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The Current State of Popular Music

Turn on the radio today and flip through the channels looking for something enjoyable to listen to. The sad thing is, today I did this, and the only interesting thing I heard was a DJ talking about how “the Romans’ enemies would send flaming pigs at the hordes of trumpeting elephants.” It was on the college station, and the DJ was suppressing laughter the whole time. In short, the only thing I heard on the radio that didn’t make my ears bleed was a spaced out guy talking about “trumpeting elephants” and “barbequed living pigs.” It made me laugh, but if that’s what it takes to get on the radio nowadays, I know plenty of people who deserve their own radio show.
In recent years, the quality and musicianship in popular music has declined drastically. It is my opinion that the majority of popular music today lacks talent, meaning, and is hardly a creative outlet for musicians to express themselves. I am not, however, saying that there aren’t still extremely talented musicians out there writing thoughtful and meaningful lyrics and music. Unfortunately, today it is harder than ever for musicians who write meaningful music to achieve success, in this age of pointless lyrics and pop-obsessed masses.
Unless a musician breaks into the mainstream, it is almost impossible for them to make a living off of their work. With music downloading on the rise, record stores, which serve as opportunities for exposure to new bands, have trouble staying open. In order to keep even a slightly steady flow of money coming in, rigorous touring is almost a necessity for musicians to continue doing what they love.
Similar to modern American cinema, the music industry is plagued by people looking for “style over substance”. The flashy special effects that dazzle the audience’s senses in the newest blockbuster can be compared to the countless filters and voice manipulation tools modern hip hop artists use, like Auto-tune. The music being made and popularized in America is almost completely synthetic now. This is not always a bad thing, but I do not look forward to the day when electro music replaces acoustic. One requires the press of a key or the turn of a switch, and the other requires actually knowing how to produce melodies and powerful chords out of nothing.
With all of this being said, even though music today may not be in the best shape, there is still hope in the talented bands emerging to the public eye finding new methods of exposure like the internet. It is important today for music lovers to support their local record stores and local music.





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