout the songs. I guess that’s why I’m a little encouraged with the direction of Lady Gaga’s latest album. The Bruce Springsteen influences are very strong. Instead of being purely club hits, she’s added some rock influences (and I was VERY happy to hear SAX and GUITAR solos instead of some rap talking about how they want to strip her down in the middle of the club). And she has managed to exceed the 4 minute pop boundary for at least two songs (You and I, Edge of Glory).

She also featured one of the greats: Clarence Clemons. A real Musician, with real talent.

Was also impressed to see that Rihanna brought a little reggae back in Man Down, and at least in her violent topic, she gives reasoning and adds a little emotional depth.

The same can be said for her collaborations with Eminem on Love the Way You Lie Part I and II – though verse, chorus, rap and simple harmonies, at least it’s a duet and presents lyrics with meaning.

Sadly I think this problem had existed for so long, and I can’t hold it again human nature that we want something that is easy to grip, remember and dance to. Dreamgirls highlighted that point pretty well I think! And don’t get me wrong, I really DO think that music should be accessible. Sadly it means that some really good songs go unheard, merely because that artist hasn’t dedicated their life to mainstream style. I suppose I’m also swayed by the amount of jazz I’m doing now. Though lyrically, a lot of jazz standards are lyrically dubious, they make up for it with chromaticism and multiple motifs.

At moment I’m really enjoying the Noisettes. They are a group that managed to bridge the gap between top 40 and good music, albeit with their more commercial sounds.

And that is my rant for today. I’m fairly sure this topic will come up again. And again..