The Good, The Bad, and the Dying

I’m not sure why but I get so personally offended when people try to recommend bad music to me. I actually don’t even like it when they ask my opinion on it either. One of two scenarios will unfold. I will either offend them by telling them details about why I dislike it, or they will get irritated that I dismiss their question. I think the easiest way to handle this issue is to explain why bad music irritates me so much. That way if anyone is really interested in my opinion after that, they will at least have a solid grasp on my point of view.

Music is the most passionate art form in existence. It’s raw elegant structure and enchanting  melody are the easiest way to connect to our core. Music moves us, music inspires us, music is the root of so much magic and beauty in the world. It’s something that everyone holds so dear and yet we are slowly destroying it.

I’m not talking about downloading music. Taking music off the internet, or “stealing”, as it is so incorrectly tabbed, is redefining the market for musicians but it isn’t the root of the problem. The real reason we have lost our ability to make good music is because no one cares enough to do anything about it. It has become such a struggle for money and the executives running the major labels have lost the ability to find talent. Instead of finding artists they can nurture and count on constantly releasing memorable material, they hunt and scour for anyone they can make a quick buck off and dump them after their single drops below the top ten. Think about it. Who were the best-selling tours over the last few years? Rolling Stones, Elton John, U2, Madonna, Green Day, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and lots of other acts who have been around for decades. The industry is living off the remains of stars past, and just like the major sports its going through eras, it appears we have entered a new era of music – mediocrity.

That’s right, we’ve settled people. Instead of demanding talent and staying loyal to the artists who can continue to make solid music, we fuel our ADHD with whatever “hit” artist rolls around that given week. Ok, I know it’s not entirely your fault. There are so many avenues now for average music that it’s becoming more difficult to find the real artists who are worthy of praise and devotion. One place we shouldn’t be finding people to idolize is, ironically, American Idol. It’s as if Simon Cowell is a pimp and Music was his bottom bitch. He’s set up a way for the general public to vote for the artist they want to see succeed by having a competition. Wow, I think that ruins the system. Instead of the best having to work and struggle, and find inspiration for their music and journey their way to the top, they just have to have a phenomenal voice and have enough charisma to convince the drones in front of a TV set that they should give them their vote. Mr. Cowell has destroyed the pop industry for the sake of his own pocket and I hope he’s happy selling out his soul and leading music down a dark path.

MySpace did a number on everything too. Once everyone was able to put their music online it allowed everyone to market themselves. That’s good right, we get to let everyone try to live their dream. Wrong. All it does is overload the world with so much bad music that it becomes harder to filter out the garbage. There are so many artists floating their “jams” into the internet that no human could possibly have the time to find a good collection of noteworthy material. There is so much going into the funnel and no well defined source for the good ones to pour out of.

The newest “indie” scene that developed out the ashes of “emo” music is no help either. The winy, boring, minimalistic rock that has tarnished the image of the 2000’s is pathetic. You know the kind of music I’m talking about. If you don’t just watch an Iphone commercial and you’ll see the newest “underachiever” getting their fifteen minutes of fame. Or go buy the soundtrack to the movie Juno and you’ll get the opportunity to hear the melodies that our children will grow up to hate. Your not original, your nothing special, and you should despise what you’ve done to ruin music.

Ok, I’m a little bit bitter but I’m a struggling musician in, the so-called “Live Music Capital of the World”, Austin Texas. Just like everywhere else though there is no momentum to greatness and everyone has become comfortable settling with whatever is handed to them. That’s not good enough for me. I didn’t leave everyone I know and love behind me to wait in line with a group of underachievers who wouldn’t know passion is it was making love in front of them.  I came here to run and to conquer. It’s not something I can do alone, but I’m going to use every last breath in my body to put the pieces in motion. Music can’t die out. There is no way that the world will allow things to get any worse. If they do we might just stop listening altogether. MTV won’t help, the labels are helpless, modern artists got their chance and squandered it, radio is dead, the market is over saturated, the mass media is whoring it out, and worst of all people are succumbing to it.

Help me fix the roots. Help me by finding real artists and devoting yourselves to them and only the ones that have real talent. Not just showmanship but real charisma and songwriting abilities. Go to the shows of the artists you like even if you don’t buy the CD at 19.99$ at FYE [who will be out of business soon] instead buy a 10$ t-shirt off their website and take the music for free – that’s the future of music anyways.

If you’re a fellow musician and you’re on my side I can’t give you enough of my gratitude. This isn’t something one band can do though. It’s going to take a community and an alliance. Together, through cooperation and devotion, we can make music better for the world. Work harder on the song structure, don’t be afraid of variety, don’t get over “artsy” and think that because you’re wearing a costume or cut your hair in that weird emo way that you’re creative. You have to write good songs, songs with groove, momentum, replay value, energy, creativity, powerful hooks, encouraging lyrics and catchy rhythms. Don’t play the same three chords over and over, don’t try to be the next Blink-182, don’t wallow in your own self-loathing and write depressing songs about a girl who left you over and over. Let’s go back to what makes music great and show the world what they’re missing out on.


4 Responses to “The Good, The Bad, and the Dying”

  1. I usually dont post in Blogs but your blog forced me to, amazing work.. Kind regards from france

  2. Could not agree with you more Josh. So much junk out there.

  3. Great post. I agree with your sentiments although I’m a bit more optimistic than you are – maybe because I’m not trying to earn a living through music. I have always been able to find good music, but I realize not everyone is as willing to dig for it as I am.

    • No I agree. There is lots of good music out there and there always will be. But unless we stop giving the credit to the undeserving and idolizing talentless celebrities, we are going to lose touch with the essence of greatness itself. Music will never die, but the market most certainly can. There is a huge cause for concern in the mass media – it’s never been where the greatest music originates, but it has usually had a strong core of young musicians. Our generation hasn’t brought anything to the table and the clock is ticking.

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