Sunday, January 4, 2009

Music today is terrible, a genre by genre explanation

Continuing my trend of music related rants, I’m going to talk about something I’ve tried to tackle in the past, but have never gotten very far before I scrapped it. But I’m here and I’m going to run down genre by genre why approximately 94% of music is terrible.

Pop music
Pop music is the scourge of modern music, the most shallow form of music in existence. It usually has nothing interesting, instead relying completely on vocal melodies, it contains clichéd lyrics about the same topic in every song. It also has infected everything else. It doesn’t exist for the art of music but purely to make money off people who have no taste and don’t understand that a computer going beep and a fake drum machine with the word love said every other line, with obvious melodies and nothing else barely qualifies as music.

Rock Music (and its subgenres)
After the mid 90s rock music started sucking, yes, the 80s had its share of terrible music but bands such as Nickelback, and Creed, released albums, they were complete rip-offs of earlier and far better bands, using the same "riffs" (seriously, Creeds "Torn" and "My Own Prison" are almost the exact same thing) over and over. Let me tell you the formula for everything. Quiet, with approximately 3 note variety, then the heavy guitars kick in, play 3 plodding notes and create back ground noise, rinse and repeat. It just sucks, theirs no creativity or originality. Seriously, every single thing i hear is a rip off of some early 90s band that is far better than they could ever hope to be. Then theirs Nu-Metal. Nu-Metal is a joke, its stupid, uninspired lyrics written by bands trying to sound angsty for the purpose of selling their albums to moronic teenagers. Unfortunately it works. The guitar is so detuned it isn’t funny, and the riffs are so simple. Fingers go up the neck, fingers go down the neck. Half the bands just grunt like a constipated bear most of the time and barely sing. That’s it, nu-metal is terrible. I blame all this somewhat on pop music for watering everything down for the mainstream to almost nothing. Really, the way i trace this, is after Nirvana broke up, record companies had to fill the gap. What did they do? They got bands that tried to imitate them as closely as possible. Nickelback started out this way. Listen to their first album (Curb) to hear what I’m talking about. After these bands became successful the record companies realized the answer to their problems. They could just tell people what to listen to and they'd buy it. This goes for all music in general. Part of the problem is idiotic 13 year olds that buy this stuff who don’t know what their talking about. Greenday is not punk. Avril Lavigne is definitely not punk. Slipknot is not metal (not good metal anyway, nu metal) Taylor swift and Carrie Underwood are not country music, but I'll cover this in the next section. The point is, the record companies realized anything can be sold to people if you pay radio stations to play it alot and drill it into their head so they think it’s popular, no matter how bad it really is. That’s how it works now. It’s terrible. Turning out the same music over and over and over for the purpose of making money off people with no music taste. There was also the "post-Punk" revival thing. Which sucked as well. I can safely guess that this too was created by the record companies. When I hear it on the pop station then it probably is. The Killers are not "post-punk", I heard them all over the pop station. The Joy Division is "post-punk” but chances are, you've never heard of them. The sad state of rock music in the current day is unbelievable. A minimal riff with a generically catchy melody is all people want now. Moving on to metal. Yes, "glam metal" in the 80s was sort of poppish and was really over the top with lyrics and wore stupid outfits. But it wasn’t really that bad. I’m not as biased towards it as some who grew up in the early to mid 90s might be. 80s bands are really starting to get popular again. Why, I don’t know, possibly guitar hero, I consider guitar hero a mixed blessing to music, but that’s for another post. I don’t really have a problem with them. One thing about metal is all the fights on the internet about who was better, usually these center around Metallica vs megadeth vs slayer vs anthrax. It’s stupid. Their all good in their own way, people can’t seem to agree on that for some reason. But since I mentioned it, why don’t I give my own opinions on these bands. I'll start with Metallica since I’m most familiar with them. In defense of Metallica, I’m tired of 13 year olds who hate them because they "sold out". Just because they changed their sound doesn’t mean they sold out. I love the stuff they did in the 80s, they did change their sound in the 90s. Why? I figure that after ...And Justice For All, and its ridiculous amounts progressiveness, they decided to go more back to the basics, simple structure, 1 riff per song, two maximum, 5 minute songs. You cant blame them, its got to be hard to play full sets of 8 and 9 minute songs that technical. But this lead to the album known as "The Black Album". It made them mainstream. People who had never heard of this band before were now fans. But at the same time they were pulling in MTV viewers and casual music listeners, they alienated some of their older more loyal fans. Now, at this point they would have probably become mainstream anyway, but would they have become so popular and sell 15 million copies? Probably not. The songs on that album were simpler and more mainstream but they were not sellouts. A sellout is a formerly creative band becoming generic and uninteresting. Merely changing your sound does not make you a sellout. And honestly, did people really expect them to play this aggressive thrash metal their whole lives? Seriously, eventually, it'd become stale. Besides as great as that was, they've started to move back to that. If you'll notice Death Magnetic has the old Ride The Lightning template. The thing that keeps them from achieving their old sound completely, is that theirs too many funky-bluesy-bendy note Load style riffs. That and the extreme over compression that just ruins it almost. really, go to YouTube, listen to the guitar hero versions of the tracks and listen to them in high quality, amazing, you can hear things that you cant actually hear on the album its so compressed. But "The Black Album" is not that bad, its still metal. And their still good songs. But from their they went in all sorts of directions. But I’m not going to comment on the Load and Reload albums because I’ve only heard 1 song from each of those. And yes, Even though I’ve only heard 2 songs, St.Anger is terrible. Megadeth is not that good in my opinion, their fans are ridiculous. Dave Mustaine can’t sing well, and just because some of his songs are more technical than Metallica’s doesn’t mean anything. Just because it’s more technical doesn’t mean it’s automatically good. He got kicked of Metallica because he was an alcoholic druggie that would have taken the whole band down with him. Anthrax is alright, I don’t have any albums but they sound fine, and they did that thing with public enemy so theirs that. But I'm getting off-topic, nu-metal is not metal, it’s a joke, the good news is that thrash metal is getting popular again. Theirs alot of new bands coming out that you've probably never heard of unless you look for them. But anyway, on to country music

