Think of how many times you’ve heard tracks such as “Call Me Maybe” or “Some Nights” in the past six months alone.
This constant exposure inevitably leads to the absorption and knowledge of the nation’s top 20 hit songs, willingly or not.
The repetitive lines and melodies are easily ingrained into memory. This constant exposure to the nation’s hit list, however, has revealed a disturbing fact about the music of today’s day and age: It is sound without dimension.
Music is a part of daily life, whether we aim for it to be or not; in radio, restaurants, grocery stores, the car, online, in lobbies, in TV shows, commercials and movies, it’s almost impossible to avoid pop music encounters.
Unfortunately, music these days, to be entirely cliché, just isn’t what it used to be.
This is due to the fact that the music industry has been so concentrated on pleasing a particular market that all the competition and creativity has been almost entirely snuffed out.
It is hard to deny that artists and producers are all operating on the same formula, putting out song after song of similar sounds.
For example, how is “Call Me Maybe” any different from any other pop song about a guy who has no idea that a girl exists?
It would appear that the thinking behind the music is, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”
If a song with a pop-music chorus between a male rapper spinning off the same old tales of love or heartbreak will work once, it will work time and time again.
The pattern is all too predictable, a generic pop song comes out as a single and it climbs its way to the top where it is beaten into our heads over almost every musical media front until people finally grow tired of it.
When this happens, it’s about time for the next popular generic song to take its place anyway.
I’m sure we are all guilty of catching ourselves singing along to the words, myself included, not by choice but by habit. It’s simply a reflex.
The music industry seems to be owned by fewer and fewer individuals and entities.
While this can capitalize the industry’s ability to find new artists and put out new songs quickly, it also has an unintended side effect.
It takes away the creative competition, the need for an artist to find a new edge to cut into the industry with.
It’s competition that challenges growing artists to reach for new sounds, to discover new genres, to unleash their creative abilities.
These creative abilities and new growth in music is what used to determine the sound of music; nowadays, the only thing that may determine the sound of a song is which label is paying for it.
There has been a distinct decline in lyrical and rhythmic diversity in the music industry and music over the years.
Diversity is what breeds innovation; without it music is lost to conformity.
Older music has soul and passion in it that just doesn’t appear in most songs that have been put out in recent years.
There is a difference between mouthing lyrics that have been brainwashed into you by accident and singing lyrics at the top of your lungs with all the excitement and passion that music like the classics should instill in us.
I’ve heard it put best by a group called Axis of Awesome, a comedy rock band, on a YouTube video they posted called “4 Chord Song.”
In the video a musician plays the same four chords and is able to match hit song after hit song to them.
The reality of the singular sound to most songs is undeniable.
Music, as an industry and an art form, should look to rise to greater heights, rather than settling for what will generate a profit.
The industry should be searching for new sounds, not just new lyrics.