The music industry has been, is, and will continue to be a bureaucratic mess of corporate white guys in suits talking about a bottom line. The industry is a cutthroat cesspool that does nothing to present artistic ability in artists and instead hurts everyone involved.
There are legitimate artists that can't get signed to a label (not that they would want to) because they refuse to conform their sound to a shareholder's meeting. Pop rap artists have had to dumb down sounds and have been corrupted in their thinking because of this. The Smashing Pumpkins was torn down from the inside because suits felt different band members were worth different amounts.
It sucks. All of music is terrible.
Music has a powerful effect on us, they present different emotions and stories and can radically affect the mood we are in. This can be a wonderful thing—using music as something to pump you up, or get out of a depressive spell. But it can also dive us deeper into negative states of mind, or aggrandize certain things in our mind when we didn't think so before.
I've personally felt this before—listening to Nirvana or Black Flag whilst feeling angsty certainly develops those feelings more. Turning on some heavy metal when happy can take away from that joy even if you like the music, and can be dangerous when that's all you listen to. I like to attempt to match my mood with what I'm listening to, such as if I feel a little teenager-y I'll put on some hip hop, or if I want to feel like a dad driving a Ford F-150 I'll turn on some classic rock.
Noticing these effects is helpful if you are a constant music consumer, and as cathartic as some of that harder, more edgier stuff can be, it can be equally as harmful to your brain.
Even though I most likely classify as a music snob, there are glaring issues with this point of view that a lot of people seem to not take heed of. Those that call themselves "hip-hop heads" and judge newer artists for sounding too mumbly or not respecting the older generations of artists makes for an attitude that can damage the music industry in a big way.
Pop music, even if it's boring and borrows from contemporaries, still is popular and affects the culture around you. Those that turn their nose at anyone that enjoys a particular genre of music or particular artist (except the Chainsmokers) don't accomplish much. Experimentation and taking things to the extreme is good and innovative, but sometimes a good beat and meaningless lyrics fits the mood of what you want in that moment. You shouldn't feel shame for liking a Lil Pump mixtape (as I don't, it's quite amazing) in the same way you shouldn't feel shame for liking a death metal album if that's what you enjoy.
Music is ultimately about what the individual enjoys, and is incredibly subjective. Some music, yes, is objectively more boundary pushing and complex than others, but that doesn't mean you have to enjoy it more. Some music snobs need to take it down a notch and not look at the world with so much hate (though that's kind of ironic for the title of this blog).
What exactly is entertaining about rappers acting like toddlers and throwing tantrums about nothing at all? Now, this is mostly directed at Cardi B, because goodness is she something special. Does she know what mature human interaction entails at all? I don't really think so.
It adds nothing and detracts a lot for me if you act like a dumby in the public spotlight consistently. The aesthetic can be appealing in certain artists to act like a fun-loving teenager (think Ski Mask The Slump God), but when you are just hurling insults and getting into fights over nothing, people aren't going to view you in a positive light. Please just act responsibly and understand that you are an influence whether you like it or not. There are people that look up to you and a culture around you that you affect, and it doesn't do anyone any good to drag it down to your childish level.
I published an new entertainment article about why expierimental and extreme music is important to the evolution of music! Go check it out! Sorry for the wonky title.
Nothing turns me off of an album quite like the overabundance of drama filled lyrics and sleepy beats. If the music is boring, I'm not going to pay it much attention. Having lyrics that make something out of nothing, or trying to create a narrative that is so cliche and so overblown (cough Memories Do Not Open by The Chainsmokers), only accomplishes a couple teens on the internet to say "bruh that's so deep." Dime a dozen lyricism about breakups and young love, while sometimes a nice break from hedonistic rap music, really is nothing special.
Sitting down and writing interesting verses and catchy hooks makes listeners want to repeat your tracks and albums. Now I get it, not everyone can do that or has an interesting enough story to tell in each of their songs. But even Loser by Beck, which features literally the most nonsensical lyrics one can make, was a hit. Taking care to craft decent lyrics can go a long way.
