Sunday, October 10, 2010

My Thoughts on Today's 'Music'

Year 10 History - My teacher, Mr Bobin, taught the class how to write an exposition properly. Our homework that night was to write an exposition. Sounds pretty boring, but because Mr Bobin is so bloody awesome, he allowed us to pick ANY topic we desired (it didn't even have to relate to history). I chose to write an exposition for the point 70s and 80s music is better than today's music. Looking back now, I could have chosen a better title, and should have substituted '70s and 80s music' for 'the music of yesteryear'. One boring lunchtime, I decided that I would take my history exercise book out of my school-bag and read the exposition to my friends. Surprisingly, they were eager to listen. Even more surprising was the fact that I received a round of applause once I had finished it - one that was free of sarcasm. A few days later, I typed it up on my computer and saved the file as 'The best thing I ever wrote', which is actually grammatically incorrect. It should be 'The best thing I've ever written'. That shows how much I've improved since Year 10, not that I was a poor English student back then. So, my blog today will basically be that exposition, copied straight from Microsoft Word. There are a few flaws in it, but keep in mind that this was a homework task that I had one night to work on. I'll also add some extra comments below the exposition.

70s and 80s Music is Better than Today’s Music
The music of the 1970s and primarily the 1980s is better than today’s music, mainly the genres of techno, dance, electro, RnB, hip hop and rap. Not only is it more pleasing to listen to, but the themes are deeper.

You turn on the radio today to a mainstream station and you are immediately bombarded with tedious tunes reeking of monotony. Yet why do so many of today’s teenagers live by this music? Two words – Sex sells. Unfortunately, today’s music is packed to the rafters with blatant, indiscreet and clichéd sexual undertones. Songs from the 80s period advocate true romance, straight from the heart. They are easy to listen to and are not headache-inducing.

There is nothing wrong with sexual references in moderation, but when the song is centralised on sex, you have to stop and think to yourself, ‘Is this talented song-writing?’ Back in the 80s, music was a competition to see which artist had the better voice. Today, music is a competition to quite frankly see who can look more promiscuous in their video clips and whose lyrics arouse the most teenagers. The sad truth is, for most teens, they would only recognise the word ‘promiscuous’ because it is the name of a 2006 Nelly Furtado dance-pop song.

Today’s society’s fad of techno music is setting a very bad example for future generations. There is a major difference between skill and talent. Talent, in most cases comes naturally, and cannot be taught. You need a great deal of talent to perfect playing a musical instrument. You don’t require talent to work a synthesiser, that is, a DJ’s most prized possession. Sure, you undeniably require a whole heap of skill, no doubt about it. But at the end of the day, there is a fine line between skill and talent.

In terms of lyrics, the majority of today’s songs lack any depth in originality and intellect. Take artists such as Sir Elton John and Phil Collins for example. The majority of Elton John’s songs were written by Bernie Taupin, a close collaborator of Elton’s, with Elton writing the melodies. Phil Collins wrote the majority of his songs. Both of these legends’ lyrics are beautiful, in some ways a form of poetry. Now compare their songs to let’s say Katy Perry’s ‘I Kissed a Girl’, a song that is very familiar with today’s teens. Perry’s chorus is one-dimensional and on the whole an unnecessary statement on her behalf. Sure, she kissed a girl and she liked it. Honestly, does the whole world need to know that?!

The reason today’s teenage society is engulfed in this mind-numbing mess they call ‘music’ is because the majority of the ‘Generation Y’ teens are too afraid to challenge the mainstream and go against the trend. They may believe that they will be picked on if they choose to follow music from the past three decades. This is very unfortunate because it often leads to oppression of the real person behind them.

By ‘today’s music’, I actually mean ‘today’s prominent genres’. There is still a wide variety of thriving artists out there today, with music that awakens your senses. The sad truth is that these are the artists which go unnoticed, lurking in the shadows of overpaid, less-talented artists who keep serving their oblivious audiences with songs that echo mediocrity. You see, the greatest artists today aren’t the ones raking in the cash because their song is number one on all the major music charts in the world, but the ones who sit alone in their private studio at home, playing their heart out on their favourite instrument for hours at end, or those who sing their original compositions over and over again until their vocal cords exhaust. These are the real musical heroes of today.

In conclusion, society is changing at an alarming rate and new trends are emerging in rapid succession, but if these trends are sending out the wrong messages to future generations, then there’s no use in following them. Sure, it’s inevitable that while years are passing, artists will have to delve into a world of hackneyed premises and clichés, but that’s no excuse for producing such nonsensical garbage, that is today’s music.   


So...there it is. If I was to write this again, I would change a few things. Like I said earlier, I wouldn't restrict the periods of 'good music' to the 70s and 80s. Secondly, I would change my examples of good songwriters from Bernie Taupin and Phil Collins to Neil Finn and Paul McCartney/John Lennon. In Year 10, I liked the band Crowded House (headed by Finn) to a fair degree, but little did I know that they would become my favourite band one year later. The next thing that I would change is the amount of emphasis I placed on love songs. A song does not have to be about love to be considered deep and meaningful. I also said that "Back in the 80s, music was a competition to see which artist had the better voice." Two years have passed, and I have realised that music was and is WAY more than that. I think that's about all for my exposition amendments.

