Is It Because I’m Getting Old or Is Music Just Really Bad These Days?
Everything just seems so mass-produced and disconnected and nobody plays instruments anymore. Love songs have been replaced with singing one’s own praises about making lovers Wet The Bed. Rappers, who once made good livings at their government jobs with full benefits, are now pretending to be the biggest drug smugglers in the world. (Hello Rick Ross) And then there is Dubstep. Holy Hell. What is that? The point is if we take away all the technology, synthesizers and other ‘studio magic’, most of today’s music has nothing on the true artists of the past. At least that’s what we all like to believe.
It’s easy to just write off today’s music as garbage. Hell I have to fight the temptation off myself. But then its not like all of our music back in the day was as complex and thoughtful as we imagined. Maybe it’s age or a case of selective memories but there is little we can do to justify dancing to Akinyele’s “Put it in Your Mouth” or Sasha’s “Kill the [Beyotch].” Likewise, when H-Town sung Knocking Boots, they weren’t just talking about best practices for removing snow stuck to the bottom of your shoe. And what could we say for Luther Campbell and all the drug dealing/gang banging music we absorbed through our collective conscious mind? If we are honest with ourselves, we hate “today’s music” for the same exact reason our parents hated the music we listened to. And probably for the same reason our grandparents hated the music our parents listen too. We are getting old.
Sure we were good at justifying it because those songs were a big part of our life at the time. It was played in the background as we socialized, it kept us company when we were on punishment and more importantly, it allowed us to rebel without actually doing it. But to our parents, it was loud, obnoxious and was the reason why they thought our generation had no respect.
In some cases they were right but for the most part, we turned out fine. Most of us have jobs, some of us have educations and many of us try to be good parents. And like us, the younger generation will someday follow in our boring footpaths. So what this generation has Nicki Minaj? Oh well. We had our fun with Kim and Foxy, our parents had Millie Jackson and our grandmas had Lucille Bogan. And if you think Kim, Minaj or Jackson were nasty, you haven’t heard anything until you check out Bogan.
And not to be totally flippant of today’s music as there are some great acts out there – you just have to search a little harder to find them. And just the other day, as I was getting dressed for work, I caught myself humming the lyrics (at least the ones that I know) to Rick Ross’ Hustlin.’ No it’s not the most positive song but it is good motivation when I’m trying to amp myself up to face another long day at the 9 to 5.
Charing Ball is the author of the blog People, Places & Things.