Who Are the Pinnacle Musical Artists of Today?

With the death of Prince and David Bowie, who are the great musical artists, of this generation, who will be seen at their level?

As an 18 year old, I can’t say that I have ever truly been, directly affected by Prince. I know my parents are fans and that he has always been considered to have a great influence on music. It wasn’t until his death where I read and heard, about his greatness. He was one of the most beloved and prolific musical artists ever. This year we have lost both him and David Bowie, two people many would describe as, pinnacles of music in the past.

I find, when I ask my parents or listen to anyone else(in the 40–50 age range), there was a consensus big 3 of their generation. Those 3 were Michael Jackson, Prince, and Madonna. These are the three big ones, along with artists like David Bowie and Bruce Springsteen right up there, with them. So I’ve started to think, who are the pinnacles of music, in this current generation?

“Who are the pinnacles of music, in this current generation”?

I am going to split it into 3 categories: Locks, Getting There, and Dark Horses. The “Locks” are the artists that I think are practically guaranteed to be remembered and influential for many generations to come. “Getting There,” is the category of the people I think have great potential, and are well on their way to engraving their legacy in history, but it could still go either way. The “Dark Horse” category is essentially my hot take section. These artists are a long shot to have legacies comparable to the others, but hey, you never know, they might take off one day. Overall, this is ranking the mainstream impact that all of these artists have had. Of course, this is my opinion, but I will try as hard as possible to have consensus objectivity.

Locks

  • Justin Timberlake- He is the first that came to mind, when I contemplated this question. He is very reminiscent of Michael Jackson, in style, but clearly takes a lot of influence from all genres and influential artists before him. To add to that, he pulled off the Michael Jordan-esque hiatus, when he went to acting, and immediately reminded us who he was, before he left.
  • Beyoncé- *Unpopular Opinion Alert* I am in no way, shape, or form, a Beyoncé fan, and opinion that is seen as borderline blasphemy. However, that doesn’t mean she is not deserving to be in this category. Seemingly, the majority of people go crazy whenever she releases a new album. Her influence when it comes to social issues, her popularity, and her willingness to experiment with her music are all remarkable aspects that solidify her as a staple of this generation.
  • Adele- She is probably the best voice around now, and one of the best of all time. Her songs are all powerful, and her lyrics have meaning. Her most recent album, ruled the world for about 4 months, and is still. Then there was 21 which almost every song on that album made it to #1, or at least it seemed like it. She’s still incredibly young, but I think her accomplishments and impact to this point have already earned her a spot on this list.
  • Kanye- If I had to guess, this would probably be the most controversial pick of this category. I don’t care what people think about him personally, his musical success is undeniable. He has been a pinnacle of rap for more than 10 years, and is still going strong. Kanye may be an oddity, and no one will ever truly understand his antics, but his name has been synonymous with rap/hip-hop, for more than a decade.

Getting There

  • Taylor Swift- She is another one wher, I’m really not a fan. I do think however, it is very much up for debate that she could be on the “Locks” list. The one deciding factor was age. She is 26, which is plenty of time for her to either, solidify her legacy, or…fall from grace. Even though I don’t love her, I would like to make clear that I am not rooting for the latter. This is her position, more out of caution, because she has a long career to come.
  • Kendrick Lamar- Since To Pimp a Butterfly, it has seemed like Kendrick has ruled the rap world. A case could easily be made, that Kendrick was the rapper of 2015, and that he is the best rapper around right now. His songs cut deep, they approach issues head in, and they make us look within ourselves.
  • Lady Gaga- So the title of this section is “Getting There,” but if there was an “In Decline” section, Lady Gaga would highlight it. She was in an incredible run for quite a while, but then…*poof*…she was gone. She’s been singing show tunes with Tony Bennett, and for the most part, out of the spotlight. However, her artistry is still great and I think she will reclaim the spotlight to further her success.
  • Drake- This reasoning is essentially a combination of the Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar reasonings. First of all, he may be currently in his prime, having great success, but his age is what holds me back, making him a lock. Second, he is another one, you could debate he was the rapper of 2015, along with multiple years prior. Drake is great, he has mastered marketing and the press, I am fairly confident that we will be looking back at his legacy, far in the future.

Dark Horse

  • Bruno Mars- I’m a Bruno Mars believer! He’s clearly talented, at singing and dancing, and he’s fun. Everyone loves to hate, Super Bowl halftime shows, but when he’s been involved, I’ve been entertained. He has also had a lot of success, with multiple number one hits. His problem is, he comes off as a spin off of the greats, like Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake. How could he truly compete in that genre? I don’t know the answer, but I’m pulling for Bruno!
  • Ed Sheerhan- Ed Sheerhan is the hope for the singer, songwriter types, to truly reach greatness. He’s a dude with a guitar and good lyrics, and he has had exceptional success with what so many have tried before. His most recent album, Multiply, was incredibly successful, and gives the hope that maybe he could reach the highest levels of greatness.
  • The Weeknd- The Weeknd has been around longer than most would think, but it wasn’t really until, Beauty Behind the Madness, that he really took off, in the mainstream. I love the album, and his voice is incredible. He also does what so many great artists have done before, by having very sexual lyrics and sound, for many of his songs. I’m not sure if that will be what carries him to greatness, but I think he has exceptional talent, and the potential to achieve musical greatness.
  • Sia- Now Sia is someone who came around rather recently(or at least you would think), and she has a lot of things going for her. First things first, of course she has a terrific singing voice. Another thing is her image. He decision to wear “the wig” while in public, has created all of her marketing. Her unique image is great for publicity and her artistry. Then, what many people are beginning to realize, she has been a great songwriter for years, even before her own singing career. She has expressed that she cherishes writing songs, even more than singing and performing. You would probably be amazed at many of the songs she has written over time, if you look at her catalog. All of these factors make me actually confident, in this final dark horse bet.

This is only the beginning! Please follow me, here on Medium and I encourage you to watch me grow as a writer. Thank you very much for reading!

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