Written By Christy Lee
Why is popular music today mostly electronic with pitch correction? It all sounds the same. What ever happened to true appreciation of talented musicians playing actual instruments and the ability to sing without autotune. Have we as a culture gone fast food with our music?
In the past, dedication, love of music, a lot of
practice time and most importantly talent were how bands became successful. What it takes now is a large social media following and a laptop. Have we lost our ability to discern what good music is?
The hard rock and metal scene in the past decade has seen decline. While there are still bands out there that are popular, there has been a decrease in the number of new bands that are able to break the mainstream barrier.
The younger generation is more in favor of solo acts powered by auto tune, a computer and disinterest in rock and metal bands. Ageism plays a huge role in these arguments because fear of change comes out roaring since people tend to hold onto memories. They tend to forget that the music of their generation also had artists that were lacking and some bands induced a moral panic among the elders. This is part of what fuels parent-child conflict. The concept of morality differentiates between generations.
MTV changing their format into reality shows instead of music videos could be part of the reason. There are plenty of reasons why MTV, the Music Television, stopped playing music videos, such as competition on TV, short-form content, a small audience, lack of new content, and new platforms like YouTube and music apps. For these reasons, MTV had to change its approach to survive.
Lyrics are severely lacking today. Most notably mumble rap artists. Most mainstream rappers nowadays rap about money, sex and drugs. The rap artists from the past were story tellers and could hold notes. The same goes for R&B groups and pop artists. They played instruments, could sing well and wrote more intelligent, thought provoking lyrics.
Part of the problem is radio. Radio is the most listened to medium. The issue with many of the mainstream radio stations are they want to promote the kind of music that’s deemed commercially viable and aesthetically pleasing which leads to quality and lyrical content being overlooked or dismissed.
Politics play a role as well with aesthetic and monetary value over quality and talent. The end result is lukewarm, sterile and hollow music with cultural asphyxiation.
The artists that do their best to assert their authenticity and bring new sound is often pushed aside either because of moral panic or fear of change. This happens even more so these days due to corporatism being allowed to go unchecked if you will. However, there are artists who manage to slip through the cracks to get their sound broadcast through a broader audience.
Certain genres receive more airplay than others because that’s how fashion trends and to a certain extent, identity politics work. Since the politics have changed, so will the dynamic. We will see more low quality content coming from many radio stations these days. It’s gotten to the point where the underground and peripheral stations have become a key source for anyone craving their favorite brand of unedited music. With the internet having come of age this will also play a big role in music distribution.
There is light at the end of the tunnel. I am seeing more and more great original artists putting their work out there. More websites and promoters toiling day and night to get their music into view. Theres a fair amount of music apps dedicated to inundate the masses with tons of bands and artists both underground and a little more well known. I would be remiss if I failed to mention the vast amount of local live shows, concerts, festivals and world tours that have been on the upswing, so in conclusion things may be looking up but ultimately its up to all of us to change the course of events and share and support all of these amazing music artists any way we can to bring back great quality music.