It is often said the music that is popular in a given cultural helps define the current society. This article examines todays popular music scene and it’s role in early 21st century culture in the United States.
Early American Music
Over the last 100 years or so America has been a hot bed of producing incredible original music and musical styles. American music has been enjoyed throughout the world and gone a long way to be one of the few things people in foreign nations find appealing about the United States.
One of the greatest triumphs of American music has been the invention and subsequent development of the “Blues Scale”. The blues scale is unique to the United States and has brought forth several other forms of music with rock and roll being a superior achievement.
Blues and jazz (originally spelled “jass”), was developed out of many forms of early American music taken from both the early White and Black cultures. It is truly American music that details combined efforts that make this country a true melting pot of many talents and cultural patchwork.
The mutual understanding of American music derived from the blues and jazz has been one of the main bridges built by musicians to help rein in racism in the United States. White and Black musicians were the first to integrate in a cultural way and paved the path for common ground that all could eventually relate to.
21st Century Music
The last 100 years has seen the development of American music on a linear or exponential scale in the positive direction. This positive direction seems to have changed since the turn of this century to a more negative route.
It is easy to see that American music has taken a U-turn for the worse. Creativity has become stagnant. What is considered good music in today’s music scene can only be described as superficial and redundant. The truly great music of today is merely a rehash or remaking of what has come before it.
Many older musicians agree that modern music is rubbish. To quote Bob Dylan “I don’t know anybody who’s made a record that sounds decent in the past 20 years, really. You listen to these modern records, they’re atrocious, they have sound all over them. There’s no definition of nothing, no vocal, no nothing, just like … static….”
What Today’s Music Says About Our Culture
Music, being a major indicator of culture, points to America’s current culture as being uncreative and trivial. Modern music in America has taken a back seat to the stimulation of music fans visual senses over auditory. Today’s music is more about sexual arousal and the drugged mind than real talent and creativity.
Many Americans are living in a fantasy world oblivious to true reality. Music is not the only cultural expression that lacks creativity and substance.
Our food has become instant and tasteless, movies and TV shows are meaningless and lack character. Cars lack the style of previous production vehicles. Work ethics have been flushed down the toilet. Ideas that made this country great have declined into oblivion.
The Future Direction of Music
The future of modern music looks dismal. Considering the garbage that is being produced by the younger generation there seems to be no hope for the immediate advancement of American music. This drivel can easily be shown by the popularity of such “artists” as Lady Gaga, Rebecca Black, Justin Bieber, and many others.
Take notice that the most popular “stars” have no real talent. Computer generated celebrities will be next on the agenda. Movie producers are already using computer graphics to take the work out of what use to require real talent and creative thought. Reality is being redefined in today’s society as being something that is more surreal and dreamlike.
The odds show that there will be a definitive moment in the future that may awaken one of the upcoming generations to change this path of musical destruction to a positive direction. It is said that when one hits the bottom there is only one way left to go.