If you are someone who follows the in and outs of music, you’ll probably agree (or maybe not) to the fact that pop is dominating the scene right now. To the disappointment of me and my friends and Slash too I guess, the culture isn’t actually something we’re very comfortable with. And when I say ‘we’, I’m referring to the bunch of people who still want to hear music that is produced through actual instruments. Not a laptop. Not a damn mixing board. Yes, these electronic mediums of sound propagation have indeed seeped into hard-rock (the Chinese democracy era of Guns and Roses) and even metal (Slipknot, although I consider them as Nu-Metal), but in these rare cases, the digitalised music is quite skilfully mashed-up with the traditional mediums of making sound. But yes, listening to these electronic forms as a genre in itself is quite distressing to my ear drums.
Now the question that eats me every night is “why the hell can’t I stand this kind of music?” I mean Europe has already been taken over by EDM, in the nonsensical kingdom of Trump things aren’t too different either with Hollywood music pumping out heavy dosages of electricity based sounds. Now I’m addressing a bigger question here. What the hell happened to the drum-guitar-bass and sometimes a keyboard melodies? Well, from what I’ve noticed through-out a span of quite a few years, is that good bands do exist, but no one wants to sign them up. So is it the case where electronic music is actually good or is it the bands that can’t pump anything new? No, the problem is far more perilous than all that.
To give you a good understanding of what I’m talking about, let’s just go a little deeper into history, just a little, I won’t bore you I promise. The 20th century was one of the most brutal a well as one of the most politically volatile times in our nearest known history. We already witnessed the two world wars that changed the geo-political as well as the socio-cultural environment for good. So good, that we’re still living in the after-glow of all that mess. And then there was the cold war, kind of like the little brother to WW1 and WW2, someone who never talked much but packed in enough potential to stir up quite a fuzz. And the civilians were the people who took the actual hit and they were angry. And what I believe from just sheer observance of that time is that people wanted to vent out that anger but were either repressed or just silenced through means of nationalism. USA saw a very volatile time in its political scenario then, with Presidents like Nixon enforcing a strong set of norms for what society should be like. And music, in my opinion was the only medium to vent all that anger that took birth via oppression and years of stupid lawmaking (ex-Marijuana being crowned as a Schedule-1 drug).
And these difficult times, I believe is what gave birth to great musical content. People had something to rage about then and mind you, the 21st century has the social network. A place where everyone gets to vent out that anger, but the 20th century didn’t have all that. In those times, it was either the radio, the newspaper or the television as the main propagators of news, all of which just spread propaganda and a shit load of other lies. In this overwrought situation, where people did not have a platform to express themselves, Music and lyrics turned out to be their biggest ally.
Let’s just look at a few greats. Bob Dylan, you know him, I know him, and even my grand-parents know him. Why? Because his lyrics were heavily laced with political messages and this profoundly spoke to the young people of that generation. Excellent Lyrical content. And then we have another God of expression, Mr. Bob Marley. Although kids today just know him for smoking the Mary (effects of pop?), that wasn’t all there was to him and his music. Jamaica was and still is in a rut. The people have suffered violently oppressive regimes along with ever deteriorating economic conditions, not to forget about the violent gangs that still have pockets of control through-out the country and the man with the dreads was a voice to reckon with. He belonged to the poor and the oppressed and this is what gave him his distinctly political lyrics. The combination of the ever friendly and always expressive Reggae just formed an elixir that spoke to millions of people like him around the world. Coming to a more modern of times, and this is an era that cannot be skipped by virtue of fucking morals. This era changed the face of rock and roll forever and the best part is, it all started from a few garages. No I’m not talking about the Silicon Valley revolution. I’m talking about the Grunge period, the 90’s. For a 23 year old, the music that comes from this period is important to me. “Nirvana- Pearl Jam- Alice in chains-Soundgarden” or the big four as they’re known in this culture questioned everything hypocritical that society threw at us and that personally reflects on the person I am. Through the unharnessed power of raw drum beats with equally violent guitar playing and the sheer genius lyrics, they found home in millions, millions of young mentally distressed youngsters who needed to express, to break all chains that stopped them from living a ‘life’. The main propagator, Kurt Cobain has indeed become a household name now, but even when he and his band mates were widely not-so-known, they made quite an impact on however small the audience they were playing to. And the tremors from that impact are still felt to this date, if you listen to real music that is.
By the mid-90’s this movement spread out to further and stronger iterations of expressions, mainly with the alternative grunge band “Rage against the machines” who went to the extent of shutting down wall-street for a day(correct me if I’m wrong). Their lyrics were so politically charged and covered such large variety of human fuck-ups such as genocide, God, you name it, that they were actually seen as a threat to the system. Now that is called sticking the finger to the man.
So with such awesome ground work, a normal working brain can easily figure out that the music of the 21st century would be explosive, right? No. This generation is being fed complete, utter, auto-tuned, unimaginative, blandly tasteless, mediocre repetitive bullshit that MTV so proudly calls music. But the worm still lurks around in my mind, why? Why do we not have good music anymore? The times that we’re living in are equally screwed up and we’ll admit to that. In a span of 3 decades, we have killed 4 times more people than the numbers that made up World War 2. Racism is still rampant, the rich people are still influencing governments around the world, the government is still lying to our faces, Trump at the gates, Africa is well, still Africa, climate change is on an all time high alert and Theresa May is in power. So why isn’t the music expressing that? Why is it all about ass and breasts? Why is it all about dance and moving around? Maybe people want this? Or maybe no one gives a flying fuck anymore.
Or is it just me who’s not coping up with the times? Definitely not that. If change means dumbing yourself down, I prefer overdosing at 27 thank you. u