I Want Another Woodstock

May 11, 2011
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There was once a time when the word “peace” meant something. Meant more than just a circle with lines in the middle garishly plastered on preteens’ outfits. Meant more than just two fingers put up in a dry attempt to look cute in your Facebook profile picture. There was a time when peace wasn’t just a marketing buzzword.

Peace used to mean music. Music brought people together in a way no other thing ever could; when there was a melody reverberating through your ears and around your brain, shattering your opinions and melting the basic human instinct to compete, true peace is formed.

However, the slicing robotic noises of this day and age that people call “music” are a mockery of the raw sounds that came from scratchy guitars and microphone stands in the 60’s. Everything I hear on the radio now has some kind of computer effect, whether it’s simple autotune disguising the fact that the singer can’t sing or loud, imposing pitch drops and synthesized beats. A large part of the magic and mystery of music back then was how on Earth the guitarist’s fingers could move that fast, or what a talented voice the singer had, but now, everything can be sped up, slowed down or edited to make it absolutely perfect without even trying. Now I can never trust whether or not something is real.

I suppose one can defend their own tastes; music can be anything. It’s something that sounds right to the ears. It’s something with meaning. Computer editing doesn’t change that. Well, this generation seems to have squeezed all the meaning from their songs as well. When you listen closely to the lyrics on the radio, you’ll find almost every popular song is about sex, money or partying. Occasionally one brilliant gem will shine through with an original idea, but you’d have to sit through all the other noisy songs to find it.

It's moments like this I wish I was alive before all the computer editing started, like back in the 60's. That was when the British Invasion came along, with Mick Jagger and John Lennon bringing their bands overseas with clever references and breathtaking imagery written into their lyrics. Then came Woodstock, a three-day music festival with singers such as Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix warbling songs of peace and their wish for the war to end.

Music isn't just sound. It never was. Music is Chuck Berry hopping around on one foot on stage. Music is the unknown meaning behind Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix's "All Along the Watchtower". Music is a boy looking up chords to a sappy love song to serenade the girl he loves. Music is the Beatles' guitar solos bleeding into revolutionary vocals pleading for people to come together and be civil for once in their mortal lives.

I have to wonder, as I sit through another terribly altered song on the radio, what genre of music will be popular next. Will it go downhill from here? Or will some miraculous event occur to change everything?

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Night-Goat said...
Jun. 11, 2011 at 10:35 pm
finally someone else who thinks that! I was beginning to think I was the only one. I think some bands around today still make some good music, but its mostly bands that try to sound "retro" by making real music, not computer-generated sounds. I've always thought I should have been around in the '60s and '70s or at least the '90s with Nirvana and some of those bands. I'd say the day the music died was really with Kurt
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