When I was younger I used to look at my parents, uncles and aunts as archaic people, living in the past, conforming to antiquated values. From the music they listened to, to the food they ate, I always figured that they were from another generation and that’s why I couldn’t understand them. The reason why I am speaking of this is simply because I feel exactly the same way of today’s music. Indeed, many of my friends as well as I, always find ourselves listening to old school 1987 – 1995 music more than the music that is coming out today. Whether its some “Ain’t no half stepping” by Big Daddy Kane, “Finally” by CeCe Peniston or even “She drives me crazy” by Fine Young Cannibals, music from that era seems to give me a feeling that today’s music cannot provide. Why is that? I tried to answer my own question.
To begin I started by defining the word “music” and what it meant to me.
Music is a form of art through which an artist expresses his personality, ideas and most importantly, communicates a message. Music is a form of art through which an artist attempts to tingle the soul of his listeners by stimulating their deepest emotions. Music is rhythm. Music is everywhere. Music is life.
It is obvious, most music has no message anymore and even if it does, the messages are contradictory or phrased in a way that only a few can understand. In addition, most artists indicate that what they speak about in their music are lies and “bull” (e.g. cash, money, hoes and drug sells) because they know that’s what attracts more customers. However, rather than saying it directly they will use the famous quote “It is only entertainment!”. And many artists (if I can still call them that) as well as music listeners will agree with this idea that music is “only” entertainment simply because that’s what they have been misled to believe. This idea of music being entertainment is exactly what has caused music to lose its whole artistic edge and many of its embedded attributes. Art communicates a message and works the mind whereas entertainment is often mindless, message-less and meant to dazzle the senses artificially. Chuck D, from the once popular rap duo Public Enemy, suggested that rap music had become what it was initially going against, referring to the capitalistic principles that have corrupted the now mostly message-less and ignorant art form; and when I hear many of today’s artists I must agree with him. Music is art and art is not entertainment simply because art has a much deeper meaning than entertainment. Even though art should always have some “entertainment value”, this value should not undermine the quality of the art. The music artist of yesterday seems to have understood that concept whereas the music artist of today seems to have forgotten it; I strongly suspect and believe that this is why I do not get that old feeling I used to get every time I listened to “My Philosophy” by Boogie Down Productions or woke up to “Janie’s got a Gun” by Aerosmith. Yesterday’s music was from the heart and soul and passed a message whereas today’s music is from the mind and carefully marketed to generate sales.
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