Where Words Fail, Music Speaks

March 6, 2012
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If you talk to a group of teenagers about music for a long enough period of time, chances are you’ll here someone say something along the lines of “I hate (insert popular musician here) because they only make songs to sell.”

This is one of the most immature, and unfounded opinions present in today’s youth. It is quite obvious that professional musicians will “make songs to sell”. They depend on their music to sell. The problem is that most people don’t take logic a step further and infer that “Well, good music sells. So that means they try and make good music”. The problem is that these people are of the opinion that their idea of good music is either

A)The majority
B)More “artistic and expressive”
C)Or better because of some similarity to older music

The problem with thinking you’re the majority is that the most popular (and selling) music is obviously the type the majority favors. The type of people that use argument B are usually not even educated in music or have some self-fabricated objective standards of art. Most of these people argue that art is about “expressing yourself” and that if a song doesn’t talk about some heart-breaking tragedy with lots of light melodic parts then it is not “self expressive” enough. The assertion that your music is better because of a similarity to older music is often false, and if not it is still pretentiously assuming that older music is better.

I’ve heard people say that older music is better because it is quiet and more mathematical, this is completely wrong. Most of those people assume that classical, Baroque-Era orchestra music is the only type of older music. Tons of music genres existed that were similar to the modern genres such as hip-hop. Just like in nightclubs today, people in bars and taverns would usually listen to upbeat music with fast, distinct, lead melodies and layers of supporting bass and percussion. Folk music is often very similar to hip-hop, with lots of faster, consistent beats and melodies.

The argument that art is about expressing your personality is completely wrong. Art, by denotation, is the “quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.” – Dictionary.com, so by definition art does not have to be about expressing yourself. However even in an emotional sense art doesn’t have to express characteristics of the artist. Actors have to change the personality they’re portraying all the time, novelists make up characters that are utterly unlike they themselves. Art isn't about expressing yourself all the time; it’s about eliciting an emotion or series of emotions from the audience. Art is about manipulating the feelings of your audience to reach a desired effect that will provoke some kind of thought process or surge of emotion. Music doesn’t always have to mean something about the artist, as long as it means something to the audience, and that something can be a lot of different things.

Music isn’t always about telling a story, it’s about making you feel something.

“Where Words Fail, Music Speaks” ~ Hans Christian Anderson

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This article has 11 comments. Post your own now!

JRaye This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 15, 2014 at 2:42 pm
First, you're a great writer and have a gift when it comes to expressing yourself onto a page! :D And second, I definetly agree. Music is simply another form of art - it doesn't always have to relate to the artists themselves, the listener just needs to feel something. My music style is super weird - my favorite band is an accapella group! (Pentatonix, LOVE THEM) Granted, the music industry is full of songs about sex and drugs and whatnot, but if your not into that then don't listen ... (more »)
half.noteThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Feb. 8, 2013 at 1:45 pm
I'm stalking all your articles and whatnot, so expect many annoying comments from me, my dear friend. *evil laugh* Anyways, I pretty much agree with you on this one. I like a wide range of music from Bach to Muse and The Beatles to Larry Norman. However, as a musician, the only music I can't stand is the modern garbage with no musical talent or variety. It's just a strong beat with a singer whining about how they need a hotter girlfriend/boyfriend or about getting high and drunk.... (more »)
meowers5 said...
Mar. 9, 2012 at 12:38 pm
Lady Gaga is a man and music today is ruined...
Breece6 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Mar. 10, 2012 at 8:40 pm

1) What does Lady GaGa's gender have to do with anything?  That's completely irrelevant, prejudiced and has nothing to do with what I was saying in the article.


2) How is music today ruined, it's almost the same as it has ever been.  The difference is only in what type of instrumentation we use.


Also, I'm sorry if this sounds mean or isn't true, but you don't sound like a teenager.  This website is meant for teens mostly, and getting in... (more »)

meowers5 replied...
Mar. 17, 2012 at 11:53 am

I was kiddin bout the Lady Gaga thing...

1. My thing about music is that is tht all you hear these days is f.ck this and f.ck tht..its not all music but a vast majority (Sex, drugs, violence, alcohol)

2. And yes im a teen...14yearsold XD

meowers5 replied...
Mar. 17, 2012 at 11:54 am

I was JK about Lady Gaga..kinda

1. In music, all u hear is f this and f that..not all music but a vast majority.

2. Yes im a teen...14

Breece6 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Mar. 17, 2012 at 7:08 pm

1. Don't listen to stupid music, listen to some good newer genre music like house or dubstep or something.  


2. Oh, well then I guess you have no excuse :P  

meowers5 replied...
Mar. 21, 2012 at 11:04 am
meowers5 replied...
Mar. 23, 2012 at 10:44 pm
Can I ask you and honest question? And im just curious...
Breece6 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Mar. 26, 2012 at 4:42 pm
Sure, go ahead.
meowers5 replied...
Apr. 26, 2012 at 1:18 pm
Im honestly curious here.....are Southern Baptists not allowed to do certain things??? Just curious..
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