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This isn’t a music blog…but I have several more thoughts on music in general, and it is very important to me, as it is to many people. So, this post is going to be a generalized continuation of my previous one.

Music is defined as, (1), an art of sound in time that expresses ideas and emotions in significant forms through the elements of rhythm, melody, harmony, and color; and (2), any sweet, pleasing, or harmonious sounds or sound: the music of the waves; the bell-like music of her laughter. It’s an interesting thought to consider that, because of music, absolutely everyone on our planet has something in common that isn’t inevitable or a basic need for survival. I’m pretty sure there’s nobody you could ask that doesn’t enjoy at least one specific artist. Music touches us, educates us, entertains us, and brings us all together. Part of the appeal is that there is something for everyone, from regionalized music (I know a little something about that) to classical, to global takeover genres, such as rock. There is a song that every one of us listens to when we’re angry, when we need to be cheered up, or when we’ve just been handed back our hearts roasted on a stake.

So what has happened to music in the recent years? I point out in my previous rant that, in my opinion, even as recently as the 80’s, music was still…well, about music. Where was the breakdown in between hair bands and autotune that stripped away the simple pleasure of making music and sharing it with the world?
Personally, I’m going to point some (not all, but a nice, hairy chunk) of the blame at big-time producers of both the music industry and reality television, as TRASNGRESSIVECINEMA so nicely put (in reply to my last post):

“You sound a lot like me! I can’t be near a TV showing one of these “talent” shows (Pop Idol, American Idol, et al) without starting to spit blood. It sucks all the individuality out of music.

Instead of people getting together and forming bands, now they just stand in line at an audition for a TV show and hope that they fit into the homogenised mould the producers are looking for.”

(That was my very first comment, I felt it fit to celebrate. But I digress.)

We all enjoy and mock the individuals that traipse down to the annual American Idol auditions to make complete and utter fools of themselves, only for their fifteen seconds of air-time. Most of us are aware that lots of these people are completely illuminated to the fact that they cannot sing a note, and that 80% of them probably only went on a “dare.” But nevertheless, the labyrinth of producers and interns that these people had to wiggle their way through let them see the infamous judges anyway. Why is this? Assuming the premise of programs such as American Idol is to legitimately narrow down a pool of talent to one artist with the full package, why do they waste our time and their own with the frivolous middle-men?

Because, mainstream producing has become, dare I say it, sort of a joke.

Entertainment value has devoured actual talent in the eyes of today’s head music outlets. If the masses think it’s funny or even slightly amusing, it’s producible. Even if something is, God forbid, annoying. If it sticks out in our heads, it’s worth something. And this concept is flung out to the blindfolded public, grasping out desperately for anything to hold onto before it falls over.

Who’s next indeed.

Music is not even the focal point of today’s music culture any longer. Look at Kei$ha. I’m sorry if you’re a fan, but she’s a perfect example. Now, her voice doesn’t quite make blood run out of my ears (I can think of a few teenagers with famous daddys whose voices do, though…), but I just cannot be convinced that the girl has any talent whatsoever. It’s almost as if she, in a drunken stupor after a wild night, riffed an almost-clever chorus-line that a few buzzed friends applauded and, jokingly, told her to submit to a record company. Lo and behold, she does it, and is quickly snatched up to be adorned in glow-in-the-dark garments and reduced to a basement-partying, facial-hair-endorsing pulp of the perhaps nearly respectable person she used to be. It’s a shame, really. But she’s amusing, and as they say, “bad publicity is better than no publicity.” Even I have to admit that I sing along to “Your Love (Is My Drug)” when I hear it in the car.

Money and glory also seem to play more of a role in the times of today. The thirst for fame and fortune can turn a beautiful dream into a completely selfish act. Instead of making music for the people, WITH the people, the concept turns into a chore. I can almost see someone today saying, “Really? Another song? Can’t you just pay me and let me go home?”
The amazing ideas and stories that music gives to us has become second-fiddle to the amount of money that can be made from what is now known simply as another “product,” instead of the art that it should be.

Reality television and over-use of the “how marketable is this person?” policy in general has grotesquely morphed “every-day life” and activities into something that is eaten up by millions and able to be controlled by the push of a button (voting off of islands, music competitions, dance competitions, etc…) This all leads up to a disturbing idea:
We, as a hunk of population all rolled together, have a massive, overgrown, awful, twisted, intense demand for instant gratification. And, worse than that, a large, hairy tumor of a God complex. As soon as someone becomes boring, or if we become annoyed or angry with them, we crane our big, collective neck looking around for the universal number to vote them off of the show! We’re like cavemen; when we become displeased, we point and grunt and expect whatever we’re unhappy with to immediately change into something more acceptable. We want to have complete reign over whatever it is we’re interacting with, and if it becomes unworthy, we throw it aside and look for the next entity that the world will toss to the sharks.

So what does all of this mess say about music and what exactly has happened?
Well, the flaws of the public combined with the industry that is so willing to profit from something that everyone enjoys makes for the superficial system of “music” we see today. Some of the genuine artists still exist today – but they are a minority now. What can be done to fix this problem?

Nothing, probably. It’s a monster of an issue that, if I must be honest, people most likely won’t work that hard to remedy. We’re left to sort out the true artists for ourselves, something that a lot of us have been doing for a long time now. To all of you that do, I wave the flag for you.

There we are – my thoughts on the music industry as a whole, I suppose. Comment as you please, with thoughts to the contrary or to support. All are welcome.

Stay classy, everyone.

And after all that thinking and becoming depressed via the flaws of today, I leave you the first song that popped up on my shuffle, a bluesy tune that immediately made me relax:

The Rolling Stones – Beast of Burden

: D

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