This week let’s take a different route for Hard Rock Tuesdays and focus on mainstream music. I’ve been asking people what they think of mainstream music today, and the answers were quite surprising. Overall responses were they think it’s pop crap, or had no idea at all. What do you think of when you hear mainstream music? For a lot of people it’s what’s hot right now, what your hearing on the radio, perhaps the current top 40 countdown. Mainstream isn’t always a synonym for “pop music;” it’s often used for when the type of genre is easily accessible and widely available.
Here is my take on it.
I can remember at a very young age, my dad always having music on whether it was in the car cruising past Okanagan beach, having BBQ’S in the backyard, cleaning the house or cooking dinner. If it wasn’t bedtime, there was always music playing in the background, a habit that has been passed on to me in my everyday life. It was during those times growing up that I really grew to appreciate and love music, especially musicians ranging from the ’60s to late ’90s. I started listening to whatever music my dad had blaring on the stereo. Usually it was Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, Eagles, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bon Jovi or AC/DC…. I can recall very vividly going to buy a blank cassette and turning on the radio to record some of the current hits (when radio was actually good) or excitedly rushing out to the music store to buy the latest albums from greats like U2, Nirvana, Metallica, Pearl Jam, R.E.M etc… because I knew I would most likely enjoy at least half of the album, if not the entire thing. It has probably been about ten years since I’ve felt that excited about an album or rushed out to buy one.
To me, it’s as if music has become a disposable commodity, kind of like a cereal box if you will. You consume it, you enjoy it, then you throw it away and go and buy another one that tastes exactly the same, consume it, enjoy it, and throw it away. It’s a vicious disappointing circle. I’m sure that 90% of the musicians you hear on the current top 40 you will forget about in the next few years.
What happened to being a great musician and reaching millions of people with your passion and talent. Now it’s all about looks and controversy. We know more about a musician’s train wreck of a life (not mentioning any names) than we do about the actual music they perform. How messed up is that? I’m not saying that I don’t listen to what’s on the radio; I admit there ARE some good bands out there. I’ve found maybe 20 or so that I enjoy that have come out post-1999, and some others that are borderline decent. But for the most part, it’s bland, interchangeable, and lacking depth and personality.
Thank God for the internet… no wait thank Robert Cailliau and Tim Berners-Lee for creating the World Wide Web because the internet is a great way to find good artists nowadays since some of the real talented musicians can’t get a record deal anymore. But then again, even that’s a double standard because the internet makes music theft very accessible, which makes it even harder for good struggling musicians to make a living off of their passion. A lot of people think they’re entitled to get music for free, instead of paying for it. On the other hand, I wouldn’t pay a cent for most of the crap that comes out today. The music world severely lacks creative songwriters like Eddie Vedder and Kurt Cobain. I miss those days…the days when musicians poured their blood, sweat and tears into their music and it showed immensely, which is why some of the greats I previously listed among many more are the foundation in music history no matter how many decades and genres pass by.
Quote Of The Week:
“That’s one of the great things about music. You can sing a song to 85,000 people, and they’ll sing it back for 85,000 different reasons.” — Dave Grohl
You can contact Debra with your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.