The Struggle to Remain Relevant

Johann Sebastian Bach’s ‘Erbarme Dich’ from the score Matthaus Passion is playing in my music system. On the neighbor’s jukebox, Lil Wayne is teaching women how to lick his over-tattooed body. As I savor the melodious voice of Delphine Galou, I get constant interruptions ‘lick me, lick me like a lollipop’.

Holy crap! Who even listens to that kind of music, it turns out teenagers recite the song better than their national anthem, and no wonder academic grades keep plummeting. I am afraid we might never produce an Einstein in our generation. A recent study uncovered the fact that students who listened to Mozart’s music did well in their examinations compared to students who listened to Lil Wayne.

There is a constant struggle between the new and the old, the established and the yet to be established. An unhealthy pressure that pushes us to buy things we do not really need, sing along songs we know nothing about, it all stems from the fad culture. Whatever sells is what is popular regardless of how stupid it might be, I guess they call it having swag (the new word for being dumb). Like the ‘celebrity’ who appeared on TV, putting on flip-flops on different colors (accidentally) and it became an overnight fashion sensation and footwear companies bagged a whole load of cash. The struggle continues but I maintain my humble ways.

There was a time when to be a singer you had to know how to sing, in came auto-tune. Just throw anything at it and it will make it sound like music. Snap! Add two line lyrics that will go on repeat mode for the entire five minutes. Don’t get it wrong I’m a big fan of trance, house and techno music, but there is a new trend for mainstream artist to do a song or two on this genre, it rarely works.

Did I mention Lil Wayne tried his hands at rock music? Oh, he sounded like a worn out guitar but still insisted he had to be indicted to the rock and roll hall of fame alongside Michael Jackson, Jimmy Hendricks and the legendary Elvis Presley. What happened to standards? I guess they too were washed away with generation X. The contemporary relevance is a miasma of myopic mores.

May be the worst is yet to come, generation z will pick from their predecessors and extrapolate the irrationality to the sky. Perhaps music will no longer be the thing to sooth the soul, rather transportation for riches and a permit to brag and vulgar talk. The only reason to engage in an art form will be money. The good die as the bad waits to take over.

Originally published at blackorwa.com on January 23, 2013.

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