“I never listen to today’s pop music, because there’s no challenge, I easily see the patterns … I draw all my inspiration from classical music, where I often find genius, ” – Sting.
Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Berlioz and others might have been on the verge of going out of their graves when he said that.
Usually, I’m drama free. But there’s one thing on my mind when I sit down, thoughtful: why all the fuss in music industry today?! Blame it on Miley Cyrus…?
Don’t worry this post is not a rant about the girl. I try to understand why and how we got there.
Music is powerful! It’s everywhere! It captivates us, our mum put us some music while we were still in their bellies (for the lucky ones like me), we delve into the drawers of our parents (there’s always an old vinyl records to blow the dust off).
In the office, we are always “wired “. Anything goes: Jazz, Soul, Neo Soul, R&B, Hip- Hop – American music only, please, thank you!- I realize that in terms of melodies, I am a pure American product. The only time I regret all the noise, is when someone cracks a joke and I see the smiles on every faces. I look really stupid, removing the headphones and saying “Huh?” Hoping that a kind soul will play it back for me … it rarely happens. “Too late! The story is too long, you should be less connected next time. “
That’s all I got!
Let’s push this rewind button! (Since colleagues don’t want to!)
Here they are, all the Jazz masters looking at us, those were the good times!! Armstrong, Gillespie, Simone, Holiday, Charlie Parker, Ellington, Mingus, Davis… (You can complete the list)
However, the « Cyrusgate » reminds me of an icon: Josephine Baker.
Many were not born at the time. Make no mistakes, it was shocking to dance topless, almost naked and with bananas around the hips. How the white people saw it? And the black community? I think they also lost their bottom jaw like we did watching the VMAs. Come on folks! This is the VMAs! We used to it, we saw others perform the same way, remember? Madonna, Justin Timberlake & Janet Jackson, Britney…
Why Oh why, we are starting violent revolutions and it hurts our feelings when the music takes wrong directions like this?
The spirit is gone: “A change is gonna come,” sang Sam Cooke. I don’t see the change coming! Music used to make us feel good, really good, everything made sense then! It made sense when Marvin sang “Sexual Healing” or how to express a strong desire in a classy manner. Women are complaining about how we men are talking to them: seduction game. They are right, but it’s not our fault! The words of music we listen today are hollowed, it don’t help us!
Musicians are sh * t: Crazy scenario: they call an excellent guitarist out in the studio, and after that they say “thank you for everything, this is your money goodbye!” There are so many musicians who deserve more credit! After all they MAKE the music we listening to. But who will search in the booklet for the talented guitarist who played with Janet Jackson, Prince, and Jill Scott? Musicians are at the system’s mercy.
Show ’em money: Here we enter the rapper’s realm, it’s pretty basic: one must take a photo of himself counting the money! All the goods under the sun that money can buy, audience should know: we own it!
Show ’em what money can buy: Stars might think we are so into their pockets. Showcasing themselves do some shopping, frankly… who cares? Well, 85392 people!
Show them who is sleeping with who. Again, no comments here. The world is excited, waiting for the next sex tape to pop out. Nobody royally cares! Even Kanye West!
Give them pin-up, yeah we want prenup! Mirror, mirror, on the wall … what’s the best way to show my body? Will it help me sell more albums? I don’t know where that logic comes from, surely from this legendary attraction women have for mirrors. And their legendary narcissism too. Selfie syndrome. For example, this a singer that I like: Tinashe. Great voice, pure talent, but too much “playmate” photos of her on social media, this really saddened me.
I said to myself “Ok, maybe it’s an isolated case, relax… there’s still hope” I raised my hands to heaven when another of my favorite singers, Jhene Aiko, started doing the same thing!
Let’s not be hypocrite, the man inside me like that! But hey, we talking about music!
Girls gone bad & wild! I never saw Whitney Houston or Alicia Keys or Aaliyah in sexy lingerie (well it was for the sake of a movie). Girls, we guys have all the porn in the world that reminds us all the naked women we will never have. Don’t you think it’s enough?
Give them a real rant on twitter … or elsewhere! Rihanna “Queen of disorder” loves her fans – she shows up late to almost all of her concerts- but when she decides to start dissing another artist, everybody is ready to give attention; and we will talk about that for weeks.
Laziness is key: You remember Fred Astaire? He makes you move your head, clap your hands (don’t get me wrong but my mum is a big fan of Astaire) a true god of dance. I’ll add others like James Brown and Michael Jackson.
All had one thing in common: they were hard workers. Perfectionists … Youngers inspired by elders. Michael made holes/marks on the floor of his dance room because he kept repeating the same movement again, and again. Nowadays what could possibly inspire us? Must be the signs of decline.
Shock them, they will buy: Deliver scandals at all costs! We want the buzz, the number of likes, and number of views, who has the greatest power to fill stadiums. Maybe because we don’t have much content, we lack original ideas, following the flow of ambient shallow and emptiness is more appropriate.
Oh, I forgot…
Finally, the Medias & marketing have ruined the music industry, and at the same time, they keep it alive. It is an endless circle. All the communication tools available, we invite the world in our bathrooms, no problem! It’s cool! Meanwhile, we at war: R&B singers VS rappers who are now singing more than they actually rap, and they sing “we do what we want, we make more money than you anyway so shut up!”
Some artists try to resurrect the music, and they are really trying hard, the problem is: we are so lost in all this mud I mentioned before, that their albums will go unnoticed both in the opinion’s mind and in the charts. Only a few purists go buy.
I recently listened to the album “Mood Swings “from a very natural and awe inspiring artist Maxine Ashley. Maxine shares with us her world, her enthusiasm for Nina Simone’s music and we can feel that influence in her voice.
What I said and will keep saying: nothing is created from nothing, we are inspired by our heroes and add our share on top of it. It’s just about choosing the right heroes. We need more bold moves like this.
I love the character that some artists play, protecting/exposing themselves from Medias, we love actors. But once the success and money are gone what’s left?
All the greatest are gone! Don’t you feel there was a time in music where once a real star rose to success, God told him/her: “Enough! You! Come here! You making too much good noise.”
A band of music orphans, that’s all we are.
When the album will be dead, we’ll be sadder, more nostalgic, and way more old-fashioned than our parents!
Oh and when they told us that they didn’t understand our music, we said “Oh, whatever, I’ll never be like them…” Yeah, yeah, yeah…