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Where Has All the Music Gone?

These days, it only seems to take some basic vocal training and a whole lot of sex appeal to be a successful "music artist". Most of the current chart-topping artists can't write their own songs and only a handful of them know how to play an actual instrument. Furthermore, I could probably count on one hand the number of these "artists" that can actually sing without the aid of a backing track or studio effects that enhance their voice. A prime example of this is the Ashlee Simpson Saturday Night Live fiasco, but she's not the only one guilty of a little prerecorded vocal assistance during a live performance. The only difference is that she got caught.

This incident made me wonder when the credibility of the music industry began to crumble. While watching the performances on awards shows like the Grammys and the Billboard Music Awards, I also found myself wondering when actual musical ability started taking the backseat to sexy outfits and provocative dance moves. It used to require some real musical talent to get onto the charts, not just sex appeal.

This last thought causes my mind to drift to the popular late 50's, early 60's recording artists Roy Orbison and Buddy Holly. Younger readers may not be familiar with these two names, but I'm sure most could recognize Orbison's hit," Pretty Woman" or Holly's "Peggy Sue". For those who still have no idea who I'm talking about, you may want to turn off your Usher cd and go ask your parents. The truth of the matter is, Orbison and Holly were not what you would call attractive; particularly Holly who wore glasses. Despite this setback, these two musicians managed to find great success in music. They relied on their musical abilities (guitar playing and unique vocal styles) to achieve their fame. How is it that instrumental skills are becoming such a rarity in today's mainstream music? It's as if the music industry has become a factory, complete with assembly line, that churns out one fresh young popstar after the next.

Another thing sorely lacking in today's music is true vocals. It's becoming harder to find a singer with pure and powerful vocals that hasn't had their voice tainted with new studio technology. Not since Aretha Franklin, again not known for her sex appeal, has the music industry had an artist with a voice that knocked you out when you heard it. The power in her voice was raw and real and without any computerized enhancement at all. Imagine that; an artist who can actually sing and perform live all on her own. When image is placed over talent, it seems that the result is musically insufficient.

Song lyrics also seem to be coming second to the artist's image. It's no wonder Bob Dylan lyrics and Beatles' lyrics have attained a status of revered poetry. Lyrics today just don't come close to the quality of those written by Dylan and The Beatles. Words to songs have lost their meaning; they've become banal, unoriginal, and it doesn't seem to me like many of the artists actually care about the words coming out of their mouths. Or rather, the words coming out of their expensive studio technology.

To those people like myself who have become concerned with the state of the music industry, groups like Green Day, Cold Play, and The Darkness are a breath of fresh air. It's nice to see some artists trying to put the music back in the music industry. So where exactly has all the music gone? While that seems to be rather difficult to answer in an exact manner, the more important question is how do we bring it back? Well, if I knew the answer to that question, I'd form my own group and be the manager.


The following comments are for "Where Has All the Music Gone?"
by heyjude23

State of Music
I agree with your points. Mainstream music is becoming a quagmire of computer-enhanced pop stars who have no sense of musical poetry. But Coldplay and The Darkness as examples of 'putting the music back into the music industry'? You could do better.

( Posted by: icymatt [Member] On: March 21, 2005 )

to narrow sample
though I agree with you I think your sample is a bit small the problem extends beyond the pop charts, but out at the extremes it is better.

( Posted by: bhagwandave [Member] On: March 21, 2005 )

heyjude23: "Music"
heyjude: Did/do you ever listen to Flora Purim (Return to Forever) or Annie Lennox (sp?)..

George Michael was exposed using tape/lip-sync at Tampa concert, back in mid 80's..It got stuck!

Good read..

Dylan's on tour...


( Posted by: Bobby7L [Member] On: March 24, 2005 )

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