02 February 2005

Radio killed the pop star

I thought it was about time I check back into mainstream society by listening to what's playing on the radio these days. (Take a wild guess whether this will be a rant or rave.)

Just listening for an hour made me remember why I decided to step into my (admittedly semi-pretentious) NPR bubble. So many of the songs and artists sounded the same...the same over-produced quality, the same uninspired lyrics. Blah. Then there are all the different groupings of artists meant to represent various personas: the angsty girl who is disgruntledly singing to the guy who jilted her, yet still maintains a tune that you can easily sing along to (Kelly Clarkson, Avril, let's put Ashlee here too-an aside: have you ever actually listened to the lyrics of "Lala?" it's obscene); the ensemble of thugs whose Kevlar vests that used to protect them from bullets now shield against a broken heart (or maybe some chick in the club who catches him getting busy w/ some other chick); the sensitive guys (band or solo) who seem to be singing for the sole purpose getting other girls to think they're sensitive and "deep;" the divas who actually have good voices but end up sounding just awful in their attempts to sound hot and sassy or just simply outdo one another in vocal gymnastics . And then there are just the no-talents w/ good producers (okay, I love Ciara's "Goodies," but she just doesn't have anything in the jar at all in terms of talent). Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention Nelly b/c I don't know what genre he falls into. Probably just the general "craptastic" category. All of this garbage just blends into one big blob of blah.

I guess that music's been going down this degenerative spiral ever since the Pop Machine came out of nowhere circa 1997 and the advent of Britney. But don't these things go through cycles? We're due for a renaissance in pop music sometime soon! I want to hear music on the radio that elicits a visceral reaction in me...whether that's to start singing at the top of my lungs, to burst into tears, or to bust a move by myself in my room. The only reaction I have is to mindlessly sing along and then shut the radio off after an hour b/c they're playing the same 15 awful songs AGAIN. Don't get me wrong, I know that there is good popular music out there...you're just not very likely to hear it on the radio (is that a paradox?).

Maybe I'm just getting old...sigh, I miss the good ol' days of B96.


Elaine said...

I think the superflousness of shitty music has to do especially with the marekting machines that are the music recording divisions of the conglomerate corporations that own them. The conglomerates are always looking for the most easy growth formula, and they've decided that mass marketing carbon copied, formulaic artists is the way to go. It's amazing the way the record companies and the radio stations work in concert to promote the Next Big Piece of Shit Song. To think that there was a time such as in the early 1970s when people, living in the midst of a war and economic uncertainties as we are, were treated to pop songs that spoke to these issues. Nowadays, people tune social problems out, and the music industry seems most happy to (or perhaps intent on) facilitate.
Sorry, I got lost in that rant. You have brought up a good, sore subject of mine. However, the good news is that CD sales have been going down, so people aren't buying that overpriced piece of crap CD for one popular song that is overplayed enough on the radio anyway as much as they used to.

Steph said...

You raised some great points, Elaine! It's really sad how little our music today reflects the political/social climate. If an anthropologist looked back on our songs to get an idea at what our culture is like, he/she'd conclude that we're a bunch of materialistic, sex-crazed fiends. Oh wait, we are! And don't forget the contributions ClearChannel has made in supporting a vacuous music industry. Once again, damm the man!