If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Music...is everything. It's everywhere on and off stage. You hear it at the grocery store in the background, you hear it in movies and t.v. and video games. You hear it on the car radio on the internet. You hear it from birds, from crickets even in rush hour traffic. It is a naturally occuring event in the world. One of the most beautiful gifts God gave to us. And it's being dragged through the mud.
It's been said a billion times already, "the music today SUCKS!" So many have commented and gave their "explainations" as to why music today sucks. But does it suck...really? Honestly.....yeah it does. A good 90% of music today is not good. Why? It's not natural. The best music has always occured naturally or at least felt that way. It was honest, it didn't beat around the bush. Much of todays music seems so devoid of heart. Its sole purpose is to make money. Making money is fine, we all gotta make money to live. But in years past it seemed that money was made from music that didn't sacrifice the heart and honesty of it. Money was a byproduct. Now sure, good music is in the eye of the beholder and one mans trash is indeed another mans treasure. If you like the stuff, thats fine really. But at some point, it must be addressed that said "music" is the equivillant of McDonalds fries. Completely empty.
There is a difference between good music and bad music and so much of what is on the radio is bad music. Or at least junk music. The common defense I get whenever I bring up this point is that "If a song or "artist" is making a lot of money then it's a good song/artist/album." And then said person considers it an end to the debate because you can't argue against numbers. And they're right, you can't argue against numbers. But what I would like to tell these people is that money was never apart of the debate. The argument is whether said song/artist is good or not, not whether it's successful. Money does not factor into the quality. My reasoning? McDonalds (yes I am using McD's again and I probably will again) makes billions off of selling it's food. None of it is any good for you. Even the salads were shown to be high in fat. And you all know what is put in their food and what it can do to you in excess amounts. The food has been doctored up to taste the way it does. There is no honesty in what you eat from them. That chicken nugget only has about 30% of actual chicken in it. The same way that Soulja Boy has only 15% talent and creativity in his "music". Again if you like it, fine. But know that the quality of it does not compare with the work of say, Grand Master Flash. One is a homemade chicken sandwich from a farm grown, naturally fed chicken and the other is made out of pink slime. No amount of money will ever change the fact that it's fake and that it's bad for you. MONEY DOES NOT EQUATE QUALITY! Now that THAT debate has been abated and every argument against it has been squashed, lets continue.
I was once asked "what causes certain music to stand the test of time? What makes music good?" It was a good question and really made me think. Is it nostalgia? Lets face it, many of us love certain songs, books, movies, tv shows not really because they're good, but because you grew up with them. Like the Star Wars fans who hate the prequels simply because they didn't come out when they were 10-12 (ADMIT IT) My take has always been that earlier music, the tunes that really stick with us, were about the immaterieal. The intangible things in life. Love, loss, self, spirituality etc. Marvin Gayes "What's going on" was about the turbulent events of the 60's and early 70's. America was in turmoil. We were in a very unpopular war, the civil rights movt. was in full swing and police had stepped up it's brutality against black people. By the time this song had came out MLK and Kennedy had been shot. Many young adults were disillusioned with their govt. and generally anyone from the older generation. There was also still the lingering fear of nuclear annihilation from Russia. There were protest everyday, riots in urban cities. Harlem had been torn apart in the wake of MLK's assassination. Students were being murdered on College campuses by those who swore to protect and serve. And if you were 18, everyday was just another day that you could recieve your notice that you were going to 'Nam to die for a cause you didn't believe in, if you even knew what that cause was. It's enough to make you look into the sky and ask "Whats going on." That song is over 40 yrs old and yet it is still as powerful as it was then. It has stood the test of time because it was honest. Marvin told the truth about what he saw then. "Picket lines and picket signs. Don't punish me with brutality" Or "Brother brother brother, theres far too many of you dying, Mother mother mother, theres far too many of you crying" The song had a since of urgency. Obviously because those were urgent times. But that urgency has not been lost 40+ yrs later. Why? Because Marvin Gaye meant every word he sang. He had lived those words. There was no Bull**** in what he was singing. But amongst all the dischord he sings about in his tune, he offers up an answer of hope. A solution to curtail the violence and chaos. "We've got to find way to bring some lovin' here today." Another tune that comes to mind is "Emergency on Planet Earth from" by Jamiroquai. I mean the lyrics speak for themselves. "The kids need education and the streets are never clean. I've seen a certain disposition prevailin' in the wind." Or "Think we're standing for injustice. White gets 2 and black gets 5...YEARS." This song presents the same urgency and a type of call to arms to fix this planet. To raise awareness of our wanning humanity. (Though this tune has a bit of a bleaker outlook than"Whats going on") Another thing these tunes have in common is the talent and musicianship. There are REAL instruments in these tunes. Musicians who put their heart and soul into playing these instruments. It's not a programmed machine. It has an organic sound. Even if the instrument is an electric intrument, i.e. E guitar, bass, keyboard, EWI, there is always going to be an organic feel to them if a human being is playing them. These songs are examples of HONEST, HUMAN MUSIC!
