Sunday, January 17, 2010

A sad state of affairs.

Recently, a friend asked me why I haven't written much about music. I'm always good for a rant, and music usually provides a spark. Lately however, the spark has fizzled. Why? Take a look at the artists who have the "Top Albums in the Region" as listed by the Inquirer today:
Ke$ha, (yes, she spells her name with a dollar sign) Susan Boyle, Alicia Keys, Mary J. Blige, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Alvin & the Chipmonks soundtrack (what year is this?), Black Eyed Peas, Rihanna and Justin Bleber.
It reads like a list of TV contestants and gimmicky singers with more looks than talent.
It seems like the industry is built around TV shows, and if you aren't a winner on American Idol or some other such program, you don't have a shot.
I miss the days when I could go to a record store and listen to new music. Tower Records used to have a listening bar with headphones where new CDs would play. I loved the store on Broad & Chestnut. I'd always come home with something new and interesting. Now, there isn't even a music store in the local mall anymore! Radio plays the same old crap, and I've never been into pop music, and I don't watch those TV shows, so people like me are left in the dust. Now, I have to find something by accident, where I used to be able to hunt them down.
People like William Hung, Susan Boyle and that "pants on the ground" guy are signing recording contracts, while talented bands can't get their music on the radio. I can't explain that. I guess that part of it hasn't changed much, but the idea that you can show up for a TV show and win (pre-determined, if you ask me) suddenly vaults you to stardom. It seems like a lot of reward for no work - which is probably why it's appealing to the masses. The musical lottery.
The most interesting band I've heard in a while is Umphrey's McGee. I've seen them a couple of times at the Electric Factory, and they're coming back in February. Lots of jazz influence and a little like those old prog-rock bands of the 70s. You don't hear them on the radio, and Simon Cowell would probably kick them out of the room, which to me is a badge of honor.
Either way, it beats the Hell out of Ke$ia or Taylor Swift.


susan said...

mY three year old Godson likes Alvin.

And yes, I bought it for him...... he has me wrapped around his little fingers.

Handsome B. Wonderful said...

I liked the listening bars too. I was pissed when those went away. Yeah most music today sucks. I like a few bands now like Linkin Park and Green Day but other than that, not much.

Kcoz said...

I'm from the age where FM radio was in its infancy and that is where we found the good bands...AM had the pop crap...The Jackson 5, The Osmond's, David Cassidy...ugh!

It was FM that introduced us to Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, Black Sabbath, The Yard Birds...and many more.

Now FM is pop...and the music publishing corporations will push who they feel fit, not what is good music...I feel the Internet is the new FM but better, as musicians can be independent from the pressure to produce constant hits and can just play what is in their hearts...the hard part is still getting exposure and attracting your audience...the people who like that particular musicians creativity and art.


Handsome B. Wonderful said...

Good point Kcoz about the internet being the new FM. I go to see new music videos on YouTube and the like because MTV doesn't do music anymore. How ironic given their name means, "MUSIC television!!"

Kcoz said...

MTV is garbage...some corporate CEO decided they could make more money with their phoney reality crap...they are extremely cheep to make and they can jam a thousand commericals in every show. Just lock three bitches on PMS and two egotistical bastards in a house together with a camera and you have a show...THAT'S MTV ENTERTAINMENT!!!

that's why they call it em-ty-V

Hard to jam many commercials in-between each 3 minute music video so to hell with the content...they need profits.


live3054 said...