Local Reviews / Music / National Reviews / Opinions / Swirl of thoughts

How Deep Is Your Music?

Somewhere along the way, people have forgotten (or perhaps have never been taught) music is meant to be more than simply background noise or an encouragement to get drunk. Somewhere in the past, a decision was made (by who knows) to steer the direction of music to be insignificant. Think about that: music means nothing to society today. The Rage Against the Machine type bands are no more. They were likely the last ones to hit the mainstream. “Popular music” has been reduced to either sappy, cookie-cutter noise with lyrics as punk-sissy as can be imagined, or degrading, discouraging, street rap and hip hop that all begins to sound the same after two measures. It’s a real travesty to come to the realization: “that is the best new artists have come up with.” But upon closer examination, the music industry is clearly being manipulated like everything else. Just as our food is being modified to maximize profits, so is our mainstream music. Music executives will whore out anybody who looks, sounds, or remotely mimics any of their stars. Country singers are notorious for copying each other down to the color of the rhinestones on their blouses. Rock bands mostly sound the same. It’s hard to tell the difference between the bands when you turn on commercial rock radio stations these days. Top 40 gets its hands on a popular song and plays it to death -until no one can stand hearing the song one more time. Last summer, it seems every time I turned on the radio, “Get Lucky” was playing or “Blurred Lines.” Now, it’s “Happy” and it makes people anything but happy after a while.

What does music mean to people anymore? Does it have a significant place in our lives? Perhaps when one thinks about where music is placed on our lists of important items we cannot be without, you might be surprised to learn just how music means to individuals. It’s often taken for granted, honestly. Essentially, those of us that absolutely need music in our cars, at our jobs, or at home chilling out, understand it’s more than just a beat. More than just rhythm, or noise in the background, or lyrics that make you think. It’s a feeling you get when you hear certain songs. The feeling music triggers makes all the difference. And, duh, that’s why there are so many genres of music. So when you listen to the music coming out now, when you stop and THINK for a moment about what “feeling” is being triggered by new (or different) music, you then can get a sense for what is really going on in the world. Why would hip hop moguls insist on promoting music that conveys so much negativity and decadence? Why would mainstream singers be singing about moving on, or falling in love, or being betrayed? What are these people behind the curtain trying to make us think about? And when you really, really think about it, the messages being presented, the feelings being encouraged have absolutely nothing to do with what is wrong with our world, our society, or country. The music of the mainstream does not reflect our world. It paints a fantasy. And the bands that produce the music that tries to paint a picture of reality often get shut out or demonized. In short, our music of today is just another ploy to distract Americans (and this goes on in other countries too) from all the crumby things about us.

And ultimately in the end, maybe that is all music is supposed to be. Who knows what people were singing about 1000 years ago? We do know they were playing music of some sort. People were dancing and partying like they do today. Perhaps the mainstream music of civilizations long gone were no different fundamentally. But the mentality of “go with the flow” isn’t what all music is about. Some people look for those bands that have a lot of controversial things to say. Those bands and their music is still being produced. But the number of people lining up to hear them is dwindling. The number of people who care to know any truth is also falling dramatically. There is a fear the age of a drone society is here. The evidence is everywhere.

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