Contrast that with "Beep Beep" by Bobby Valentino. Let's take a look at the lyrics shall we. "Shorty been eyein me, She lookin like she thinking about tryin me, She want it she can't take no more,I'm about to take her to my spot, I'm a get it hot, she gonna turn around and let me Beep beep beep beep beep
She goin let me,Beep beep beep beep beep, I am tear it up when I ,Beep beep beep beep beep"............"BEEP BEEP BEEP?!?" Well it doesn't take a GED to figure out what he's talking about, but just in case the meaning escaped you somehow...IT'S ABOUT HIM MEETING SOME CHICK AT A CLUB AND THEN THEY GO TO HIS APT. TO HAVE SEX!!!! That's it. That's the song. Theres nothing else. There's not even a real point in hearing the other lyrics. Guy meets girl at club. Guy and girl go to his house to BEEP each other. There's nothing really honest about this song. The best I can match it with is a pick up line, and when has a pick up line ever been honest. A pick up line is just used to pick up women for beeping. Theres no love involved. And in the case of this song, the woman is merely an object for him to beep the hell out of. Sure maybe he's honest in that his intentions are to beep her, put this whole thing is just a narcissistic display of his "game". It's all about him. And that is one of the biggest problems of todays music. It is very NARCISSISTIC! It is very much about the material things for ones self. Love doesn't matter. Love is irrelevant. It's all about a night of pure Beeping. This tune is as shallow as a piece of paper. As for the musicianship.....what musicianship? His voice is clearly autotuned. First of all, let me explain what autotune was supposed to be used for. Autotune is a tool used when a singer hits a note that is out of tune. A.T. then corrects the pitch to where it's supposed to be. (if you need autotune at all to correct your singing, you need work) But artist...(no wait I'm not gonna call them artist. I calling them talkers). These talkers, or whoever, decieded it was a great idea to just use autotune over the entire damn song! That let's me know that said talker never had any vocal chops whatsoever. And of course the beat sounds like it was made by a $50 Kasio. There is little to no skill involved in the process in programming these beats. I'm sorry, but real music is not programmed. Honesty is not programmed. Humans are not programmed. It cannot be argued that this song has staying power, that this song will be looked at 30 yrs from now as a classic. Hell, this tune isn't even being played much on radio that much now I don't think.
This Narcissistic view is part of what is killing music. "I want, I want , I want, me, me, me, me, Ima get dis, Ima get dat, gimmie dis, gimmie dat!" The only honesty comes from the talkers wants. It's not honest music, it's selfish. It is ONLY about the material side. For example, Drake's tune I'm on One. Here are the lyrics (I guess) "All I care about is money and the city that I’m from, I’ma sip until I feel it, I’ma smoke it till it’s done And I don’t really give a f-ck, and my excuse is that I’m young And I’m only getting older so somebody shoulda told ya ,I’m on one Yeah, f-ck it, I’m on oneYeah, I said I’m on oneF-ck it, I’m on one." The first line is "All I care about is MONEY." I mean, this is a prime example of narcissisim. No concern for others, only of himself. Even the so-called music is only a means to get money. He has no concern as to wheather the product he sellls is any good. As long as he convinces enough people into thinking it's worth shelling out money for. Another fine example is "I'm on a boat", by The Lonely Island and T-Pain. "Take a picture, trick (trick) I'm on a boat, bitch (bitch)We drinking Santana champ, cause it's so crisp (crisp)I got my swim trunks, and my flippie-floppiesI'm flippin burgers, you at Kinko's straight flippin copies." Heres some more. "Yeah, never thought I'd be on a boatIt's a big blue watery road (yeah)Poseidon~!! Look at me, oh (all hands on deck)Never thought I'd see the dayWhen a big boat comin my wayBelieve me when I say, I fucked a mermaid." Basically, "Look at me look me , look what I got. I got more than you. You suck! I rule! I Beeped a mermaid! " Say it with me people....NARCISSISIM!!!!!! This "music" is a product. It is an empty shell devoid of beauty and love. Devoid of humanity and Honesty. It's only about the money. Only about the material. Nothing matters except for "What I got". It's all glizt and no guts. Look at Nicky Manaj. She has got to be one of the most fake, dishonest, vapid "artist" on the scene now. All the glitter and make up and weird ass clothes she wears is just a sad attempt to cover up that she has less than nothing to say. Lady GaGa is another one. What dissapoints me about her is that she actually can sing and is pretty proficient at piano. She traded that in for a meat skirt and other weird ass shit just so she could sell. Nothing she has done has been honest.
Now that is not to say that there is NO good music coming out today. Fact is there really is. Sometimes, some of it finds its way onto the radio waves. Adele is a prime example. I'm not the biggest fan of hers but from what I've heard, her tunes have substance. There is honesty in her music, she is aware of the immaterial. Her songs are of love and loss and humanity and life. I feel a since of relief when I see that she's one of the highest rated artist right now. There are also other artists that are making strides above the bull***t. Esperanza Spaulding is always churning out great music and she's gotten more noteriety after she beat Justin Beiber at the grammies. (When a jazz artists beats the most popular 'artist' of the time, there is hope.) On top of that, with the internet and itunes, it is easier than ever to find so much music from ANY genre from ANY artist. The downside is that it's not being pushed at all, not like Gaga or Manaj. And kids aren't going to go looking for something that they don't know exist. But I have noticed a brewing backlash against the BS music. More and more are realizing that there is little to no choices presented on the radio. They're realizing that the quality of music has dimminshed considerably. People are getting sick of it. And maybe one day there will be a major demand for real HONEST music.