With each song that hits the Top 40 Billboard charts, disillusioned music fans reaffirm their belief that music is dead. The execution of music was performed by production companies in 2010 by way of a sacred ritual performed behind closed doors. They chanted the lyrics to Justin Bieber’s single “Baby” three times, as if the repetition in the song was not enough. When they left the room in silence, shedding their hooded robes, all that was left of music was a blood stain on the floor.
The incantation has changed over the years and has featured lyrics by Louis Armstrong, Bee Gees, Sex Pistols, and Nirvana among others. But by some miracle, music was resurrected and came back with a vengeance.
Like all other art, music is immortal. This is because music does not consist of a single artist, so it is foolish to think that the entirety of music can lose its way and fall into the depths of mediocrity.
“Unfortunately, some of the major productions don’t look to go in [a new] direction,” said Daniel Aguilar, a local sound engineer and music production professor at California Lutheran University. “But there’s a lot of indie bands and musicians that are extremely talented and you could argue that they’re just as good or better than the older stuff.”
There will always be artists looking to push the envelope and breathe new life into music. Throughout history, the belief that what lies in the mainstream is below par came up quite often and is still alive and thriving today. However, if you think that artists cannot hold a candle to the music made in the past, it is more than likely that a new artist might feel the same way and use that belief as an inspiration for breaking the mold.
There is an overwhelmingly massive amount of music out there, so only looking at the surface (i.e. popular music) and applying that to the whole of the music world makes little sense. In fact, with modern technology, there is an incredible diversity within music because it has become so easy to produce music without shelling out several hundred dollars. This should suggest that there is something out there for everybody that was released in this month alone.
It only succeeds in making one look ignorant of the music world when people subscribe to this age-old belief of music’s death.
“I think a lot of them don’t look deep enough into it,” said freshman Sam Morton, a music production major and guitarist/singer for The Ladyfingers.
Nostalgia is another major factor in contributing to the belief that music was so much better in the glorious days of yore.
“I think that nostalgia causes a lot of people to believe that music isn’t as good today,” said senior Tracy Montgomery, a music production major. “The music that they heard growing up has a special place for them, even if they would hate it if it was released today.”
One of the reasons it is so easy to look back and say “well, look at what we have now, it was way better back then!” is because we are not exposed to all of the music of the past. Listen to the most popular tracks of 1972, how many of them are bland pop singles obviously churned out by the music industry? Answer: most of them.
A certain percentage of crap has always stuck to the walls of mainstream music and it is only easy to see the greats when the dust of time settles. In the 70’s people complained of music not living up to 50’s music, these days we hear the same but with a preference towards 90’s music, and in 30 years people are going to be complaining that the music kids listen to cannot even touch the likes of Skrillex and Kanye West.
Another belief of the “modern music is awful” camp is that everything has already been done and there is no room left for music to grow into. On closer inspection, this is a rather shaky argument as it is impossible to predict innovation. Perhaps it is difficult to think of ways that new sounds can be created, but that does not make musical growth impossible.
So before you shout about how music is so awful nowadays before shooing children off of your lawn, do some research and you might be surprised at how good new music can be.
Published September 24, 2014