From as far back as I can remember, music has played such a significant role in my life. From the time I was about three, I was humming along to the tunes of Anne Murray, Bob Dylan, Abba, The Eagles, Eric Clapton, Boney M, Allan Jackson and Dolly Parton. As I grew up I learnt to appreciate melodies, the stories that played out as the songs stretched out, the rhythms and the sheer beauty of the creations.
For most people, music plays a social role. They like music when they’re young because it’s something they share with their friends, or because identifying with a particular type of music (and the fashion that goes with it) helps them to define who they are. When they get older, music becomes nostalgia, and they’ll keep listening to the same kind of music in order to relive the memories of being young and sharing that music with their friends and loved ones.
A change in one’s taste in music is only natural. We each go through phases where we experiment with different genres, different sounds and different artists. We seek new sensations and that’s fine, really. Stagnation I think would be terrible. However, my concern is that some of the most popular music today is built on commerce and clichés. It lacks soul! Let me give you an example. The song ‘Party in the USA’ by Miley Cyrus is an upbeat, teenybopper song that went straight to the top of the Billboard charts. While the song was very popular, it was also simplistic and did little to stir one’s emotions. Does it have staying power like say songs by Alicia Keys or Norah Jones or Joss Stone? Absolutely not!
Music is indefinable by words. It’s an outburst of the soul. It is not only something you hear but what you feel. It is something your soul can reach out and touch. And eventhough it originates from all over the world, the feelings it can evoke are the same no matter where you are on the globe.
So what has gone wrong with the music business? People will argue that more people are listening to music than ever before and through many more media than ever before. And they’re right; the music industry is a booming business. However, a lot of the music that comes out of it is, all show and no soul. It lacks heart. It lacks passion and does nothing to tug at ones emotions. It’s fast becoming about making something that you can just record, manufacture onto a CD and sell. That’s just how I feel.
I know that when I like a song, it’s mostly because some part of it sticks with me after I’ve heard it. And, part of this, is that it does something new, or it does something old with particular force and conviction. I can like something for being over-the-top and peppy in a pitch-perfect way or just being something I can relate to. The only thing is that there has to be something there.
There are different things to like about different types of music. I adore country music because the lyrics are so meaningful and can be identified with so easily. I do not like the music of Miley Cyrus because I find her computerized voice kind of annoying and her public persona even more so.
Don’t over think this too much, all I’m saying I this – the joy of music is that you can let it take you wherever you want to go. No matter what your taste is, music is your own experience. For me however, it’s been a while since I last heard a song that made me sit up in my seat or gave me wild goose bumps. You may have had a different experience. But you see, that is the beauty of artistic expression- people can continue to have whatever opinions they like. Love it or loathe it but, as music evolves it will continue to be a significant part of our culture and our lives and it will keep garnering varied opinions.