I’ve been travelling in a car quite a bit these days. While playing music on the stereo, we typically choose one of two channels. The first one has all the modern songs – latest billboard hits and the like. The second channel is devoted to older songs. I’ve spend a fair amount of time listening to both and the conclusion I’ve reached is this: English music these days is utter crap. I thought I might be biased, so I visited the official billboard page and listened to the hit numbers with an open mind. Turns out I was right.
The first thing that strikes me is the beat. It seems every English song today is made for dancing in a disc. No slow music. No melody. Everything has a sort of heavy beat. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – not at all. But there’s no variety. No blues, and no slow dance songs.
My second complaint is the subject of the songs. Without exception, they’re either about love, dancing, partying, or rap. Again, nothing wrong with those songs. Heck, love songs pretty much dominated my growing up years. But again, what pisses me off is that there’s nothing new. Not so long ago, there were songs which dealt with everything ranging from general angst and meaning in life (What if God was one of us), to how the radio is being replaced by TV (Radio Ga Ga.) Songs celebrating the life of artists (Vincent) and Enya’s awesome “Only time” are a few more examples of music dealing with a wide variety of issues.
And why do all the singers look like models? It seems to me that out of a sample of people who really have a talent for singing, only a very few will also have the gorgeous looks and pristine figures that almost every singer male or female seems to have these days. When I see every single artist looking like they stepped out of a magazine, I have to wonder at what criteria is being used to select them
What happened to all the songs for you know…adults? Those not meant for lovestruck teenagers or for those not in a partying mood? It seems they’ve gone the way of the dodo. One can’t even say that disco themed songs are inherently better – just look at the success of Metallica, Pink Floyd etc. There’s a space for all this type of music, but I just don’t seem to see any of it on the radio channels playing the latest songs. For that sort of thing I have to go to the “oldies” channel!
One possible reason I can think of for this state of affairs is that “dancy” songs make more money. They can be played and licensed out in discs and they have a certain native appeal that doesn’t require any effort to appreciate. Lazy music in other words. It doesn’t make you think. Like junk food. No nourishment, but sort of satisfies a need to fill the void with something. And of course, good looking singers sell well on album covers and in concerts. In the old days, if you could sing, that was it. Bands like Abba and Simon and Garfunkel weren’t reputed for their looks. Of course, some artists were icons like Madonna, Elvis and the Beatles. But they were rare. Most of the time there was no correlation between singing talent and good looks.
So is it just me? Is my observation flawed? Perhaps there really are different songs coming out these days which have melody instead of a dance beat and which address issues other than just love, partying and rap. But if so, I don’t hear them being played anywhere and that’s sad :(