I have known for a long time that this post was in the making....but like any other process things need to marinate before they are just spewed out onto the page. So, here is my spew.
I actually started thinking seriously about this topic when one of my favorite bands tweeted their disgust with the music charts. Basically, he lamented that we are living in sad times. And I thought, 'so true'. So, why do we live in sad musical times? There are many reasons my friend, but here are a few of my takes on why music in our generation is dying.
1.) We have no need for true musical talent anymore. If one has sat down to watch American Idol this season for even half a millisecond (which is about all I can stand), there is repeating theme of people thinking they can sing. Ok, I'm not trying to get all Simon Cowell on everyone, but honestly no one understands the limits of their own voice. No one can HEAR the tone in music. This could be a result of the mindless pop charts that tell us a musical artist is all about sounding good on a CD (thanks to auto tune and every other voice over) but once we hear them live....well, lets just say the lip syncing shouldn't surprise us anymore people.
2.) On top of pure vocal talent, we have lost the need for instrumentation. Now, instead of seeing the artist write their own music, we have a bunch of musicians standing in the back pushing the "star" forward. It seems like the only requirement in today's realm of being considered a musician is to be able to shake one's body on stage hoping that it proves as interesting as a well thought out guitar solo. Unfortunately, it doesn't.
3.) Lyrically popular music is killing brain cells. I was almost at a loss for words when I heard the recent "chart topping hit": "Blah Blah Blah" by a girl name Ke$ha. What?! Again I say, 'What?!' Not only does she fit my last two points perfectly, the lyrics to this song are vulgar, pointless, and take less musical insight then what my cat could write. This is what is considered chart topping music nowadays. This is what pumps mindlessly over popular radio stations. What kids are singing in school. Criteria: the song must talk about (in some form): sex, a party (any kind), alcohol (or better yet, 'a bottle of Jack' as pointed out to me yesterday), and any other ridiculous pointless encounter. Now that is talent.
4.) Music has been lost as the appreciation of an art form. Quite simply put. Our generation values what anyone else tells them is popular. Well, if you are hearing it on a popular radio station, it most likely fits into the previous categories. Very rarely do you hear music with any in-depth instrumentation, or lyrics that speak to anything other than your sex-drive on the radio or "music tv".
Now, am I saying that all music needs to be a life changing experience? No, not necessarily. Music sometimes needs to be fun....void of too many points. But, the problem arises when the music we see as valuable (that seems harmless) really preaches that a life of partying is the answer. Or how about the fact that women "artist" have more of a need to wear no clothes when they sing, versus sitting down and writing some worth while lyrics. And we wonder why the youth of America seems to value an outward appearance over anything else?
Now, for those of us that still value the art in music. The experience that powerful lyrics can give. The way that music can literally transport our mood or speak directly to it. The history behind it. The work that it takes to produce a true lyrical masterpiece. You know, that one song you wish you had written. The art that is present when playing an instrument.
For those of us that still value these things. We are going to have to look harder. There are still amazing artists out there, developing. There are still amazing songs from the past. But, you wont hear them booming through the tanner the next time you decide you need a "little sun." No, you won't be able to find their CD at the top of the rack. Their lyrics won't be present on facebook statuses. And you most certainly will not see them on popular shows receiving rewards. No, you and I will have to search for them. We will have to scour the history books so we can continue to remember what the word "music" truly means as related to art.