Music these days isn't working for me. Just the other day I spent three hours driving to Colombo while switching between Rick Dee's Weekly Top 40 and the American Top 40 radio shows, and I was really surprised at how plastic so many of the songs felt. Ke$ha almost personifies this trend; someone who can't really sing, has no real musical variety (all the songs involve getting drunk, partyin', partyin' harder, a bit of sex here, more partyin') but who knows how to make music that will play in clubs and will sell on iTunes. I'll admit, some of her stuff is catchy, but will I remember it ten years from now or request it on the 'golden oldies' show in twenty years? I don't think so.
Then there's the Black Eyed Peas, who have somehow become awful overnight. And the now-serious Linkin Park, who have recorded a song with reggae vibes. Then there's some new collaboration between Akon, Pitbull, T-Pain, Li'l Wayne, Keshia Cole, Kanye West, Keri Hilson, Timberland, Drake and Rihanna, every other week. Chris Brown singing "Yeah" not once, not twice, but "3X". Avril Lavigne telling us how all her life she's been good but now she's like, "what the hell?". I assume she had the same feelings towards actual song-writing too. Kim Kardashian
singing auto-tuning something about - you guessed it - partyin'. Katy Perry with what is easily the most ridiculous set of lines strung together and labelled prose (outside of the infamous Rebecca Black disaster), about someone's love being "extra-terrestial". (At this point I had to pull over for a minute to just scream in agony before I could resume my drive).
Normally I don't pay too much attention to lyrics, but lately with all the music that's on the charts I'm thinking that perhaps that's what is missing in music these days. Good music carries with it a message and a meaning, and you can't auto-tune or digitally add that onto a song.
Which is why I love what Jon Foreman, frontman of the band Switchfoot, did over the weekend. One of the many artists active on Twitter (I love his bio - "I play music in bands called switchfoot, and fiction family. I am grateful to be alive"), Jon asked his followers a simple question - "if you wrote a song tomorrow, what would the tune be called?"
Here is the seqence of tweets.
|Click to see the full size image|
|Click to have a listen!|
|Click to check out all 125 song lyrics submitted|
I thought it was a fantastic idea; so much so that if I had known about it (I was off twitter for the weekend) I may have even tried my hand at it myself.
Who knows, perhaps it's things like these that can inspire new artists to really give us some music that our generation can be proud of.