What Happened to Music?

Nathan Larios

Is it all bad now?

Music is and has been a huge part of everyone’s lives, No matter what country or time period someone is from, They have experienced music in someway; Music is everywhere. Music is one of the most subjective things in history, You could praise a song or a musician as a masterpiece, yet others may perfer the sound of nails on a chalkboard opposed to your taste. If it were illegal to have a different opinion than someone else on the topic of music then I would have received a life sentence a long time ago. I consider myself a music connoisseur, a tad bit of a music elitist. I’m guilty of holding grudges against people who don’t like my music or don’t understand it, It comes from a place of passion though; When someone is passionate about something they want to share it. I want everyone to avoid bad music since there are so many good forms of it out there; But modern media only portrays the bad kind, It seems like there is no more good music being created. My point is, did music get worse? Is it dead? 

Every generation has had its own wave of excellent and garbage music, The early 90’s had grudge music; It gets its name for a reason, It sounds like the word grudge (Rough and loud). Bands such as “Nirvana”, “Pearl Jam”, “SoundGarden”, etc. This was also a unique sound of music that originated from Seattle, It was also popularized and praised in Aberdeen which is the city where Kurt Cobain was from. 

In the latter years of the 90s we were greeted with notable pop songs and bands such as savage garden, backstreet boys, New kids on the block, etc. Although most of the boy bands from the 90s share similar sound they were polished and unique to each band.

 There was also a new wave of rock forming and breaking away from grunge. Their music was more unique and stylized , some of these bands that contributed to this time of breakthrough were, “The Smashing Pumpkins”, “Red Hot Chili Peppers”, “Weezer” Etc. 

My point in bringing up different 90’s bands is to illustrate that all of the bands I listed are categorized and good. Those bands, although none of them are in my favorites (Expect Savage Garden, great band), were at least good and have talent. In the 90’s and before, music required a lot of talent, only a very select few could create and master it in their own way. This means that the music that usually came out sounded good, was well thought out, and had some deep meaning that could give you the chills or give you something to relate to.

The music that the media pushes to the front stage isn’t about music. It’s about overproducing a catchy tune, Or showing off your money. What used to be an almost impossible challenge has just became about luck. There’s a lot of modern musicians who don’t even make their own music, They pay someone to make their beats, They pay people to write their lyrics, and they make an album within 45 minutes. Im talking about the rap trio Migos, They actually did that. Which is pathetic and insulting the music industry and every musicians who came before them. 

Modern music lacks a category, Its just noise a lot of times, Twenty one Pilots has marketed themselves as having no genre, They combine all the different sounds and category of modern music. One of the biggest categories of modern music, especially with kids and teens is hip hop or rap. I very much dislike rap, Its super disrecpetiful and just plain stupid, most of the time. There is usually no effort at all put into it, as we discussed with the rap trio Mingos. To make this even worse rappers take the money they make from these low effort songs and use it to rub it in their fans face and encourage horrible spending habits. Music has never served as a “role model” but it certainly was never this bad. Rap music has encouraged kids to act like thugs and selfish fools. But it’s worse offense is just sounding terrible. 

But is all rap terrible? No absolutely not. There are some rappers who have taken the style and used it to portray real life issues or mental troubles they face. They take their own spin on the style, Like when Kendrick made “To Pimp a Butterfly” where he incorporated black issues and jazz music to make my personal favorite album of the decade. Rappers like Kendrick Lamar, Denzul Curry, Vince Staples, Mac miller, Etc, They have taken art and added their own style and talent to it. They use rap as a platform to discuss their inner thoughts and concerns, They create their own beats to perfectly represent the themes and gives it a great sound. Flying Lotus is an artist who creates beats for popular rappers and has shown the world how good some beats can really sound when you produce them right and put your soul into it.  

But for every good rapper, You have 30 bad ones. Rappers like Post Malone, Lil Uzi, xxxtentation, Future, Drake, Etc, Make rap seem horrible and ruin the true potential it has. Go to spotify and listen to the “Rap Caviar” playlist and you will see just how bad the music they make is. I could spend hours explaining what’s wrong with the rap game and give my opinions on the matter, But I dont have the time so I will leave it at that. 

The “downfall” of music is also attuned to the downfall of rock, Rock and roll is dead. Almost nobody is making rock and roll music that bands of the past generations have made a staple in the music industry. The closest thing we have to rock is the extremely popular band Imagine Dragons, but although the media will label them rock don’t be fooled, They are the farthest thing to rock. Imagine Dragons is so generic and just bad. The only musicians the media recognize that make rock music is bands that are 20 to 30 years old, For example Queens of the Stone Age are still making rock music, But no new faces have proven themselves a worthy heir to the throne of rock and roll. 

The death of rock isn’t all bad though, Unless your a rock fan like me. The death of rock has created this spilt of not having a genre or a category. Music has kind of become an anarchy, anything goes, You can make any genre you want, you can even come up with your genre and still succeed. There is no longer a need to be a Rock band to be successful. Rap and Pop have became the two biggest contenders to replace rock but neither have. This has caused a lot of truly creative and imaginative music. Bands have proven that you don’t need Rock to sound good and be gather attention. Bands such as RadioHead started as Rock but took their own take on it and later made albums like “Kid A’ and “In Rainbows” Which are both masterpieces and use Electronica and pop elements. They proved to the world that being unique and not following the crowd can sound even better.

So to wrap this long article up, “Is all modern music bad?” No it isn’t all bad. Some of the most unique and interesting music has come from the 2010’s. We have so many new and unique artistts like Frank Ocean, Kayne West, Fleet Foxes, Tame Impala, etc. Music like this coexisting at the same time is incredible. Lots of music from the past has followed a theme of whatever genre or band was doing the best, But now there are a ton of artist creating their own sound and showing what it means to be one of a kind. The media only pushes the awful lack luster music forward, bands and artist that dont deserve any credit are the ones who always get it, But if you dive deep enough you can find wonderful artist that can take you on a journey. Women have finally found music to express themselves too. We finally have some good role models for young girls. The media will push women creators who use their bodies to sell records rather than their music, But we finally have some women to step up to the role. They make good music and prove to the music industry that you can be a woman and create great music and not rely on your body. Creators like Lorde, Billie Eilish, Lana del Rey, are doing something amazing and deserve more praise for making great music and being a great role model. With so much creative freedom in modern music it’s exciting to see what comes next, Music is far from dead and I have high hopes for 2020 and the amazing music/artists that are to come.