Good afternoon UKmixers.
At last an honest to goodness response!
I wrote the article to provoke debate, did I mean it? Well yes I did, I genuinely believe that the charts today are full of recycled rehashed trash...
But I didn't expect everyone to agree with me
Heck I was kind of surprised Aneta posted it up (thanks Aneta by the way
I do sort of see your point BWitcher, except for one thing. You've missed mine.
My problem is not merely with people buying bad music that they'll regret owning (although certainly that's a curse), my problem is with the death of original music.
I am, by my own admission on many occasions, a pop fan. I like fluff, I enjoy music which exists purely to make me feel good. But there's a flip-side to the coin. It does have to make me feel good.
A few years ago I was bemoaning the rise of Britpop to all and sundry, not because it was bad (it wasn't, indeed a lot of Britpop stuff still sounds as good today as it did then) but because Britpop was all we had. A million and one sideburned bands with a depressed lead singer singing about how much his life sucked.
So I was delighted whenever actual pop started to reappear in the charts. Music which existed not to cause depression and suicide attempts, but to cheer people up.
There is however a problem.
It all sounds the same. Heck, it all IS the same. (I am moderating my language for this post, if the word heck annoys anyone as much as it annoys me, feel free to use **** or **** or any other word I don't want to use on a forum where kids might read it).
Producers bounce back and forth from band to band, stamping out record after record with no independent sound and with the sole ideal of selling lots of copies.
And they succeed.
Because the public isn't surprised, isn't challenged by what they hear and in the end doesn't come out of the experience having learned anything apart from a new chorus.
Compare this to even relatively modern records such as Pulp's criminally overlooked "This Is Hardcore" (which I am listening to at the moment). "This Is Hardcore" is not a great album, I'd go as far as to say that it only has one great track ("A Little Soul":wink: but that one track makes me feel something, I listen to it reasonably regularly simply because it ISN'T
a plain song... It's a song with a point, you listen to it, and it makes you think
The vast majority of chart music these days is pointless trash. Unworthy and without any merit at all. And the people who sing them, well they're puppets of a record industry which chews up young talent and spits out homogenised pointless and heartless rubbish.
As for God's gift vocally, well for those bands which are actually singing their own songs you may have a point... Except that as Popstars has shown us a great many people out there can sing, many of them better than these bands. If these people have any actual ability it is their ability to wear a small amount of clothing and act as unthreatening crush objects to impressionable kids.
There is precious little musical merit in modern pop. Let's look at Steps. I own both Steps albums, and indeed the songs are nice and cheery for the most part, and I even enjoy them at times. But there's nothing there which excites me, which makes me genuinely love the albums, in fact they sound like half the rubbish sitting on the shelves out there.
As for Destiny's Child, well personally I detest them, but that's an opinion. I don't think they make interesting music, but on the upside they write it themselves. All I come out of a Destiny's Child song with is a vague impression that some man has done their lyricist wrong somewhere along the line.
But that said I would take a million Destiny's Childs over even one Westlife. A band which exists purely as a cloned Boyzone but with whatever credibility Boyzone had built up removed and replaced with ballad after ballad after ballad.
But, these things sell, bad
pop music sells and R&B (except it's not actually R&B, its something which has usurped its title) sells. And so that is what we are fed. By the bucketload. And that is all that is being produced. And that is all that record companies will sign.
And so we are all on a self-perpetuating loop where the only music we can hear is pop and R&B because it is all that is being produced.
And that's stupid.
And extremely short sighted.
The last major change in record buying patterns happened suddenly in 1996/97 with the implosion of the "indie" bubble and the rise of bad pop music to the fore. We didn't see it coming.
When will people finally realise that what they are listening to isn't actually good music?
Part of the problem, and my point about listening to older music, is that kids are getting into music younger and younger these days, and all they hear is sugar coated unthreatening pop music. How can they know popular music without having heard a proper range of it? Music these days was profoundly influenced by the groups I mentioned in my article, they shaped it and basically created the market. I'm not suggesting you should be made to listen to them before being allowed to buy music, but I am suggesting that anyone who fancies themselves a music fan is doing themselves a great dis-service by not understanding its heritage and where the music grew from.
Does Destiny's Child sound even a hundredth as revolutionary as Elvis or The Beatles did in their day? No. No they don't. No one had heard the like of Elvis or The Beatles back then, whereas Destiny's Child is a slightly more irate (and less listenable) version of TLC...
It is unreasonable to expect a revolution, but equally it is reasonable to expect people who like music to be able to understand and enjoy what is good.
Personally I dislike the current R&B people and pop people. Not just because a lot of what they do is rubbish (which it is), but also because they are destroying the basis of pop music. Pop music originally excited people, challenged them, it was a voice for youth and a cry for freedom. Now it's a voice for the industry and a cry for money.
I respect people who write their own music, I respect anyone who has the guts to put pen to paper and pour their feelings out for all to hear. But music today is written by commitee and lacks any real feeling or soul.
Yes certainly it's your prerogative to enjoy Steps and Destiny's Child, I also enjoy Steps in moderation. But I firmly feel that in order to truly appreciate where modern music has come from and, more importantly, how much we have lost, you need to be at least slightly familiar with its origins.
And once you've listened to "real" pop music, well today's anaemic shadows of it sound just that.
So what do I listen to? Well I have a massive record collection
And in all honesty hardly even 10% of it gets listened to regularly... But that 10% rotates by mood. I listen to singer-songwriters who are obviously doing more than humming words put into their mouth by executives, I listen to indie stuff (new and old) because it's where the exciting music lives, I listen to old records I've stolen from my parents, and I listen to Japanese pop music, because it's the only pop music which still gives me the buzz and the happy feeling that I'm meant to get from pop.
As for "Don't make music your first priority" as a suggestion. Well I think music should be a priority (not the first, that's obsession and stupid), but by music I mean music
not just today's rubbish.
When I said stop buying records, I wanted to suggest that people take the time to appreciate what's out there, not merely keep on buying piece of trash after piece of trash.
As for putting people out of business. Well it might put the useless bands out of business, but the music press has always catered for fans.
And UKmix isn't going anywhere
We're free, we work for free, it's a hobby thing (though I believe Lars and Aneta should be paid they do enough work on it). It's a labour of love, and it costs
money to run...
In the end the music press and its various associated bits and bobs exist to serve fans, not to drain our money. If these people can't support us then we owe them nothing.
I expect I've ruffled more feathers with this one. Ah well...