It’s official: music, and the people who make it, are getting worse

Miley+Cyrus+is+adorned+in+a+more+moderate+red%2C+white%2C+and+blue+sequined+leotard+for+a+night+on+her+promotional+%E2%80%9CBangerz%E2%80%9D+Tour.
Miley Cyrus is adorned in a more moderate red, white, and blue sequined leotard for a night on her promotional “Bangerz” Tour.

Miley Cyrus is adorned in a more moderate red, white, and blue sequined leotard for a night on her promotional “Bangerz” Tour.

commons.wikimedia.org: author karina3094

commons.wikimedia.org: author karina3094

Miley Cyrus is adorned in a more moderate red, white, and blue sequined leotard for a night on her promotional “Bangerz” Tour.

Allie Utley, Staff Writer

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Generation Z, also known as post-millennials, have been criticized for many things; the clothes they wear, the cars they drive, their presumed lack of interest in society, and more specifically, the music they listen to. The problem with this is that, unfortunately, it’s true. I think music within the last twenty years has declined in creativity and lyricism has become bland, boring, and simply less meaningful.

In the book “Instruments of Desire,” it tells that in an interview with Albert Goldman, Rock n’ roll artist Jimi Hendrix was asked what the difference was between the “old blues and the new,” to which he replied, “Electricity.”

I see that part of the problem with “today’s music” is the overuse of autotune. This allows artists who look the part and withhold the slightest ability to dance to fit the overall persona of the industry. With an obvious and repugnant reputation for allowing untalented artist to use auto-tune as a way to make themselves be taken seriously, the industry has created some of its own problems. These issues include the general lack of talent needed to be signed to a record label, the downfall of people’s expectation for the music industry, and the prodigious shift of American culture.

As we talk about the uncreative minds of young artists, we should also note that the one who might perform a musical piece, usually isn’t the one who writes it. In Miley Cyrus’s 2013 hit “Wrecking Ball,” Cyrus isn’t the original creator. The song was originally written by a team of writers, paid to create original work for short-sighted artists to record and unfairly take credit for.

On top of all of this, the standard of clothing is also differentiated for the people of Hollywood. Many singers and performers are dressed in, well, almost nothing in today’s modern world. Back in the day, singers, such as The Beatles, were almost always dressed to impress: suits, tied ties, and combed hair. People simply used to be more professional, rather than the explicit and revealing outfits people wear today.

With explicit costumes come the seemingly unambiguous attitudes of the artists. The people who perform these songs simply don’t have as much of an attachment to their line of work as they used to. Today’s artists tend to just want to live in big houses and have obsessive fans shouting their name from blocks away, instead of actually loving what they do and putting in hard work.

When it comes down to it, some people ignore the artist of a song entirely, instead listening only to what they hear. Modern music today seems to be predictable, meaningless, and repetitive. We get it, you came in like a wrecking ball, you “work,” and you’re sorry and missing more than just your body. We get it! Now sing something else. I think it’s fair to say songs found in the modern twenty-first century are dumber and more univocal than they used to be. Just compare songs like Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” to rapper Danny Brown’s “Monopoly.” These songs tend to just repeat the same three sentences over and over, or give no real story line at all; only mixed selfish thoughts and feelings of the artist. The creative inkwell, in this case, has gone dry.

A very good example of the music industry at it’s finest would be rap artist Kanye West. West was scheduled to perform at Sacramento’s Golden 1 center in California earlier in 2016, in part of his Saint Pablo tour. West, showing up an hour late, was said to have come on stage, performed two songs, ranted about Beyonce, then left, robbing fans of up to nearly $250 each.

This seems a little hypocritical seeing as Kanye had just tweeted previous to his performance, “Beyonce’, I was hurt, because I heard that you said you wouldn’t perform unless you won video of the year over me, and over Hotline Bling.”

Let’s not forget the unforgettable 2009 Video Music Awards when West interrupted country music star, Taylor Swift, bashing not only her, but the people who voted for her, saying that Beyonce should’ve availed instead of Swift. This isn’t just disrespectful, but childish; a multi-millionaire complaining about his favorite singer losing, and forgetting that regular human ethics apply to him as well. Like I said, the music industry at its finest.

As previously stated, modern music, has come to a point where artists just say the same lines over and over, creating a song that doesn’t even connect with a story line. Researchers in Spain, in part with ABC Science, have conducted a study where investigators used a huge archive known as the Million Song dataset, which breaks down audio and lyrical content into data that can be crunched, to study pop songs from 1955 to 2010. The team, led by intelligence specialist John Serra, ran music from the last 50 years through complex algorithms and found that music has become increasingly louder and more bland in terms of chords and melodies. One example is “Broccoli” by D.R.A.M. This song only requires a machine to play the same three notes.

“We found evidence of a progressive homogenisation of the musical discourse,” says Serra. “In particular, we obtained numerical indicators that the diversity of transitions between note combinations, roughly speaking, chords plus melodies, has consistently diminished in the last 50 years.”

I think it should also be noted that the timbre, the perceived sound quality of a musical note, has become poorer in time. In traditional music, the same note played at the same volume on a guitar is said to have a different timbre, so the researchers found modern pop has a more of a limited variety of sounds, further proving that music has indeed gotten worse over time.

So yes, call me old fashioned, but I prefer music with rhythm and meaning behind it. Music to me doesn’t necessarily have to be old or modern. I judge it based on if it’s good or bad. I’ve come to terms with the fact that my generation’s taste happens to be unimaginative and the people who make it are fraudulent jerks. Robert Crumb once said, “When I listen to old music, that’s one of the few times that I actually have a kind of love for humanity.”

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