Image-based ideals spoil the sound waves

By Staff Writer
October 20, 2006

I find myself wondering, “What has happened to music and the music industry over the course of the last thirty years?” Where are all the bands and movements of music that are relevant and have the fire and brimstone these days? The answer is none, not at least the ones that can be heard on regular FM radio or seen on MTV and VH1.

The sad thing about music today is that it is totally image-based, with many of the musicians strolling into the studio with ideas and having a producer or team of producers write the actual tune. The best part is the shamelessness of it.

You can watch episodes of the hit VH1 reality show “Hogan Knows Best” when you see his daughter Brooke trying to decide which musical avenue to go down, and then going in to record with rough ideas while a couple producers sit around and write the tunes. One of those producers is the one who signed her, Scott Storch.

Storch is more of an “artist” then the ones he produces. He is a fine example of someone who can rake in Grammy nominations and tons of loot for no-talent clowns like Paris Hilton or any ubiquitous rapper who rolls into the studio with a suitcase full of cash looking for some beats to be made for them.

Storch prefers to make his own music for these artists, rather than sampling. He plays keyboards, piano, clav0inet, violin and bagpipes.

Another big example is the Matrix production team. They have created hits for artists such as Nick Lachey, Ashley Simpson, Hilary Duff, Avril Lavigne, Britney Spears, Shakira and that guy named Ashley Parker Angel who had a short-lived reality show on MTV. I noticed a trend when looking at those artists: it’s all watered-down, third-rate swill!

On the topic of image being everything, I was asked to review a CD by a new band from London called “Towers of London.” There was a sticker on the front from the record label saying that they were a combination of Motley Crue and the Sex Pistols.

I thought this would be good because I love the Sex Pistols. Sure, they had the Crue look, but their sound was nothing like the Pistols or Motley Crue.

That seems to be the case with a lot of bands these days. As long as the image is down, you can choose to tell someone whatever you want to tell them you sound like. It’s a swindle; a big smoke and mirrors trick.

I don’t want to turn on my radio and hear some whiny, emo crap or pop-punkers like Good Charlotte talking about how the rich and the famous live. What happened to the real energy that bands used to have?

Back in the 70’s, a movement occurred in the UK that is now referred to as “Punk.”

Bands such as the Sex Pistols, The Clash, Subway Sect and the Adverts were born out of their anger for the British Government and the unemployment rate. Shortly thereafter, back in the states, bands like Dead Kennedys, X, Circle Jerks and Fear were formed out of anger of the way Reagan-era America was going.

That was good stuff, as well as other movements of music that came from passion and creativity, not the need to simply get famous. That was not even a consideration on the above bands parts.

I am perfectly content with the things I listen to, waiting for the next big thing to come around, but I feel that I will be waiting around quite a while for something significant.

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