Friday, 9 December 2011

Music sucks.

Following on my theme of things I hate: I hate music.

Just kidding. I love music. Silence is only allowed to exist in my house in two situations: when I'm sleeping or when the TV is on. At all other times there must be music, and therefore I don't think I'm pushing any boats out when I say I listen to a lot of the stuff, and I have quite well formed opinions on what makes "good" music. Nothing I've written here is based on a whimsical late-night rant (seriously, normal service will resume next week).

Tastes in music are very personal, and there is not neccesarily a right answer to anything, and I respect that. But the point I want to raise tonight is that modern mainstream music is... shitter than a shitzu that got stuck in a public toilet.

I did have a relevant image, BUT LOOK HOW BIG THAT RABBIT IS!!!

The idea from this blog came from a facebook debate, started because I said I like Dire Straits and apparently nobody else thinks they're like... the best band ever!!!
Anyway, the point was that the Dire Straits were undoubtedly (trying not to cross fact and opinion too much here, Harry) very talented, and that the mainstream artists of today are comparatively untalented. Some of you might be thinking "moot point...", but evidently not everyone.
Contiuing the example of Dire Straits, Sultans of Swing is one of the greatest guitar pieces of all time. The music was all written by Mark Knopfler and his crew. They came up with the lyrics, the riff, and consistently played the song to a high standard live without any kind of electronic aid. Over 30 years on and the song is still popular with young and old alike.
Now for contrast, I've picked an artist at random that I don't like, but don't really "hate" (i.e. picking Bieber wouldn't have been fair), so I've chosen Tinie Tempah. His popular track "Written in the stars", was written not by himself, or even "in the stars" (ho ho ho), but by a collection of unassosiated writers from his record label. Tinie plays no instruments, only vocals... which are heavily auto-tuned anyway. Pitch correction may sound pleasant, but it creates the "these songs all sound the same" effect, and sounds about as good live as my arse after a wetherspoons curry night.

Pictured: How I expect Tinie to react to my arse.
Furthermore, I believe that a true test of the quality of music is it's popularity over time. Since popularity is normally such a temporary thing, a track needs a little something extra to keep people coming back to it. Whether that be random stupid German singing like Nena's "99 Luftballoons", doing something utterly memorable like the school children in Pink Floyd's "Another brick in the wall", or purely for musical finesse like Jimi Hendrix's "All along the watchtower". It is my belief that little of the music from the past decade will stand the test of time. Artists that have been widely popular while retaining much of the rock 'n' roll edge, such as Coldplay and The Killers (somebody is going to kill me for saying this) will inevitably still be played on the radio in 20 years time. However given the fast changing pase of much of the genres that dominate main stream music at the moment, it is highly unlikely that it will still be fresh or valuable enough to warrant replaying. (This effect has been in place to a certain extent with pop music in the 80s and 90s that is already out of favour with the likes of Magic FM).

Hear that Barack? Colplay are popular!

So I thought I should end this with the song that started it all. Dire Straits "Brothers in Arms". The song was written in 1985 and is based on Mark Knopfler's view on the Falklands war (Though for a history geek the WW1 imagery in the video is somewhat baffling). The title phrase is actually how Mark's dad, a war veteran, refered to the Argentines. Which is penny for thought.
Anyway... enjoy it. It's slow but beautiful.


  1. i mostly agree with you.

    should be said though that Jimi Hendrix didn't write all along the watchtower, he just added power chords.