Sunday, January 22, 2012

Those Damn Young'uns...

Aloha, readers!

Alright, I've got a question for everyone... What in the hell happened to American music and dancing?!

Seriously. This has been bothering me since approximately my junior year in high school, and I'm going to give you an extensive list of the reasons why.

1) Maybe I'm just not "with the times," but do tell me, since when is a DJ playing canned music better than hiring a live band at clubs, school dances, etc.? Now, this is by no means meant to offend DJs who are actually good and mix their own tracks, and you know, DO SOMETHING besides occasionally hitting the spacebar while going through the top 40. I have a special place in my heart for electronica, dubstep, and techno, and can appreciate a sick beat just as much as, if not more than, the next guy. But come on, if someone gets paid 500+ dollars to sit there on their laptop hitting a freaking spacebar... They can gtfo. That requires no talent, and we don't need trash in the entertainment industry when there's true talent out there. Which brings me to my next point...

2) Why in the world is it not only ok, but almost encouraged, for the somewhat attractive, non-musically talented person to get a hit on the radio? I mean, really, there's entertainment value in Keh-dollarsign-hah and LMFAO and those like them, but COME ON. They don't even orchestrate their own music 99.9% of the time. Some other dude usually gets stuck writing the song, putting down the beat, and they take all the credit. Plus, their music is trashy and usually makes me feel like trash when I have to listen to it. Especially as a music major, it really bothers me that I'm surrounded by people who are just outrageously talented, practice forever, and I know that just because they play REAL music, they will never achieve the mainstream success that the aforementioned have. People may argue, "Well, they're good club hits because we can dance to them." I counter with:

3). Swing dancing. Salsa. Tango. Waltz. The Twist and everything from the 60's. A bajillion other things that I'm not mentioning. THAT is DANCING, people. Grinding is not actually dancing. At. All. It really does not require skill. And you know what else? Maybe America would be more willing to lose weight if, when they wanted to go out DANCING and have fun, they'd learn to do something as strenuous and physically demanding as, say, the jitterbug, because that certainly burns more calories than rubbing your body against someone else's body. Just saying.

4) I'm a bit biased as a saxophonist and jazz singer here, but I'm just going to throw this out there... Why do more people not listen to jazz? Aside from being aesthetically pleasing, it takes SKILL, is a very versatile genre, you can slow dance and swing dance to it, and is all around just freaking awesome. Why does Wynton Marsalis not get played in the top 40 vs. Taylor Swift? Seriously?! She literally writes every song about practically the same thing, using most of the same chord progressions, and, when she's feeling crazy, she might change the key. Whoop-de-freaking-doo. I could write a song similar to hers in less than 5 minutes, but will I? NO. Why? Because I have STANDARDS as a MUSICIAN, people. Music isn't just a means to get famous for me, as it SHOULDN'T be for those who truly love it. It's my PASSION. Not nearly enough artists these days write music for the love of music itself, they just produce and produce and produce more and more trash so they can become famous. Fame should NOT be the motivation behind anything, especially something as beautiful, profound, and moving as music can be.

5) Now, I'm not suggesting that all good music is complicated music. Far from it. Some of the best music uses simple harmonic structures and chord progressions, but can still be very profound. For example, Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah." Lyrically, one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard. "Let it Be," by the Beatles. Also, another lyrical beauty, and it uses only 4 chords. Anything by the composer Philip Glass. He pretty much started a new genre, minimalism, on his own, and his music is extremely contemplative and beautiful, but normally very simple. What sets these apart from, say, Taylor Swift? (If you can't tell, I hate her music, as well as Miley Cyrus' (gag) more than pretty much any artist out there, period.) I don't know, they're not either:
A) In Ms. Swift's case, just whining about problems or talking about my boyfriend.
B) In Miley's case, just plain stupid as hell. She sang Party in the USA without knowing who Jay-Z was, and for God's sake, if you're going to perform music, KNOW WHAT IT'S ABOUT. For all that is good and holy, don't desecrate this purest of artforms like that.
But the real reason that the examples I listed are better than these two popular leading ladies is this: Music is something that needs to be personal, and come from the heart. It is something that rises from inside of you, and can be powerful enough to burn down the world or raise it up in glory...

I'm sure Taylor was really feeling heartbroken when she was writing however many songs she wrote about the subject, but frankly, her emotions seem extremely petty and immature and that's why I hate her music, not because it isn't personal, but because the personality in her music just leaves much to be desired.

Ok, so, I've kind of gotten myself worked up here, not gonna lie, and am going to leave this and drink a cup of hot chocolate and forget about why the world is making me sad.

Today's song of the day, something I consider real music, is called Typhoon by Young the Giant. It's a beautifully crafted song, and it leaves something for music majors (glorious countermelodies and harmonies!) to enjoy, and for those of you who aren't, just a really really pretty song to listen to. By the way, you don't actually need to be a musician to enjoy most of the music I listen to, just someone who actually likes music.

Anyway, here's the link:

Thanks for reading this rant, I hope it entertained you.

With love,

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