I watched Top of the Pops tonight, while at work and instantly regretted it, it was full of utter and absolute dross (for want of a word that won’t get yikesed <winkeye>). They played little but a bunch of mass marketed cack that displayed little or no musical talent, evidenced by the fact that the second freshest sounding song in the chart was Britney Spears (the best was Outkast, fresh enough to give me hope!). So I decided I should give you a little list of what irks me about modern music, I realise this is an entirely personal outburst of ire, but hey it’s my opinion, and I think it should be yours.
Singers Who Don’t Sing…
Whatever happened to singing? Can you tell me that? Eh? Time was when people wanted to sing from the soul, and express their innermost feelings through song. It seems those times are gone, tonight’s pick included Blink 182 singing in such a poor quality false mockney (too bad even to make it as far as false cockney!) about the ‘Voyce insoide moi ed’. Great singers have their own voice lads, not a hand me down from Jamie Oliver. There was also a bunch of R&B (I’ll get onto that later) stylists whose name, thankfully, escaped my notice singing (erm) about how this must be love. I have honestly never heard a worse voice, it was thin weedy falsetto, a tiny voice, and so devoid of emotion of expression that one almost felt that someone told him love was quite possibly the most boring emotion you could possibly feel.
Aretha Franklin can sing, as could Otis Redding, BB King, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Sarah Vaughan, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney………not all great technicians, but all expressive and soulful!
The list goes on, but so little of vocal merit makes it as far as today’s charts that I am prompted to despair.
The Substitution of Dancing for Musicianship…
What qualifies you for pop stardom these days? A great talent within music, or an ability to suggestively wiggle your slightly overlarge behind? As tonight’s evidence would show more probably the latter. Now, I’m not complaining about the floorshow, Britney et al are highly stimulating artists in a strictly visual sense, but, if memory serves, music isn’t strictly a visual medium is it?
Of course you do occasionally see someone with an instrument. They will be playing bland, inoffensive lines, not appearing to enjoy themselves, purely concerned with how their guitar looks with their shirt.
Pop music has never precluded musical ability, look at the Beatles, or listen to Eddie Van Halen’s solo On Jacko’s ‘Beat It’. Talent will out, but only if it exists, and the technical ability of many session musicians does not mean they are talented, merely skilful, as what is the worth of a million notes a second if none of them mean anything.
Where is the new fresh stuff? What happens when someone original comes along, is that the record companies immediately sign and release anything even remotely in the same ball park. Because of Norah Jones (talented lass that) we get Katie Melula (sleep induction via the medium of a 12cm silver disc). This has been going on since the sixties (Mersey beat anyone) but what makes it different now is the fact that it will be churned out over and over for years until we have vaguely forgotten, upon which note we’ll get it re released.
Another example of regurgitation is the one idea artist, who has one good idea, but reworks it over and over again until one record is indistinguishable from the next. A prime example would have to be Craig David, who’s been having the same idea now for a couple of albums.
Music is NOT a Manufacturing Industry……
Need I say more? Probably, so I shall.
Pop Idol, Fame Academy and the like churn out a stream of low talent, low individuality blando’s, who when they occasionally can sing have it drummed out of them in the studio, so they do not perchance get anyone to excited. Lemar can sing, so can Will Young, but I am yet to hear any evidence of it on their records. The last UK pop idol was won by such a low quality 4th place in the pub karaoke competition nobody that her album didn’t even make it into my local Supermarket.
Simon Cowell doesn’t seem to realise that there is a finite supply of actual talent, and that if you scrape the barrel one year, you won’t get much the next, but still he carries on.
R&B used to be rhythm and blues……
And Soul used to have Soul, but something happened, and now the genres mean something else. R Kelly is not the R in R&B rhythm is, and there’s scarce little blues in it these days, little feeling, little meaning.
Soul music used to mean something too, it gave voice to the wants and needs of a generation, the original stuff still has vitality and drive, but today it means little more than a chance for some self important diva to show how wobbly she can make a melody and how high she can sing a note, leaving you with little to move you.
So there we have it, my little rant is done for now, I’m sure many people will disagree with me, but as I said at the start, this is my opinion, and I think you all need force feeding. I’d be glad to get your views though, I may even learn something.