The Path of Thorns

If the King loves music, it is well with the land.

by on Aug.03, 2009, under human emotions, music

I don’t know what will end the human race first; our own greed for power, or our ability to let music be as pathetic as it is today.

Fifty years ago, music didn’t even have the ability to screw up.  Music that was considered garbage back then is held close to the hearts of most of the world; Buddy Holly and Elvis being the best examples of that.  After that, the Beatles, the Byrds, the Stones and the rest of the British invasion, that continued through Black Sabbath and the ultimate band the critics LOVED to hate, Led Zeppelin.  I can’t begin to tell you how many sources I’ve red, those of credible journalists and writers and critics, that called that music garbage, crap and a waste of studio space.  Can you believe that?  Can you believe those same artists that were considered the dregs of American music are heralded as the brilliant young musicians of a generation?

Music today, for the most part, makes you want to scream “IS THIS ALL YOU’VE GOT?!?!?!”  It’s unbelievable.  We have enough people who are celebrities that shouldn’t be – Kim Kardashian, John & Kate, Paris Hilton, to name a few – but there are as many, or more, people in music that don’t deserve what’s usually only given to the very best, the ones who fight tooth and nail to sign the dotted line.  Who?  Lady Gaga.  Jamie Foxx.  Pitbull.  Diddy.  Kanye West.  Lil Wayne.  People who are making millions because their fans don’t know any better.  People who make $80 million a year for talking into  a microphone with music a friend of mine can make in an hour on his Mac.  You’re being fooled, people.

Before there was Amy Winehouse, there was Janis Joplin.  Before there was The Jonas Brothers, there was the Osmonds or the Monkees.  Before there were Fergie and Diddy there was, oh, I don’t know, no one because no one flaunted themselves like buffoons to their level of self-important magnitude.  Kanye West calls himself the ‘King of Pop’ like an idiot – and yes, to give him credit, so did Michael Jackson – but at least Jackson backed it up with a decade’s worth of some of the best pop music in history.  Kanye walks around with sunglasses the size of his forearm, a faux-hawk and I ask myself if he even DOES music.  I can’t name a single song of his, ten years into his career.

My blog’s dealt with human emotion, understanding and trials thus far.  To reflect that, I will not entirely blame the people I’ve named, and those similar to them, for their careers.  They make piss-poor music and troll around like fools because we let them.  If we didn’t want to see these people, they wouldn’t be so well seen.  If we didn’t want them making music, the record companies would have no reason to invest in them.

The purpose of music, the sole purpose, is to better the soul, heal the soul, make us think, make us feel, make use use the words and sounds of music to help us illustrate and explain our hearts and minds.  It’s the universal language, and the only language that doesn’t need its own slang to explain itself.  And that’s where we get fooled.

Life is very serious, and very dark these days.  When you come home, you don’t see sitcoms or comedians working their tails off to make you laugh and breathe  a little bit.  You see overly dramatic mumbo jumbo like ‘Lost’, ‘Heroes’ and the trillion cop shows where you can basically see what the deepest, darkest parts of human action is.  If I want to hear about a woman’s rape, or someone overdosing on heroin, I can turn to most of the major networks.  If I want to laugh, or watch something that’s easier to swallow at the end of a long day, I have to channel surf.

Perhaps its that darkness we let ourselves take in that, combined with how hard so many of us work and how many of us are struggling, we allow garbage music to be played like it is.  So many of us are counting the hours until we get our direct deposits that we don’t listen around us anymore, and we accept how poor music is today – we have enough to worry about, why would we care if Lil Wayne’s sneering with his big platinum teeth like he’s a human trophy?  We’re all living paycheck to paycheck, counting our pennies and not our CD’s.

I’m not saying that all of today’s music is crap, either – Imogen Heap, ADELE, Bon Iver, John Mayer, Ray LaMontagne are all brilliant and well beloved to those that know them.  They’re few of many, however, who don’t rely on charts and big numbers anymore – because they can’t.  Because art is all too hard to find.

However, it’s mind-blowing that those who were successful 20, 3o, 40 years ago are still topping the charts and the venues today – Elton John, Aerosmith, Metallica, The ROLLING STONES are still light years more successful and talented than most anything that’s come since.  It’s like they’re waiting to hand the torch down, with no one there to reach it.  No one’s blowing our minds anymore.  Jim Morrison isn’t here to test our minds, Jerry Garcia isn’t here to teach us all how to relax, and Jimi Hendrix isn’t here to show us just how a show’s supposed to be done.  And if they were, they’d be here to pass the torch too.

Music is doing one thing well that it always has, though; it’s defining our generation where we like it or not.  In a world where we’re all fighting, struggling, letting ourselves be overly sensitive while tapping such small amounts of our own dignity and humanity, music is defining that.  It’s defining it by being as crappy as too many of us feel.

Once we let ourselves heal, and if we ever stand up and let ourselves take in a little more life, music should hopefully be back to the brilliance it can be.  Because right now, music isn’t the work of art it used to be considered to the masses; it’s merely flash-in-the-pan entertainment.  And that’s the darkest aspect of all.

24 comments for this entry:
  1. The_Lex

    I remember once, at a party, a group of us were trying to remember a group of musicians that had reached iconic status since the the grunge musicians of the early to mid-90s.

    You know, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Red Hot Chili Peppers, even Metallica and maybe a few others.

    We couldn’t come up with any. For rock music, we probably haven’t had anything iconic since then. Maybe hip hop, rap, r’n’b and such have had some iconic “artists.” As for rock, yeah, nothing iconic since the grunge days. . .just gimmicky and trying to fit a genre.

  2. Jessie Varnum

    Very insightful post. I am going to link to it in my new blog.

  3. Kenny Wilcox

    We absolutely fancy Lady Gaga, so adorable. I have as yet to see the girl in concert. Hopefully before long.

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  5. Willia Shanna

    lady gaga is one of the best singers in the world but she does bad things too …

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  9. Calvin Fornerod

    lol, Kanye is so wild! I love him.

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  13. Angelina Ramirez

    i will really miss the King of Pop. michael jackson is truly the best pop artist in this lifetime.~”*

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  18. Marlyn Milosch

    Lady Gaga is the BEST!… this blog rocks too 😉

  19. Home Alarm Guy

    I am a big fan of Lady Gaga. I really respect what Lady Gaga has done in her hot career. She is bold enough to wear wild hair styles with clothes to match, and is a positive influence on today’s youth. She is encouraging teens to be different and to not follow the crowd like others! More people should look at her for who she is as personrather than “Lady Gaga” the artiste.

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