To quote Trent Reznor
in the past five years has taken a big shit
." As far as popular music
goes, that statement hits the nail on the head
. Gone are the days when a Nine Inch Nails
or Marilyn Manson
or Smashing Pumpkins song
could be a big hit.
Gone are the days when creativity was cultivated and supported. Now, we have nothing but rehashes and music that was never creative to begin with. Sure, boring music has topped the charts every year. But at least there'd be that one U2 song, or that one song by a creative group that would be up there. Hell, there was even more than one.
Looking at the charts these days tells quite a different tale. What tops the charts these days can be summed up in three groups: teenybopper idols, boring rockers, and the "cash bitches weed" breed of rappers.
Teenybopper idols, we've got the standard fare: 'NSync, Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, and etttttt... cetera. Every song in this subdirectory has either a dance beat or a cheesy sad melody with even cheesier lyrics. Dance music has no one's respect except those 13 year old girls who are stuck in the vicious cycle of liking what's popular, even if it does mean compromising individuality. And then the moronic lyrics of these sad songs that are so trite, if I hear "all my love, from the heavens above" (thanks Eminem) one more time I'll do something that will be, well... really not nice. Why do all these songs have to have "heart" in the title, too?
Then to the boring rockers. We've got rap rock and we've got crap rock. Rap rock consists of the all the retarded "cutting edge" bands like Limp Bizkit, Disturbed, and all those other bands whose songs I cannot tell the difference of. We can't forget their outstanding lyrics, which show these bands have less to say than a mute with his jaw caught in a bear trap. Then to the crap rock. There's Creed. Next, we have Blink 182, which show that maybe the spirit of rock isn't dead, but its originality (whatever originality it had) is dead. We can't forget Godsmack and Korn, can we? Unfortunately, Godsmack is too busy robbing guitar riffs and basslines straight ouf of Nine Inch Nails and Filter songs to bother creating something different, while Korn is too busy ripping themselves off with every song they put out.
Then to the rappers. Puff Daddy. Yes, his "covers" speak for themselves. And if there's one more rapper who cashes in on the guaranteed popularity of butt songs, the most recent being Mystikal with his surely groundbreaking "Shake Ya Ass," I may have to write off rap as nonexistant to me altogether. Fortunately, rappers such as the Eminem and the spinoffs of NWA are holding on to what little respect people had for rap music.
But I'm getting way off the point here. The issue I'm trying to address here is why the music industry has gone from promoting creativity to killing it off. The answer is obvious. Money. Whatever integrity the music industry had has been flushed down the toilet.
(I will be speaking as if the powers that be in the music only want money from this point on) The moguls in the industry finally grew a brain. They realized that every band with the integrity of Nirvana (who I hate to call creative, but they did have integrity!) would never be as profitable as the latest sexy singer. They know this sexy singer has no musical talent, but talent isn't what sells. Image is what sells, and boy does this sexy singer have image. The mogul's whore then calls upon the best people in the pop/dance songwriting field (I still wonder who these people are) to pump out a jive tune that will top the charts and have every 13 year old girl literally killing themselves over this sexy singer who's been raped by the industry, stripped of her integrity, and forced to mass market a generic lemon of an album to these girls because she's too naive (or too morally bankrupt) to know (or care) about what she's getting into, which is shaping the minds and image of these 13 year old girls to be the best they can be, and the best they can be is to be like everyone else, because creativity is shunned by teenyboppers, which they learned from the music industry that started their "pop" culture. These 13 year olds will get their mommies to wait with them at the record store until midnight for the music store to begin selling the latest Britney Spears album, which is pretty much the previous Britney Spears album, except dipped in the glitter that is being new and hip, and a must-have for all those that want to sit at the cool kids table and talk about Justin Timberlake's new hairdo and not give a shit about the music because that's not what's important.
Image is all that's important, and the music industry moguls know this, and so the cycle is perpetuated ad nauseam, and there's no way to break the cycle because teens are getting stupider by the generation. Sure, they have the internet, but all they use that for is to get on AOL and go into the Britney Spears chatroom and talk about Justin Timberlake's new hairdo while treading in a sea of "ur all fagz" from a bunch of moronic 15 year old boys who listen to Limp Bizkit and DMX and are too 1337 for your fagness. These people don't like to use their brains. They like to get their one time use, disposable album, listen to it over and over until next week when the new Limp Bizkit clone comes out with their cliched Nookie clone. Then they can buy their Slipknot shirts and show everyone that they're bad mother fuckers who listen to hard ass music. That's the image they want to maintain, and the recording industry is serving up the buffet.
The mass market needs an image, and they need someone to create that image for them. And that someone is someone who has the reach to inform all of the mass market what they're supposed to like, and that is the music industry. In closing, the mass market likes music they can dance, break stuff to, and generally get the full enjoyment out of one listen. They're lined up at the trough and the industry is serving up the slurry.
I guess it's a win-win situation for both, so why should I complain. I complain because the teenyboppers are getting increasingly dependant on others to define to them what they are, and we have to live with their stupidity, and frankly, I'm sick of them. They're as boring as the image they support, and it's only getting worse. So blame whoever, the music industry at least has the frame of mind to do something about it, whereas the teens are too naive to know the possibilities their lives contain, and the possibilities music contains.