In the back of my mind, I kinda sorta suspected all along that the state of American pop/rock music had sharply plateaued and, dare I say, has even taken a pretty violent tumble in some race to the bottom of awfulness and triteness. Reading this confirmed my suspicions and made me feel just a little worse about where music is headed.
I’ll stop here to tell you that I’m a HUGE music fan. While I don’t play any instruments (piano lessons were a nightmare. For everyone involved), I love music – all kinds. 70’s punk rock is probably my favorite, but I will listen to Pink Floyd for days on end and I love a good Metallica speed metal ditty, too! I truly worry about the music my kids will listen to, and I bemoan the fact that many of the artists I like – Pat Benatar, Blondie, Cyndi Lauper – will be long retired by the time they get into going to shows. I guess the reason I love these musicians so much is because every time I listen to one of their tracks, the music still feels new to me; I discover something in the tune or the lyrics I never picked up on before, and the hook never fails to grab me like it did the first time I heard the song. When I listen to the radio today I can’t tell the Bieber from the One Direction from that last guy who won American Idol.
Admittedly, bemoaning the state of music today is the very definition of a first world problem, and I don’t even pretend that it stacks up to really serious issues, but I am disappointed in and ashamed of the musical wasteland that lies before us. That we don’t demand better, that we accept over and over again the same in the hopes that it will eventually sound new to tired, complacent ears means we have surrendered our music will, our cultural will. Then again, maybe the fact that music sales are down so pitifully low is us taking back the industry and dragging it down, well below rock bottom so that the musical beast can slowly slouch toward Bethlehem (or Capitol Records) to be re-born. *
*Bet Yeats never saw that comin’!