The Day the Music Died

I’m a huge music fan.  My taste in music shot wide open when I discovered Napster back in its heyday.  I became a fan of music – not just a particular genre.  Over the last several years its been tough to find, in my opinion, good music.

A week ago I was watching the “Hope for Haiti” program that was on every major television network.  They had various artists singing songs and a telethon that was taking place to raise money for the recent earthquake disaster that devastated the people of Haiti.  I tuned in a little late but not long after I started watching, Justin Timberlake and singer-songwriter Matt Morris sang the song “Hallelujah,” originally by Leonard Cohen.  Timberlake played the piano and Morris played the guitar.  It was simply amazing.  (See below)

After the song I thought to myself, “they don’t make songs like this anymore.”  That thought hit me again today when I was driving home and was listening to a top 40 radio station.  I couldn’t believe the low quality of songs that were on the radio.  I know everyone has different taste in music and I respect that.  I in no way expect people to like everything I like.  However, I couldn’t help but think that today’s music has become so digitized and studio produced that it lacks passion and emotion.

Music superstars today are created, not uncovered.  If you have “the look” then you can go inside a studio, record some songs, have them digitally rendered and then go on SNL and lip sync Milli Vanilli style the same songs.  I think that’s a shame.  I’m a big singer-songwriter fan.  I don’t particularly care what someone looks like.  If they have a good voice, good lyrics and sing with emotion then there’s a good chance I’m going to love what they do.

When I look at the Billboard charts I see songs like “Tik Tok” by Ke$ha and “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga I think what has happened to music?  I’m not at all arguing that the songs aren’t catchy…for the first 50 times you hear them on the radio.  However, I want to hear great songs that have something behind them.  I want the lyrics to have meaning and thought behind them and stretch beyond the simple surface.

Some of my favorite artists are Ray LaMontagne, James Morrison, Jason Castro, The Beatles, Billy Joel, Eminem, etc.  Again, I’m not necessarily saying that they are any “better” than some of today’s top 40 artists but I at least feel like they write their songs about something with meaning in their lives…to me, that makes them better.

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