What happened to music? Wasn’t it good at one point? Now, it honestly sucks, doesn’t it? The new songs coming out and the new artists just don’t do it for me.
I know I sound like my parents or grandparents saying “Kids these days listen to nothing but racket.” But my comments aren’t just part of the typical generational disconnect that keeps older people from appreciating novel, creative music teenagers listen to. I really believe that music is objectively worse than it used to be.
The turn of the Millennium brought with it what I call the “flash and trash” entertainment mentality in our culture. Whereas being a superstar used to be about raw talent, today it is all about using good looks and bright colors to disguise the fact that you can’t play an instrument or sing worth a damn. While there are a couple of solid musicians tossed into the mix, we can count on one hand artists that have had any staying power at all.
Meanwhile, in the decades before this one we were inundated with brilliant, diverse and fun talent from every part of the globe – Prince, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Duran Duran, George Michael, the Go-Go’s, Blondie, Billy Joel, and Eric Clapton; Devo, REM, U2 and Nirvana; Queen, Van Halen, Journey and Poison, Def Leppard, Aerosmith, Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne, Run DMC and Public Enemy. Need I go on?
Whether you liked their music or not, you have to admit that these musicians were all talented and distinctive. They had highly developed musical and lyrical skills and their own sense of style and humor. Remember the Michael Jackson glove and Madonna’s punky headbands? Do you remember learning “We Are the World” in sign language at school and getting yelled at by your teacher for imitating the Cyndi Lauper line?
These artists were talented and memorable. They appealed to an enormous audience that included people of all different ages and backgrounds. Now, you can line up the Top-40 singers and they are like interchangeable bobble heads. The average person on the street can’t name more than two or three songs that have come out recently.
Where is the Cyndi Lauper of our generation? If she doesn’t appear soon, I’m going to dye my hair pink and start singing. As painful as that would be for everyone, it can’t be that much more painful than the crap we have to listen to all the time. “Kids these days, their music is nothing but racket.” Copyright © 2009 Alison James