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When I'm not writing about my experiences in this journey called 'life', I'm singing and uploading my own interpretations of modern music. Click on "Cover Songs" to hear them, or on the YouTube logo on the right to see my YouTube channel.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Is Today The Day The Music Died?

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.

5 comments:

T said...

Ugh I totally agree. The problem is that the musicians who make good music, with lyrics that actually mean something, just don't get as much airplay as the ones who are utterly rubbish. For me, people like Corinne Bailey Rae or Adele write such beautiful music but when you look at the views they get just on youtube (adele's remember me 254k and rebecca black's friday 60 MILLION) it's mindblowing.

Music may not be dead quite yet, but it is most definitely on life support.

PseudoRandom said...

In defense of today's music, I don't really think you can look at a top 40 and judge the music industry by that. I've been meaning to do a post on this but haven't got around to it - the underlying fact is that you have to see how the chart is formed. You can't judge the entire music industry by music that 13yr olds buy (they're pretty much the only ones still paying for their music).

I don't listen to much American music 'cos it feels too 'produced' and formulaic for me. I'll accept that British music isn't to everyone's taste, but I think the commercial British music scene is where it's at right now. The established bands are putting out a lot of good stuff, and they're helping the new bands break through (with the help of many radio DJs).

What I'm trying to say is that it depends on where you look. There is a place for popstars like Ke$ha and Katy Perry, but there's also a place for artists like Magnetic Man, Friendly Fires, The Vaccines and Adele (to name a few British acts I like).

who else but me said...

Hm, I agree with you. But then again, Pop has always been like that noh? I mean, remember the 90s pop charts. They were brimming with boy bands at one point. And let's admit it we were in on it although now in hindsight, it was just appallingly BAD MUSIC with lyrics like "you are my fire. my one desire. and blah blah... I want it that way" . I guess the change is also that we've grown up and with it so has our choice and taste in music. Kind of going along what PR is saying, the Pop charts are really a reflection of a certain demographic. Then there's also illegal downloads, which never really factor into the charts so it really isn't a reflection of the choice of music today at all. If anything, the Pop charts a reflection of the musical preferences of the new gen. And that too of a certain group. They prefer a beat that they can dance to much rather than lyrics and meaning. As for Rebecca Black having six million views, it's really not at all because people like it. It's because they HATE it. Much like some funny blooper or something that does the rounds on YouTube because of how ridiculous it is and therefore entertaining. She ain't winning a Grammy anytime soon! T, Adele is HUGE here! They play 'Someone Like You' on radio like every hour or something. Which in my opinion is a disservice cos it just gets overplayed and then becomes annoying. Anyways that's my opinion on the Music today. It's just the times. They are a'changin'. But manufactured Pop is manufactured Pop, ten or twenty years ago. And pretty much will be. :)

Anonymous said...

dude I totally agree with you thats why I still love old music!! not old old ones like 90s or few years back.They werent like auto tuned..I still lisnt to chemical romance black parade and teenagers they are few song you can call them superb \m/ okay I'm also a techno,House fan bt I dont listen to thm all the tym its dance music anyway!! bt you hav to chk rebecca blacks interview!! she thinks she has so many fans and twitter followers! bt she dnt understnd they follow cuz they are desperate for a follow back!!I dont think shell make anothr song and if she does I dont freakin want to chk it out!and I think for grammys they shouldnt giv away grammys for auto tuned songs so that will encourage artist to create a good song that will b soothing to anyone! you cn find me on twitter @Dhakshika :)

Gehan said...

I agree that there is a certain demographic that pop music appeals to, and that we were all once in that demographic. However, I just feel that today's listeners are a lot more 'aware' than we were 15 years ago. It's like Hollywood; you can't get away with the cliches that worked in the 90's. We expect some amazing story, great directing and acting in every movie. Movies that are ground-breaking like Avatar still get stick for lame writing, which would never have been an issue back in the 90's.

The same goes for music. Arguing that only teens are powering the charts may hold water, but at the end of the day, thanks to the internet and kids inherent "i don't wanna be part of the crowd" mentality, teenagers these days are more likely to listen to 70's rock, punk, house, metal etc than teenagers back in the 90's. Listening to the BSB's back in the day is excusable, given there were like 4 or 5 boy bands in total in the music scene. Today, with all the variety? No excuses.

Also, I get that lyrics are not important for certain genres of music, but given the state of pop music, perhaps injecting some emphasis on that would be good for everyone, the pop music industry included.

[end rant]

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