You. You. And You

Posted: April 5, 2012 in Music Industry, Pop, Top 40
Tags: , , , , , , ,
It was recently brought to my attention that Katy Perry covered Jay-Z/Kanye’s’In Paris.’ It was brutal. It was awful. It was borderline insulting. Here is a pop star who’s famous for essentially no reason (big eyes maybe?) trying to rhyme like Jay-Z/Kanye, who are obviously much more qualified in their genre than Katy is in hers. It’s like Soulja Boy trying to cover an Adele song. She should know of her shortcomings as a musician, and yet seems to think she’s on top of the world because her record sales indicate as such. So it made me wonder, where does that audacity come from? Why in her mind was it okay to attempt this?

Anyone appears to be able to make it in the music industry, simply because of how they’re presented to the public. There’s no effort put into the music itself, there’s no value to it and everyone’s energy seems to be spent on image. It’s as though the only requirement to get on the radio is to have a catchy song, with a repetitive hook that gets stuck in your head no matter how hard you try to avoid it (see any LMFAO track.) The result: any one song ends up being a carbon copy of a plethora of other songs out there – a blend of identical elements applied to a pre-determined formula. The lyrics are simple and easy to remember (not to be confused with memorable). Inevitably you’ll be able to sing along, making you believe you actually like it. It’s difficult to blame the musicians though, because whatever they’re doing is working. You’re buying into it. You let them get away with it. You’re responsible for praising the ordinary and making them think they’re extraordinary. Any song J-Lo does may be great to hear at a club, but nothing about it is unique to her – almost any other female artist could put out the same song and garner the same amount of success. So many musicians sound the same, so many of them are doing the same thing – and yet they’re all being rewarded for it.

You make it possible for Bruno Mars to put out a song called ‘The Lazy Song’ (!) You will encourage the Pitbulls, Flo Ridas and T-Pains of the world, and make them famous. You’re making them think what they’re putting out is enough to make them their millions. Shouldn’t you demand better? Shouldn’t you demand more? Applauding mediocrity allows Taio Cruz to climb the charts, permits the existence of Cee-Lo Green’s ‘F**k You‘, and enables Ke$ha to release ‘Tik Tok’ – they could probably do better but don’t need to. DJs at least create sounds, mix them together in unique combinations and produce music. Bands at least play their own instruments and (usually) write their own songs. Sure pop stars (ie one whose music is popular) may be better looking, better dancers, more provocative but their vocal (including rapping) abilities are average for the most part, with few exceptions of course (ie Adele, Beyonce, Eminem). Lady Gaga is an envelope-pusher no doubt and is more known for her antics than her music, but her popularity can easily rival some of the best acts out there – why are you so easy to please?

Popular music is everywhere, you’re exposed to it no matter what – it’s like that always available boy/girl eager to fulfill your every desire. What you need to do is challenge yourself. Walk that plank, take that risk, and go after that boy/girl that’s playing hard to get. Popular musicians should earn the adoration they get, not expect it. So set your standards higher, be picky and don’t settle. I’m not asking you to stop listening to popular music or music you enjoy, but to also listen to other music. There’s no guarantee that by opening yourself up you’ll like everything you hear and you don’t have to. But you do have to stop being a pushover, a doormat, an ego boost. You’re so much better than that.

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