Lessons in Music History; How Does the Backlash Against Disco Compare Against the Backlash Against Pop Music?

In 1979 at Comiskey Park in Chicago Illinois a radio DJ held a Disco Demolition Night, in which disco records were blown up after a game between the Detroit Tigers and the Chicago White Sox. During the late nineties radio DJs across America began to lament the way in which rap music changed. The disc jockey that held the demolition night put his money where his mouth is and was able to affect change; he was the Jay-Z of his era, as people had already had it with disco music and he was able to tap into the consciousness of that time. Just as is typically the case when Jay-Z declares that a trend is over, within 6 months disco completely dropped off of the charts and went underground.

Some would argue that disco just reinvented itself as house music, and that the infamous clubs, their hedonism and all of the drugs that followed just showed up at raves. While that is true it is completely besides the point. Disco disappeared from the mainstream; part of the backlash was racist, because your average disco artist was Black, or homosexual, or both, part of the backlash was artistic, because disco was pop music from the pits of hell. On one hand, disco employed a lot of Black artists that never would have been recognized in the mainstream and made a lot of money for producers and singers. Disco was the hip-hop of its day.

On the other hand these artists never talked about anything that even remotely had any substance, always promoted hedonism, and intentionally set out to make mindless drones of their fans. You have to admit, when drug dealers, club owners, record producers and singers are making a lot of money hand over fist times are good for someone. In fact any time that people lose all political consciousness and just want to escape their problems; someone is making money somewhere. At the time people wanted real music, they wanted realism and they wanted to deal with life as it truly is.

But that is not was happened. Music was not “real” again until the late nineties. People wanted to raise their level of consciousness, and they started asking questions. The only thing that changed in the eighties were the artists; both Black and White artists put out music with beats and concepts that were aggressive to a point where disco seemed tame. People bought millions of records and money was made hand over fist, again. The drugs returned, the partying returned, and the hedonism returned. On top of all of this music became more spiritual, and what we now like to attribute to the Illuminati became the norm in music.

Rock artists waged a successful campaign to get rid of the popular music of the day, and they were successful. But the same institutions that stood up on their behalf turned against them. Rock itself lost its purity, its authenticity, and became known for lavish parties and throwing money around, just like hip-hop would 15 years later. People grew weary of rock and its excesses, and traded it in for the minimalist sound of hip-hop. Rock artists again waged a campaign, but they were unsuccessful this time around, because a lot of rock artists were jumping on the hip-hop train.

But hip-hop ended up turning into its own worst enemy. It started off good, but people saw how much money could be made and it all changed. Gangsta rap, which many attribute to the end of the golden era of hip-hop, started off asking questions and was very conscious. But then Tupac died, and his brand of gangsta rap was replaced by one that was less conscious, less politically active, and more hedonistic. Rappers claimed to be working in the spirit of Tupac, but the only thing they had to offer that was even remotely similar were the confrontations that he had with other artists. Tupac never went after anyone for the sake of going after them, just to enhance his career; he didn’t need to go after anyone to be popular. The artists he criticized, and those that followed, got involved in beef simply to promote themselves; it was all about their own aggrandizement. Hip-hop became hedonistic, all about excesses and lost the substance and political consciousness that it once had. Artists began to speak out, but some of the loudest voices were those of the journalists themselves. No victory was to be found; artists that could not be categorized were labeled “underground”. These days it isn’t cool to be underground, and something must be wrong with you if you are not part of the mainstream.

Do you notice a pattern here? Journalists and disc jockeys that people normally would not pay a lot of attention to have their careers renewed by attacking the music establishment. True artists take a backseat to the flavor of the month and wage a campaign for artistic integrity. The people gorge on underground, abstract music, get their fill, then gorge on pop music which is either spiritually void or that would unleash a spiritual curse upon them.

No one is smart enough to realize it, but we live in a disco era right now. The music just sounds different but it is all the same; just as bad as the music was then (a bit more explicit and straightforward) and just as empty. The media is not going to do anything about it, in fact journalists occasionally throw in some righteous outrage for good measure, but no one really cares. Everyone is on the take and if the industry would have its way, there would never be another “demolition night”, not in a million years. You can sit back and take it, or you can support artists that are actually talking about something that actually care about their fans. Artists that are not interested in venturing over into television or cinema, artists that are not fashion designers, poets, or that write books; true artists that actually care about something other than their bottom line that are not selling out to the mainstream.

The media doesn’t kill music, and the mainstream does not kill music. Music dies at the death of its fans. If fans really wanted to continue to support disco, they would have done so. Most fans were at the fringe and on the fence, and walked away from the genre because it did not stand for anything. You could say that fans have been manipulated and coerced into supporting empty, mindless music because they do not know any better. Yet they should know better; every day there is another article somewhere talking about it, warning them against messages that are going into their subconscious just like nutritionists warn us about the chemicals that are in our food. Artists and corporations are only interested in selling a product that is going to make them a lot of money. They do not care what the message is, and for a fan without any discernment, they are going to put their own messages in there if they think that they can make consumers out of a listener for life. The average person is too consumed with getting a little bit of pleasure for the moment that they could care less what the long term consequences of listening to their music is. After all it is just music.

We do not need what happened at Comiskey Park to repeat itself because there isn’t anything that anyone needs to revolt against. We simply need to stop supporting mindless music; but in an age where people can get a cheap computer and everyone knows how to make a tight beat why would anyone stop supporting pop music when everyone is on the take. I could write about top artists and make good money off of this blog. There are no revolutions when everyone is obsessed about getting paid …