Staff Editorial: Finding the day the music died


In the 1960’s we had the Doors, the Beatles, and Janis Joplin. During the 70’s there was Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd and then The Dire Straits, Talking Heads and Metallica of the 80’s. In the 90’s it seemed the only good music to come out of it was the Cranberries, Massive Attack and the godfathers of grunge, Nirvana, which to some music connoisseurs was “the day the music died.”

Most wouldn’t go that far, but as time passed and the new technologies and people’s states of mind began to shift, one would think the music of the late 90’s and 2000’s would surpass everything and bring something new and extraordinary. When hip-hop started to become popular in the early 90’s with Ice Cube and A Tribe Called Quest and then Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G., the music industry saw something new and different. Maybe it was a little risky, but it was listenable, artsy and had something to say. Following the deaths of Kurt Cobain, Tupac and Biggie, no one quite knew what happened and what came over the music industry, or what didn’t, and as we got closer to 2000, music was mostly unoriginal, redundant and elementary.

This doesn’t mean that all music that came out then and is coming out now is bad and lacks quality. There is still real great music and inventions in the industry that bring some amazing sounds and genres to life, but they are few and far between. At the same time, the quality of our beloved genres, rock and hip-hop, have dropped drastically. So much that just about every hip-hop song out there is about girls’ butts and booty shakes, and as far as rock goes, sometimes all you hear is loud noise and screams. Some bands like Metallica and Ozzy Osbourne are getting too old and don’t have the energy to be like their youth, but they have managed to stay on the radar for three decades.

The way music is being produced today, bands can only manage a few years on top, then you don’t hear their names any more unless they turn to actors or TV hosts.

Social networks allow musicians, amazing or horrible, at a rapid rate, to announce their involvement in the industry. Before, it was MTV or an album at Amoeba that officially dubbed a person or group as respectable musicians, but the social networks have homogenized the market. It certainly isn’t helping to distinguish the rare talent that strums in the night.

It’s clear with the arrival of Rock Band and Guitar Hero even grandmas and grandpas can feel like musicians. And for kids, these games hinder their ambitions to excel on a real guitar or drum set. These games are becoming their source of education and understanding of music. So, why would they go and learn how to play guitar or drums when all they have to do is push a button to become a guitar hero?

Maybe it’s just the way society works; as time goes by different things become popular. Maybe in 10 years punk rock or boy bands like the Backstreet Boys and ‘N Sync won’t exist anymore, and meaningful, moving music will come alive and create another musical renaissance. Music is an art that can make or break our feelings, bring peace and joy to us, help us meditate and understand our culture better.

This understanding won’t occur while banging on toy drum sets, singing about bootylicious hos or screaming our lungs out for five minutes.