I can see how flipping on the radio and only hearing artists like Ke$ha can leave you discouraged. But I do have to disagree with what my colleague Amber Garratt wrote earlier this week — modern music is just as great as music has ever been.
Classic rock radio stations are not exactly the equivalent of travelling back a few decades and turning on the radio. The bands that survive to be classified as “classic rock” are the bands that were good enough to transcend decades.
And it’s not as if all surviving music is meaningful or masterful. I don’t think there is any deep significance to the idea of wanting to “rock and roll all night and party every day.”
Plus — as catchy, classic and groundbreaking as they may be — a good portion of The Beatles’ musical library is comprised of simple, poppy, love songs, not dissimilar to what we hear today.
“But,” you may be thinking to yourself, “The Beatles had oceans of talent compared to the puddles of auto-tuned garbage water that leaks out of the radio today.”
Well, yes. Obviously. But popular radio is basically made up of what 12-year-old girls want to listen to at their Much Music Video Dances. And, regardless of how you feel about this, preteens like auto-tuned songs full of innuendo that they’ll only understand after bitter years of high school.
Judging an entire era of music based only on what is played on the radio is criminal. Plenty of bands that have achieved popularity over the past decade will achieve timelessness. On this, I am willing to bet most of my future children.
Arcade Fire, Modest Mouse, Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead are examples of bands that are undeniably talented and will continue to be listened to long after Ke$ha dies of a cough syrup overdose.
As technology has progressed, we’ve seen the introduction of electronic music — genres that didn’t even exist back when John Bonham was drinking vodka for breakfast. Daft Punk may not shred guitars and protest the Vietnam War, but that doesn’t mean 30 years down the road they’ll be considered pop-garbage.
Most “classic” music that we still hear today is good, but that sort of goes without saying — the crap of that era was forgotten with time.
Radio today is saturated with catchy, shallow choruses and uninspired lyrics, but this definitely is not an accurate gauge of what our generation will be remembered for.
When all is said and done, turn-of-the-millennium music will be remembered for being innovative and creative, while Ke$ha will be considered only a brief stain on our musical sheets.