Sunday, October 3, 2010

But is it music?

I found myself in a panic on Sunday. I was trying to complete an assignment but everything I needed to do it seemed just out my reach.

I was getting pretty frustrated. Eventually I found what I needed, but it needed time to get set up. I figured time, although a valuable commodity for me at times, was the one thing I could spare that night.

So I plugged in my headphones and loaded up ITunes.

I scrolled through my electronic media looking for something to help me pass the time. I was frustrated with how the day had panned out but not so far gone that only heavy metal would satiate my listening pleasure.

My roll bar slowed around the C’s and I hovered a bit in this section. Eventually I saw something that piqued my interests. Leonard Cohen. My brother, Ben, is not overly fond of Cohen. He says he is too morose. I suppose I could understand that to some extent. I however really enjoy Cohen.

In fact, I would say lately I have been in a Cohen state of mind. A bit morose, sure, but more introspective, thoughtful and, well… brooding.

I enjoy that sometimes. It’s not the “Oh jeeze I think I need to go slit my wrist because I am so depressed,” type music. Seriously, it’s not. It's just thoughtful. Anyways, I listened to a couple of songs by Cohen, Famous Blue Raincoat, Hallelujah, and Last Year’s Man, before spinning the wheel and moving on.

I settled on Standing Outside a Phone Booth (shortened version of the title) by Primitive Radio Gods.

These folks didn’t stick around very long. I never listened to any of their other songs but if this one was any indication they were really good. Maybe, like Cohen, they just too much lyrically for the pop culture to handle. I don’t know.

It sure seems to me that if the music has much thought into it, it only attracts a certain type of listeners. Let’s face it, not everyone cares for Katy Perry. I don’t.

What drives me crazy about pop music is the lack of depth in the lyrics. Rarely do you find a song on the radio that challenges you to think about what the artist is trying to say. Music is premade by a group of writers and then given to the singer to perform by the record company. It is all mechanical. Hell, I would bet a robot would just as good! Ok, not really, but you get my point.

Whatever happened to music that was full of emotion? What happened to that one song that could break your heart, lift your spirit, cause you to weep with its beauty? It’s gone. Sorry, but it is true. It’s like there is a deal that must be signed when you get to be famous.

“Here you go son, sign right here on the contract. What’s that? Oh the fine print, well that’s just standard music company argon. It informs you in words to big for you to understand that you are about to give to us all your talents and forego any creativity that you might have. From now on you will dress our way, walk our way, sit our way, and even sing our way.”

“You will no longer write your own music. That is done for you now. You will no longer think for yourself, we have a group of people standing by to let you know what you think. But don’t worry! We promise to you that we will give you lots of money, put your life forever under public scrutiny, and eventually screw you out of everything by having your band managed by one of our own.”

Sounds like a sweet deal. Where do I sign up? Hopefully you catch the sarcasm.