Posts Tagged ‘Selena Gomez’

Maybe it’s a sign of aging, but I find myself longing for music of the past more and more these days. I’ve never hidden the fact that the current state of music is deplorable compared to when I grew up. But this isn’t a post about that. It’s a post about trying to (rhetorically) figure out what truly connects a person to music, and if that changes over time, across generations and through individuals.

(Note: Everyone’s experience with music is different; I’m not trying to make all-encompassing blanket statements. These are just my observations over the years.)

When I was a kid, all my musical influences lay in the hands of my older family members. As such, it was all 80s rock – U2, INXS, Duran Duran, etc. At that time, cassette tapes were the only vehicle for music, and I still remember this INXS tape we had – 1987’s Kick album, loaded with classics like “Need You Tonight” and “Never Tear Us Apart.” I used to play that tape over and over and over again on my small pink tape player (that came with earbuds!) I would just lay on the ground, headphones in, and listen.

I continued on like this, album after album (including The Little Mermaid Soundtrack) until U2 essentially took over my entire world. I had this one U2 mixtape that I spent hours upon hours crafting, timing every track to perfection. I must’ve listened to it countless times over years and years. At the time, I had a shiny silver Sony Walkman that automatically switched the tape’s sides. I knew every single word to every single song on that tape – they were my first favourite band of all time, and felt like a part of me.

Adolescence is a time when one is easily influenced, inspired. We hang on to things that (we think) mean something to us. If we’re angry, we like loud music. If we like to dance, we pick dance music. Our minds are so malleable and spongey, we can absorb anything. During such a precious time, it’s also easy to just follow what your friends are doing, so you won’t feel left out. For me, it was a combination – my entire school listened to grunge in the 90s, therefore I did too. However, I also enjoyed the music, and felt some connection to it, because it became about learning about an entire genre, and all the bands involved.

But here’s what I’m trying to figure out: when I hear 90s music now, do I love it because of that previous connection to it, because of nostalgia? Is it attached to specific memories, or a more care-free time? Or do I truly think it’s better than a lot of the music of today? If I heard that same music now, what would I think? Would I enjoy it the same way, would it speak to me in the same way? Or was it just a right time, right place scenario? Let’s be real, grunge doesn’t exist anymore (in spite of some pitiful attempts at a comeback); it died a long time ago – is that why it has such a pull over me?

Same would go for those who are fans of 60s-70s music – maybe that attachment comes from the notion that there currently isn’t any music out there that resembles anything from back then. Maybe they feel like they experienced the birth and demise of a genre. Its evolution and inability to survive in the current world. Maybe they just miss it. In previous decades, music had so much more to say. Musicians used their voices to make statements.

Nowadays, the industry has gotten soft. No one (rather, not many) talk about anything real, which is why everything is so interchangeable and unrecognizable. It all kind of blurs together. For example, millennials all think Drake is the almighty – but will they still think that in 10 years? Or is it because they hear his songs at clubs and bars right now? In 10 year’s time though, will they still be going to clubs? Moreover, even if they did, would Drake still be playing over the speakers? Has the music scene just changed now?

These days, music can be heard anywhere and everywhere – which is great. But that also makes a lot of room for noise. I wonder if in this day and age, it’s possible to really connect to an artist, and still feel connected years later. If it is possible, I feel like it’ll still be different than how music was felt in the past; when you earned the ability to listen to a track over and over. You had to save up. You had to really want it, and if the album wasn’t all that good, you wouldn’t delete it or toss it, you’d make yourself listen because you invested in it. You would give it a real, solid chance.

Year after year, there’s so much turnover in tracks too, so many singles released, that it’s tough to really feel the impact of any of them, due to so much output volume. It seems as though Selena Gomez releases a track every week, so how does one even keep track? With programs like Spotify, essentially every single song you could ever want in life, can be found there. You don’t have to buy the album and only play it on your CD player, or if you’re lucky, in your car. You don’t have to commit to an artist.