Country Music
Country Music used to be good, until pop music infected it. Carrie Underwood is fake, obviously studio altered, with clichéd lyrics and back ground music. To be honest, she’s more of a pop singer. Take away the acoustic guitar or fiddle or whatever and put in a synthesizer or something and you'd have a perfect pop song but no, you have to market this as country. Why? it sells better. That way you can pull in older people who would have never listened to something with the pop tag on it. Same for Taylor Swift. Their not country. I don’t care how many times you want to try and defend them, their just not. Just because you put an acoustic guitar in a pop song does not mean it’s a country song. Another thing about country music is that it’s so whiny now. I can’t stand the whininess of Tim McGraw or Keith Urban or anything else. Oh, my wife left me, family...nostalgia...and a bunch of drivel designed to make it sound more intelligent than pop music, when if you listen to the lyrics it contains the same themes. Half the songs are about love or something related to that. Whatever happened to sounds of Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, or David Allen Coe? Did they just disappear? Another thing, how come country stations never play older country. It’s the same top 40 songs over and over and over. Sound familiar? But if you want older country on the radio, the best advice I can give you is that if you get radio from anywhere near St. Louis, 98.5 plays older country sometimes. Sometimes in a row. They have a very powerful signal that goes down to the Arkansas border I hear. But that’s your best bet as far as I know. The sounds of older country still exist underground though. Ever hear of Hank Williams III? Probably not. You won’t hear him on the radio. Its not that he’s not popular, he’s got a large following in the underground, he plays older country, and punk rock and metal. He does alot. But there is him and other like him if you look hard enough. But seriously, why have we never heard of a "classic country" station? There’s all kinds of classic rock stations, why not classic country? I’ve never heard of it, but I should.

Rap Music
Now, I’m not someone who bashes rap music just because its rap music. Rap music has a short shelf life anyway. But rap music is terrible now. I’m not very familiar with rap music but i know it never used to be this way. There used to be rap artists who were better than some rock bands in their day. For a few albums Public Enemy was very good and surpassed even many rock bands at their peak. Plus they did that song with Anthrax. They didn’t write songs about the ghetto or life on the street or bling-bling. They wrote songs about political and social issues and they did it very well. And though I’ve never heard any of their songs, I’ve heard earlier NWA was really good even though they were gangsta rap. Which apparently ran its course 2 years after Staight Outta Compton according to Brads Completely Useless record reviews. But not all rap is bad, just the commercialized garbage that’s thrown out now.

That about covers it. Later

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