Now for some additional thoughts on today's music. The majority of today's music disgusts me, and it baffles me how most of today's youth endorses it, and actually LIKES it. My theory is that the youth of today will buy anything that hits number one on the charts. I wouldn't even be surprised if they all downloaded a piece of classical music, if some composer miraculously revitalised the genre. Would you like to know what I think of Ke$ha? Well, I'll tell you. SHE'S A TALENTLESS WHORE! "Wake up in the morning feeling like P Diddy." Seriously, what the FUCK does that even MEAN? 

Repetition is another bad habit that many modern 'artists' have fallen into. Take Taio Cruz's song Dynamite, for example. Here's the opening verse of that song:

I came to dance, dance, dance, dance
I hit the floor
'Cause that's my, plans, plans, plans, plans
I'm wearing all my favourite
Brands, brands, brands, brands
Give me space for both my hands, hands, hands, hands
You, you
Cause it goes on and on and on
And it goes on and on and on

If Cruz thinks that he's trendy by repeating a word four times, then he is disillusioned - big time. How about you actually learn some words and arrange them in a proper sentence, Mr. Cruz?

Now, I know that a lot of you are reading this now, thinking "Fuck, this guy's a huge fag. He takes music too seriously. Music doesn't have to mean anything." I seriously don't care if you like Dynamite or not. A lot of people may listen to such songs because the beat makes them feel good. But for some people, that's the ONLY reason they listen to music, and I believe that they are doing themselves a great disservice. Oh, and I CAN'T FUCKING STAND when people say that some song by Ke$ha, Flo Rida, etc. is the 'best'. No; it's not the 'best'. Hey, it may be your 'favourite', but please, don't embarrass yourself by preaching to everyone that it's the 'best'.  

Have you ever wondered why The Beatles have remained so popular, even though they broke up in 1970? It's because their music was so influential and groundbreaking for their time. It's because they had talent. It's because they actually played instruments. It's because they had two of the greatest songwriters of all time in Paul McCartney and John Lennon. Listen to their song Across the Universe. Go on; do it.

It's not even one of my favourite Beatles songs, but I still contend that it's one of the most beautiful songs ever written. I suggest you look up the lyrics to that song as well. Now, if you look ahead to about 50 years, I'm sure no-one will be talking about Justin Bieber or T-Pain, because they haven't done anything revolutionary for the music world. I'm telling you, modern music is all about who or what is more popular...and it fucking sucks.

Another thing which saddens me is the fact that just about any hip hop, rap [insert other lousy genres] or dance-pop song can garner millions upon millions of views on YouTube, yet the classics do not even come close. The song Low by Flo Rida (one of the worst songs I've ever heard) has 20,843,612 views on YouTube. But wait! That's only for ONE uploaded video. If you do a YouTube search for 'flo rida low', you will notice that several users have uploaded the song, and just about each user has attracted at least a million views. In comparison, the song Into Temptation by Crowded House only has 298,808 views for its most popular video. Now, I don't care if this sounds judgemental or biased, but Into Temptation is the FAR superior song of the two, in pretty much all aspects. If anyone disagrees with me, I invite them to bring forth their argument. Here's Into Temptation:

Oh well, that's all I have to say on this topic. It sure did feel good to get all of that off of my chest. I know that I may have appeared very one-sided, but then again, I do raise some valid points. This is a topic that I'm very passionate about, which is why this is quite a lengthy post. Anyway, I hope that I have inspired some of you to listen to some proper music, and if I haven't, then I guess I've just wasted my time. Hopefully, some of you already knew of [and listened to] such artists as Crowded House, The Beatles and Elton John before you even read this post. By the way, I will not be the least bit surprised if this post makes me the target of a lot of hate. But oh well, that's just another burden for me to bear, and I wouldn't have been so explicit in my opinions if I wasn't willing to cop some animosity as a result.

Take care and happy listening,

1 comment:

  1. Interesting post. I agreed with the majority of it, though I disagree with you in regard to Ke$ha.

    I like Ke$ha’s music for the same reason as I enjoyed Stephanie Meyer’s ‘Twilight’. This reason is not that I am a mindless sheep, but for the opposite reason. When I was a tween I was reading classic novels such as a Tale of Two Cities and The Hobbit and Pride and Prejudice. I found that reading was to learn something, but by the time Twilight came out, I was reading purely for entertainment. Twilight has simplistic writing and plot that you don’t need to read so much as relax into an almost unconscious state and have words poured into your head. This the same with Ke$ha. Her lyrics are basic and repetitive which means that you can easily sing along without having to wonder at the meaning bhind the lyrics, because there is none.

    Ke$ha is famous, but she doesn’t write her lyrics, or need to sing in tune. In fact, she just needs to turn up to events and she is paid an exorbitant amount. In real life, she isn’t even a skank (although this is some of her charm). The equivalent of Ke$ha’s workload would be if you sit behind a desk chewing gum and your boss writes your reports for you and signs cheques with the same pen. Or, more aptly, vomiting money. And glitter. I, for one, would love to vomit money and I applaud anyone who can.

    Anyhow, that's just my two cents.

    Big fan of your blog, by the way! :)