Saturday, April 02, 2016
Why Does Most of Today's Music Suck So Much?
Posted By Pam On Saturday, April 02, 2016
I really didn't want to write a "get off my lawn" title for this blog post. I really wanted to call it, "Why I'll Always Be Old School When It Comes to Music" or something equally as gentle. However, for SEO purposes, most people are going to be asking Google, "Why does today's music suck so much?"
(By the way, the two clowns in the photo on the right above call themselves Twenty One Pilots. I'm not even going to get into why they suck so much, but if you can stand the auditory torture, look up the video to a song of theirs called "Car Radio" and you'll hear--and see why.)
Let's face it: a lot of music being heard on the radio waves today does suck, particularly pop music. I know because I was forced to listen to it in work a few weeks ago. My work station is currently the front reception desk until our expanded office space is ready to use (we don't actually have a receptionist, but it was one of the few available places for me.) In the front reception area is a speaker. I have no idea who turned it on one afternoon, but all of a sudden it started playing one pop song after another. Since most people work in their own areas and offices I was really the only one that was going to get any benefit from it. "OK," I said to myself. "I can deal with this. I haven't listened to any of those pop stations in an awfully long time. I'll be open minded. Let's see what the young 'uns are digging these days."
Within an hour I wanted to shove bananas in my ears. After two hours I wanted to scream.
Then I realized the speaker had a volume control. So I went over to it and turned the volume down. The following day, I brought in my earbuds and I stopped being lazy about downloading Spotify to my office MacBook.
I tried, guys. I really did, but to no avail.
Why did the music grate on my nerves so much? Because every single song. Sounded. The. Same. Rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat.
Everyone sounded auto tuned. Every song had practically the same inane lyrics. Every song sounded like it had all been produced electronically. I couldn't make out a single guitar or horned instrument with the exception of "Uptown Funk" (admittedly, a modern song I DO like, because of its horns and retro sound.)
Today's music is truly soulless. There's no more individuality, no more creativity. It all sounds like it was produced by the same record company (there is some truth to this, which I'll get to in a minute.)
And believe me, I'm being kind here. I came across another blog recently where the author didn't mince words; he declared--right in the post's title--that "if you're under 25, your music is f***ing garbage."
One of the reasons I do love the music of the '60s, '70s, and '80s so much is because every singer and band had their own unique sound. You hear a song, and you can immediately identify who was playing it.
Not so in the year 2016. I invite you to watch at least part of the following video by Infowars journalist Paul Joseph Watson. Watson is a controversial figure; Infowars is known for being a conspiracy theory website, but this commentary is not about politics or world affairs. It's about the downfall of music as we know it and as spot-on as it is, I must warn that it may depress you. My favorite part? When Watson states that, "Now any stupid f***ing bimbo or braindead twat can be dragged off a reality show, dropped into a recording studio, and have their shrill, warbling voice auto tuned for mass consumption." And that's just the least of it. Watson believes we're being brainwashed. He may be onto something.
And by the way, I totally agree with him about Coldplay, too. I hate their music and think they're vastly overrated.
I don't understand how any self-respecting DJ can play any of this pap.
And Watson is right about the "verbal diarrhea" trend. Have you heard the song "Work" by Rihanna and Drake? (I can't believe right now I'm mentioning people named Rihanna and Drake on Go Retro.) I won't torture you with the music video of the song, but here's some of the lyrics so you can see how asinine the "writing" behind this gem was:
Work, work, work, work, work, work
He said me haffi
Work, work, work, work, work, work!
He see me do mi
Dirt, dirt, dirt, dirt, dirt, dirt!
So me put in
Work, work, work, work, work, work
When you ah guh
Learn, learn, learn, learn, learn
Meh nuh cyar if him
Hurt, hurt, hurt, hurt, hurting
Yeah. Apparently "haffi" is a Jamaican term, but I'm not going to bother trying to decipher the "meh nuh cyar" gibberish. And those repetitive lyrics! You can trust me when I say the song is just as bad as the words.
Sadly, it's all about the almighty dollar and how much crap the record companies can shove in our ears. In 2002, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers released an awesome album called The Last DJ which takes aim at the money-grubbing music industry. A lot of critics at the time thought that Petty was being a cranky crybaby with this release, but there's a lot of truth in tracks such as "Money Becomes King" and "Joe" ("Bring me a girl // They're always the best // You put them on stage // And you make her undress // Some angel whore that can learn a guitar lick // Hey! Now that's what I call music")
I want to clarify that there IS still intelligent music being written and produced that features artists playing their own instruments, but you have to hunt around for it. In my area, there's an independent radio station that features new artists but will also play some of the old classics, too (the Spectrum station on Sirius is pretty similar.) In the past few years thanks to my local independent station I've been introduced to Muse, Fitz and The Tantrums, Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats, David Gray, and J.D. McPherson. But I can't consider myself a true fan of any of them; it's more like I'm familiar with a few of their songs and I like them enough to not change the channel, but none of them have meaning to me like Chicago, Steely Dan, and Electric Light Orchestra.
In the past few weeks I've been asked by a couple of coworkers if I miss hearing the music and want it turned back on. I think you can guess that I've politely declined, explaining that I can't take today's pop music and prefer to listen to my old school playlists on Spotify. It kind of surprises me, though, how many people have said that they don't mind listening to it.
Well, I could go on and on here. But frankly, I think my energy would be better invested by this point by listening to real music by people with real talent, that can play instruments.
Do you agree? And if there's any recommendations you can make for good modern music, let me know in the comments!