You can download a track just as easily as you can delete it. No one has Walkmen/Discmen (RIP) anymore, so all music on-the-go comes from their phones. The flow of which can easily be interrupted by phone calls, txt msgs and taking photos. How are young people supposed to understand how to truly value music? People these days don’t get obsessed with albums; they get obsessed with songs. One track.

Don’t get me wrong, I use Spotify too – guilty as charged. It’s the easiest, fastest way to get a track I want when I want it. I don’t have invest so much time/energy in its acquisition. But here’s the thing: I kind of miss that process. I kind of miss getting to know the music, the artist. I kind of miss opening the plastic wrap around the CD. I kind of miss analyzing the album art, and flipping through the lyric books and footnotes. I kind of really miss that connection.

 

 

I refuse to get into it. If you want to know why Miley Cyrus’ performance at the MTV VMAs was so atrocious, there’s plenty of internet chatter about it. Aside from disturbing a lot of individuals, the worst thing it accomplished was it took away from some much more noteworthy moments. So let’s talk about those. (Note: MTV has done a great job of keeping all the relevant videos on their own site, so to see any or all of the awards show, click here.)

1. Besties

Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez seemed attached at the hip. Total bffs. Dancing together, making comments to each other, probably bonding over the trials and tribulations of dating bad boys (ie One Direction’s Harry Styles and Justin Bieber.) They were even dressed alike and hugged the crap out of each other when either one won an award.

Jimmy Fallon’s uncontainable man crush on Justin Timberlake as exemplified when he presented him with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. He was excited, giddy and his voice kept getting higher and higher pitched. It was kind of adorable.

2. Robin Thicke

A bi-product of Miley’s horrid performance was how ridiculous it made Robin Thicke look. It made it seem like he was a total perv who wanted to get with her, because he agreed to this duet for his hit track “Blurred Lines.” Why is the only question that comes to mind. Regardless of whether he knew what she was going to do, Miley Cyrus doesn’t add anything to any song. She outdid him by being even raunchier than the video for “Blurred Lines.” Saddest of all, he didn’t even win any awards.

3. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

It’s impossible not to love these guys. Independent hip hop musicians, a white rapper and a DJ, singing about real issues and still scoring some awards. Having said that, why were they seated so far away from the stage? At the tail end of their performance of “Same Love,” Mary Lambert and Jennifer Hudson got into a bit of a beautiful sing off. They should win awards just for being so darn awesome.

4. ‘N Sync

During Justin’s epic and lengthy performance, he enlisted the help of his ‘N Sync boys to perform “Girlfriend” and “Bye Bye Bye.” It was a treat to see for so many reasons. Lance Bass clearly could not keep up with the choreo and kept trailing behind; JC was so obviously reliving his famous days as the “other lead singer” and even tried to take over the spotlight for a second. Justin very quickly took it back. Joey and Chris made it through the mini dance routine but seemed exhausted after. Man, what age does to you.

5. Drake

When he starting getting into “Started From the Bottom,” I cringed a little because that song is so illogical on so many levels. What “bottom” did he start from? Rihanna was unimpressed, every rapper in the crowd was jamming like the song was their life story. Best of all, Jaden Smith seemed so enamored by Drake, he looked like he might even cry. Drake acts like he’s from the ‘hood and somehow has garnered all this street cred. He was wearing a cut off tee, but it seemed like it was made by a designer. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m laughing at how ridiculous Drake has become. I just can’t help it.

6. Justin Timberlake

You can hate on him as much as you want to. You can dislike him music with a passion, go ahead. But he dominated that arena with his performance and you can’t deny that. The moves, the voice, the interaction, the ease with which he does all of it. He even got ‘N Sync back together! He deservedly won “Video of the Year” for “Mirrors” – he has a dance off with himself in a room full of mirrors. Who else can pull that off?