Tuesday, August 5, 2008

In a Better World...Pop Music Wouldn't Suck

One of my life's defining moments occurred when I was only four. I don't know how many fathers would play Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band for their four-year-old, but my dad sure thought it would be a good idea. Today, I thank him for playing that CD and shaping my musical taste for the rest of my life.

Otherwise, I might be listening to the same junk the other people my age love. Call my play list grandfatherly, but I hope I'm not the only one who'd choose The Who and James Taylor over Lil Wayne and the Jonas Brothers. After all, the media would much rather expose America's children, the most powerful demographic, to "artists" whose appeal is in the image, not whatever merit their music contains.

Just look at that joke of a magazine, Rolling Stone. Look at their big, glossy cover shot of the "Jo Bros" and long for the days when pop stars didn't need a backing band to hide their lack of talent. THIS is the gold standard of music journalism?

It's not that no good music is being made today. It just doesn't get as much exposure as the crap. You don't hear Radiohead on Kiss 108, you don't see No Age on the cover of Blender, and nobody outside Wakefield knows that Zephyr is keeping the classic rock sound alive.

To be fair, all those music outlets I've criticized are commercial ventures - the need to make money compromises credibility. But is a cover shot of the Jonas Brothers REALLY the only way to keep Rolling Stone alive? In a better world, Jo Bro fans would keep themselves busy with the latest issue of Tiger Beat while the grownups enjoy Rolling Stone's cover story on Zephyr.


  1. Awesome rant, Ben. I agree whole-heatedly and I'm sure the big guy upstairs (which would be Chris...get it?) does too.

  2. Thanks, man. I'll lend you my copy of the latest issue of Nonexistent.

  3. I like this, but I disagree with ya a little bit. Many young people listen to The Beatles and The Who, and other classic rock greats. Also, there are plenty of excellent artists out there today as you noted, perhaps even more than ever before. Idk, maybe, maybe not. It is actually astonishing that bands can be internationally successful, chart topping, multi platinum selling artists and not receive as much exposure as they should. Great examples include: Tool, Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, SOAD,etc. And of course there are countless metal and metal like bands that sell humongous amounts of records and yet are still unknown to the average person. It is strange. Basically the teeny boppers and the "gangstas" are easier to sell then the "real" artists, whom most likely would rather not be sold.

  4. Along the lines of the final sentence of the last comment, most of the aforementioned bands of today would prefer even lesser exposure in some fashion, not lesser exposure of their music, but of their image and things of that nature. I will post a Tool video, where Maynard, the band's singer explains his views. It's from 2001, but its still relevant.


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