Tuesday, October 12, 2010

pop culture

Inventiveness, originality, subtlety, finesse are all words that I would be careful in using to describe the popular culture of today. Popular music is the easiest to criticise due to its fast decline in quality and so the one i'm going to write most about. Much of what I’m going to write though can be applied elsewhere in popular culture and not just to music. There is no denying that there are artists out there that really have something to say, and have a self-determined attitude and are challenging themselves. But these are often the same artists that are left on the sidelines. Only a few may break out big, and this may be often due to good timing, sugar coating their songs for public consumption, a TV/film tie in, or becoming tabloid fodder. To find the reasons why popular music is so lame would probably mean exploring the odd narrow-minded social norms of today which is too wide of a subject to write about here. Instead what we are left with is an irony-paralysed music that shows a startling lack of memorable and inventive tunes. Technically it is easy to see why since today’s music is written from the rhythmic track upwards, rather than that of music of the past which began from the melody/harmony idea. This often means that modern harmonic movements are predictable. But even some of the good artists of today work the same way so really it must be more of a concern with the obessive nature of technical skills that they can employ in the studio over that of expression. It seems expression has little or no place anymore; instead music is created like that of a product in a factory: mechanised and soulless. This doesn’t just apply to pop but to most popular genres of music including rap, which was once in the late 80s early 90s such an inventive, politically aware genre is now all but drowned in clichés and bad humour. But it is pop music that has most certainly taken the biggest plunge in quality, showing little surprise or originality in structure, metre or melody. There sadly doesn’t seem to be much of a remedy for this, and people don’t seem aware or caring enough to want a change. Reality TV is only a small part of the problem I’d say, people are always quick to criticise it but popular culture has been declining for many years, probably starting as far back as the 80s.

No comments:

Post a Comment