Today on Blogcritics
Home » Music » Too Cool to Have a Music Culture

Too Cool to Have a Music Culture

Please Share...Print this pageTweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

Today's musicians are lazy. Their audiences are even more indolent. I wouldn’t refer to myself as old. I am a seasoned twenty-nine. However, I worked with bands on all levels in the past. I have handled marketing and promotion. I have heard every type of music from all walks of life, derived from every portion of the soil within the US. The only common attitude today’s music culture shares is a lack thereof!

I grew up when grunge music was fashionable. Despite what the Kurt Cobain’s would have liked for their fans to think – pouting about their lives in heroin sheik clothing was a multi-million dollar business, still is. The angst of teenage rebellion has sold throughout decades in this country. Youth rebellion is what has made music, changed music, and created music. Like seasons, the mores and vanity of the rebellion’s flavor has changed with each new generation of hormone infused pissed off adolescence.

For me, Kurt Cobain’s agonizing voice meant something. It united me with my peers. We had a common cause in listening to his music. There was a sense of community in being misunderstood by the rest of the world. We weren’t going to take your glam rock anymore. We weren’t going to play Pleasantville for our parents anymore. We were the alternative in every aspect of the word’s definition. And though the trend of “I don’t care” rock was commercialized, and ended sadly, there was still a sense of belonging for me. A badge I still wear whenever I hear Mud Honey or Dinosaur Junior hit the “Rewind Weekend” program of my local ration station.

There are many stories like mine. The eighties had their tone. Everyone united with Aquanet, Cocaine, and being reckless together in the name of bands like Motley Crue and Guns N’ Roses. This type of uniting youth through music has gone on since Elvis swung if hips – if not before! However, today’s youth concerns me. It seems to be more about generation “me” then generation “we”. The musicians of today no longer seem to care about talent either. Since when is it okay to make a musician on a television show based on the votes of housewives, Twilighters, and product sponsors? Since when is it okay to cough up one hundred dollars to see a train wreck strip her way, through a circus like production, to a track so saturated with effects that the artist isn’t even sure it is her signing?

Bands today are fleeting from sound and message- to corporate sponsorship and social media popularity. They depend on these things more then they depend on talent. One band that is a great example of this is Paramore. Yeah, I said it. Bands, like Paramore, Escape the Fate, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Jonas Brothers, Plies, The All American Rejects, and Sugar Cult are all listed on the same page of MySpace’s top bands.

These bands weren’t talented musicians whose message became a product once they were discovered. These bands are products who became “musicians” through the reality of social networking. Miley Cyrus is the voice of today’s youth? At the same time so is Escape the Fate? Where is the common ground I had in my teenage years? Where is this sense of community? I don’t see how anyone can have a horrible day at school, run home, and throw on some ‘Jonas Brothers’ to relate.

The even scarier aspect of today’s youth, and their lack of identity, is the fact that these kids are forming bands inspired by the lack of talent in today’s entertainment industry. Not only do they have to look up to The Jonas’ Brothers and their recent appearance with Stevie Wonder on The Grammys (of which they didn’t even know the lyrics) but today’s youth are going to be emulating this same ignorance of relatabilty.

As long as they have a MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and Last.FM account – the possibility of someone like Lady Gaga becoming a smash hit is a possibility. So much for talent, showmanship, and honest teenage angst. Today’s music industry has become a ball of manufactured songs, backing musicians, and street teams who win prizes if they can sell so many ninety-nine cent singles via an html-url promotional code. Today’s youth lacks any type of culture, talent, or ambition. It is a sad day for me when I look at my four year old nephew who already has music ability and think his talent may never be discovered because he might not get enough phone votes!

Powered by

About Tanya Vece

  • Jordan Richardson

    Since when is it okay to make a musician on a television show based on the votes of housewives, Twilighters, and product sponsors?

    Since the beginning of television, really. And I’m not sure they’re “making a musician” on these reality shows insomuch as they are allowing the viewing public to vote for their favourites. It’s a sort of preapproval process, in a way, and isn’t much different from any other level of talent show throughout entertainment history.

    Since when is it okay to cough up one hundred dollars to see a train wreck strip her way, through a circus like production, to a track so saturated with effects that the artist isn’t even sure it is her signing?

    People have been paying good money to see train wrecks with negligible talent since the days of Shakespeare. It’s part and parcel with the entertainment industry as a whole, I think.

    Where is the common ground I had in my teenage years?

    I’m not sure the ground in your teenage years was as common as you think it was. I think it’s more of an issue of your fond memories towards the past than it is that “today’s kids” don’t share the community of music.

    What you have to remember is that MySpace Music is that community. Teens are discovering new artists through the magic of the internet, whereas dorks like us had to rely on radio and other mediums to get what we were into. But believe it or not, not everybody was into Nirvana and grunge during the 90s. Lots of people were into gangsta rap or other forms of music, too. Same for today: people are into emo, pop, dance, whatever.

    I don’t see how anyone can have a horrible day at school, run home, and throw on some ‘Jonas Brothers’ to relate.

    But they do and that’s what matters. Teens, whether you or I can relate, are connecting to this music. And it’s the same thing our parents doubtlessly said about the music we listened to when we were teens, too. My parents used to look down their noses at my various musical phases, calling my musical tastes on the carpet for a lack of imagination or for “selling out.”

    History repeats itself.

    As long as they have a MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and Last.FM account – the possibility of someone like Lady Gaga becoming a smash hit is a possibility.

    As someone who has a review copy of The Fame with my name on it, I’m going to disagree here. I’m also going to bring up the mere fact that there always will be plenty of one-hit-wonders (Spacehog?) regardless of the era or genre or year or generation.

    The internet is allowing more people access to more music. Much like the radio created our access to artists when we were growing up, the internet is doing the same thing now. There’s more exposure to more artists now, which is obviously going to thin out the talent pool. There will always be bad and good musical acts, there will always be “boy bands” and cheesy musicians making millions.

    But there will also always be hard-working, sincere musical acts that make a difference and pull ahead regardless of the medium. There’s a LOT of talent out there today, perhaps more than ever before. We shouldn’t confuse our inability to relate to the medium with a lack of talent or sincerity and that, I think, is the danger you’re approaching with this article.

  • Patrick Taylor

    There’s always going to be manufactured pop. The exciting thing about technology is that it allows a lot more kids to make music of there own. There has been an explosion in the last decade of great indie bands getting a decent amount of support (Arcade Fire, Decemberists, Sufjan Stevens, F’ed Up, Atmosphere, Brother Ali, Bon Iver, M.I.A., etc, etc.), and there are hundreds of other smaller bands who are equally great, and have the tools to make interesting, compelling, inventive music. That means that there are also hundred of talent-deprived hacks making disposable garbage. My advice is to listen to them as little as possible, and have faith that the truly great stuff will have a life long after Miley Cyrus has crashed and burned.
    Also, lady gaga is kind of awesome. horrible, but kind of awesome, much like madonna was in the early 80s.

%d bloggers like this: