11 Reasons Music Sucks Now More Than Ever
In preparation for this article I listened to the new Selena Gomez album and to my astonishment, I only slit my wrists three times. That said, I understand there are super cool underground bands out there that I don’t know about since I’m not a hipster, but I only seek to focus on what violates my ears every waking minute of the day on radio, on TV and in bars. By no means am I saying good music doesn’t exist, though.
These are just a few reasons you’re not alone if you think modern popular music sucks a big fat one.
1. Music (you are allowed to hear) has so much money behind it, it MUST succeed to turn a profit.
It’s been scientifically proven that repeated exposure to a song makes you like it more. Record companies literally pummel it into your brain until you’re OK with it. Radio stations are playing fewer songs than ever because once corporations invest in an artist’s song, they peddle the shit out of it until it’s playing on repeat in your tortured noggin.
We are being held captive by crappy music. Mike Rugnetta of PBS says it’s “akin to musical Stockholm syndrome.” And we all remember being held down and force-fed “Blurred Lines” and “Fancy” recently.
2. The most popular song in music history is “Gangnam Style.”
It has more than 2.4 billion views on YouTube. Quality has become irrelevant. Only an artist’s image or sociopolitical persuasion holds water. For example, Rihanna has had 13 No. 1 hit singles on the Billboard Top 100 and Led Zeppelin never had one; the cast of “Glee” has had more chart-toppers than the Beatles. (This may or may not be due to declining IQ over the past century.)
3. Yesterday’s artists used to ‘rage against the machine’; now, they ARE the machine.
Pink Floyd told the Man to “leave those kids alone.” Beyonce wants to be the Man and ban words. Everything is safe and easily digestible — like baby food. No one expresses what’s in their heart anymore; they only want to make it to the charts, which inevitably leads to stale, superficial tracks that are “in” one week and “out” the next.
4. Music corporations literally hate you.
Tony Bennett said in 2014, “The corporations took it over and they want to make so much money that they don’t care whether the public likes it or not…they think the public is ignorant, so their attitude is, ‘Don’t give them anything intelligent, because it won’t sell.'”
5. Truffle butter sells.
Sex sold well for a while, but today’s artists have taken it a step further. For those of you who aren’t in “the know,” truffle butter is feces that accumulates on your penis after you pull out during anal sex. It was also the name of Nicki Minaj‘s most popular song this year.
Nicki, for the sake of all that is holy, please take your starship to Mars and make like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s eyes in “Total Recall.” You’re the reason an artist’s music only matters if they have recently posted a picture of their butthole on Instagram.
6. Focus groups rule the artist.
The industry is infested with noncreative types making creative decisions on behalf of the artist. Beyonce’s “Run the World (Girls)” took six writers and four producers; “Bohemian Rhapsody” took one man. A team of nobodies wrote Britney Spears’ “Toxic.” One man, Rivers Cuomo, composed Weezer’s music for 20 years and maintained the band’s integrity. Look at TV and film if you want another reason to hate focus groups.
7. The Billboard 100 is full of idiots, morons and losers.
Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Macklemore, One Direction, Skrillex, Nick Jonas, Chris Brown, Meghan Trainor. All of them are on the list. Maybe I’m going through a bad phase of Grampa Simpson, but I see a problem of apocalyptic proportions with this.
Why not call it what it is? Stealing. Jay Z just settled in court after getting caught ripping off some Egyptian crooner to make 1999’s “Big Pimpin.” He threw money at the problem (money he made after “Big Pimpin” catapulted him to superstardom) and won. This is just one example in a literal New Wave of preferring laziness and theft to actually giving a shit.
9. Rock has been castrated.
In 2015, such softies as Fun., Ed Sheeran, Coldplay and Maroon 5 topped the charts. In 1997, we had The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Sugar Ray, Everclear, Third Eye Blind and The Wallflowers. Something changed (though one can argue rock in general has been progressively neutered since the 1960s).
On a side note, could you imagine Pamela Anderson and Fun’s Nate Ruess banging on a yacht? Me neither.
10. Critics are vilified as “haters.”
As we all know, being a “hater” in today’s society is the gravest sin. I’m sorry, but when did it become trendy to call someone with a different opinion a hater? I’m not a hater, I just hate you. You’re terrible.
11. Science backs me up, so eat me.
Since 1955, music has become utterly homogenous. Variety is gone. According to Scientific American, “Musicians today seem to be less adventurous in moving from one chord or note to another, instead following the paths well-trod by their predecessors and contemporaries.”
Everything’s the same, and everything sucks.