And making your songs moody does not make it more meaningful. Putting a random RnB beat and trying to sing about your breakup you had with a girl in high school to your Soundcloud mixtape does not make listeners all the sudden go "wow he has such range, really can make you feel" or something to that effect. It's just boring.
A lot of people really discount newer artists for wearing their influences on their sleeve, especially in their label debut albums. This doesn't make too much sense to me. Yes, it's not too entertaining to hear the 400th metal band make near covers of Metallica, but people have to start somewhere. Without influences, there isn't any real way for innovation in music to happen.
No artistry happens in a vacuum. Everybody is swayed by someone else's attempts at art, and using those others as a vessel to communicate (or entertain in the case of music) your ideas is not bad, and is necessary to make sure you have some grip on musicality. I for one, would love to see underground and more extreme versions of hip hop flourish more than it is today, because that genre has a lot of potential to make an impact similar to the punk scene in the 80's in the digital age. Without young people taking ideas from contemporaries, that sub-genre may as well die off as quickly as it started. In essence, if you want people to advance music and genres, you gotta put up with some of the ridiculous debut albums that sounds like something you heard a year ago. Give them a chance on their sophomore record to really push that envelope and get to somewhere worthwhile.
Classical music holds an interesting role in modern life. To most people, it may seems a little too posh to be into classical music, or just boring, putting it simply. Classical music doesn't have the same flair or personality that more traditionally popular music does—and for good reason. The combination of all the different instruments, the fact that to see it live is much different from a regular concert, and the old nature of the genre definitely puts a lot of people off—myself included.
But that does not mean it is unimportant. People seem to forget how much classical music they actually hear on a weekly or daily basis. All of the music (for the most part) in movies all come from orchestras and composers. The famous movie soundtracks, such as the Imperial March in Star Wars, or the Indiana Jones theme, are classical pieces. Now, nobody is really going to listen to that type of music as much as more contemporary styles (except for the true, hardcore fans, but those are Fraiser-esque upper class people typically that don't do relatable things), yet everyone can appreciate a swelling score in a tense moment of a movie, or a quiet violin during a sweet moment. It can convey non-verbal emotion like not many other genres, and really proves there's more to music than electronics and guitars.
How many songs are we going to get, scratch that, how many albums, or even discographies, are we going to get about the same exact things that trap music discusses? Yes, we get it. You have all the girls. You have my girl. You have more money than me. You have more drugs than me. You are a better person than me. Let's get over it, shall we?
The charts have been permeated with these same subjects for a few years now, and frankly, I am just bored. Trap music has hit it's peak, and the music world seems to just be looking for the next big thing. Hip hop is not a bad genre, but the over saturation of it is making listeners tired. How about we try something new? We do have some artists doing that, talking about real life issues and socio-economic problems. Trap and rap music in general needs to evolve to keep listeners interested, and good flows and beats can only go so far. Remember Migos's Culture 2? Yeah, me neither.
Kanye West is an interesting character. On one hand, he represents great musical talent and is a gifted writer/producer. On the other hand, he represents blatant narcissism and the very worst of the shock-inducing behavior to draw attention. He is one of the most prominent figures in popular music, and he seems like he hates that position. The diluted rants he goes on, the meeting with controversial figures such as Donald Trump, and the new "I Love It" music video all show an interesting character study.
Now, obviously, "I Love It" is not an objectively good song. The hook is repetitive, the lyrics are predictable and the song overall can be a little boring. But there's something about that makes it so infatuating, and the country obviously agrees, with it's top 10 position on the charts. Maybe it's the music video, with the bizarre Roblox constuming, or the unlikely collaboration between Lil Pump and West. Nothing makes sense, and I love it. Kanye has carved himself into an interesting niche, and with all the mini albums he's had his hands in recently, his next full length album is sure to be quite the interesting release. Look out for Yahndi on Black Friday this year, you won't want to miss it.