Music now lacks substance, great talent
In 1965, The Rolling Stones came out with “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” The Beatles annihilated the Billboard charts with “I Feel Fine” and “Yesterday,” and the classic “I Got You Babe” by Sonny and Cher climbed the charts. Hit after hit, classic rock and revolutionary artists dominated popular music in this decade.
Since this time of musical glory, chart-topping songs seem to be lacking in substance but abundance in explicit language.
According to the Huffington Post, “it doesn’t take a scientist to suspect that pop music’s lyrics have become increasingly sexual, with a majority of number one hits becoming almost nonsensical once they’re censored down to radio-friendly levels.”
This change in music lyrics has had effects on young generations and our society as a whole. Music lyrics today makes it seem OK for people to use foul language because it’s what they’re exposed to.
Based on research from the American Academy of Pediatrics, “lyrics have become more explicit in their references to drugs, sex and violence over the years, particularly in certain genres. A teenager’s preference for certain types of music could be correlated or associated with certain behaviors.”
“Lyrics now reflect more on actions rather than emotions, which has a negative aspect on our society,” said music Major Mike Ross. “The music industry lacks diversity, and many songs today have a pattern of being repetitive.”
Fifty years ago, the lyrics from the top hits were more expressive, using words such as sad, happy, heart, home and smile. It seems that it has become easier for artists to express themselves through acts of violence and sex rather than use emotions and speech.
It’s important for young people to know how to express their thoughts and feelings in positive ways. According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, adolescents is greatly affected by what they listen to, with their music preference providing them with the means to “achieve group identity and integration into the youth culture.”
“Before, music was targeting a broader audience. Now the music industry focuses on a more specific audience in order to prosper,” Ross said.
Media outlets target an audience with each station and channel. This concept, known as demassification, has been consuming our society since the industrial revolution.
The majority of popular music today has lost a true purpose to express ideas and share stories. It has become an industry with one goal — to make money.
Because music labels and retailers gain more money than recording artists, it is not a surprise that this industry has become more of a capitalist corporation.
Musicians have stopped doing what they love because it’s not as easy to make music and money simultaneously anymore. There are many small-town artists that never make it because of the way the industry is.
Technology has also played a major role in the type of music heard on the radio today. Less instruments and more electronic music has been seen throughout the decade.
According to an article in The New Yorker, “Ninety-nine years ago, John Philip Sousa predicted that recordings would lead to the demise of music.”
“Something is irretrievably lost when we are no longer in the presence of bodies making music,” Sousa said. “The nightingale’s song is delightful because the nightingale herself gives it forth.”
“Musicians” don’t need to learn music anymore to make it; they don’t need to write their lyrics or even play an instrument. Now it’s more about the performance and how they can make money.
It’s important to listen to and learn about old music and respect the history of how music today came to be. Music will continue to evolve just as society does.
And while we cannot change the way music is, we can change the way we look at music. Supporting local artists and revealing unique tunes to friends and family is a way to start.
Society is already tainted with foul language and sexual music, but there are still artists and musicians that believe in playing instruments and powerful lyrics.
Opinion columnist Rebekah Barquero is a print journalism sophomore and may be reached at [email protected]