Throughout time, there have been two universal languages. One is violence, and the other, music. Both beautiful in their own right, but music is something that more people are willing to partake in. Let's focus on that.
Pictured above: The first type of instrument
As long as people have had opposable thumbs, music has existed. The picture above shows the first type of instrument that was available: percussion. Though the picture shows a somewhat evolved model, original drums were made by stretching dried out animal hides on top of circular frames, a practice that is still employed. The "drum head" would then be beaten with a hand or a stick-like instrument (which was sometimes a stick) to produce a sound. Though primitive, these "membranophones" would become the forerunners for all percussion, and probably a great deal of music as well. Using these crude instruments, the people playing on them would establish what music was all about.
One of music's purposes is to convey emotions. The artist's history, emotions, memories, are all reflected in the way that they play their music and what their music is about. You could say that prehistoric men were the world's first musicians.
Pictured above: Ludwig Van Beethoven's predecessor
As time has gone by, music has changed and evolved in its own way. From the pounding of practical drums, countless genres have been created, new instruments have been created, and new methods of performance have been developed. However, the most important part of music that has changed is the message it conveys. Music has gone from the crude beats on drum, to the harmonious sounds of an orchestra, to the twangs and plucks of a guitar, right back to crude, unrefined, guttural beats.
"ME WANT WOMAN!"
To properly explain how music has de-evolved, we need to take a look at music as it progressed through time. Countless genres of music have been created through time, each with their own style of conveying the artist's message. Chances are that if you listen to music, and YOU DO, you're listening to some sort of genre that you can relate to, or at least, some sort of music that has a special appeal to you.
There exists more music than can be mentioned in this article, so we're going to cover the big ones. Time to jump into the time machine!
Pictured above: Part of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra
Created - around 500 AD
Notable artists - Ludwig Van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Henry Fillmore, John Philip Sousa
This genre of music encompasses a large array of European music, including marches, Baroque, Renaissance, and post-modern music.The structure of the groups that played it ranged anywhere from 50 to 100 people at the same time, featuring string, wind, brass, and percussion instruments.
Classical music is the longest existing genre, and is one of the most versatile. As it stands, classical isn't as appreciated as it was back when it originated. To be fair, it was the ONLY genre available for large crowds to listen to, unless you wished to pay the local bard to play at a wine tasting that you had organized with other lords and ladies.
"Hail, all my fellows and wenches! The word is, indeed, up!"
Back when it was first created, classical music had always been associated with the higher class people, that is to say, people who weren't working, possibly because the people who commonly listened to it thought that the messages and the emotions conveyed were above the interpretation of blue collar workers.
As it stands, however, classical music is incredibly versatile, conveying emotions of all sorts, some better than others. If you played in the band at your school while you were in the 6th grade, subjecting your parents and relatives to a collection of cacophonous honks and squeaks, classical music could be considered a "gateway" to different musical genres or a greater exploration on the one you'd been exposed to.
To get a feel of the emotions in the music, you can take a look at the some of the artists of said genre. Take, for instance, Henry Fillmore. He wrote many pieces, but was best known for his marches. We'll ask you, what do you think of when you hear the word "march"? How about a parade?
What's in a parade? Clowns, floats, bands, local figures, those little dudes who wear a fez and drive around in an undersized car. A parade is fun. A march, is fun. In the military, you could say that marches are used to keep up morale, keeping them thinking about the girl back home, or their families, or how they really wanna have a malt and cheeseburger from Chubby Eddie's Fast Foods.
Then, on the other side of the spectrum, take a look at Mozart. An incredibly talented artist, who covered a wide array of emotions in his music, and a piece of particular fame for him was "Requiem", a song he composed during his last year of life. If you get the chance to listen to it, you'll find that the song, unlike the previously mentioned marches, this song is sad. Like, really sad.
The full extent of classical music, however, ranges anywhere in between the "Footlifter" march and "Requiem". Though it is not as widely appreciated as it used to be, the wide spectrum of emotions and stories that classical music covers in the genre cannot be denied.
Pictured above: Robert Johnson
Created - around 1900 AD
Notable artists - Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, B.B. King
Despite the fact that the first publication of blues sheet music was in 1912, blues has probably been around a lot longer. The blues originated in the Deep South, at a time where slavery was still rampant in the United States. With these things in mind, you can discern two things from blues as a genre without listening to a song. One, that blues is predominantly sad, and two, that the genre comes from a place of pain.
The term used to describe the genre, "blues", refers to "the blue devils", small demons from the 16th century that cause sadness, and helped describe what the music of the genre was trying to convey.
Blues music features a drum beat, a bass line, and the guitar, acoustic or electric. What you'll also notice is that amongst all the blues artist out there, the race that predominantly performs the blues is black people. This is because they come from the background that music was birthed in. If you took a white blues musician and a black blues musician and had them play "Dallas Blues", you'd notice a definite difference between them, and it's because that one of the artists is unable to better relate to the emotions that the song is supposed to convey. Here's an example of blues music from B.B. King.
Pictured above: Buddy Rich
Created - early 1910's
Notable artists - Herbie Hancock, Quincy Jones, Thelonious Monk
If you were wondering what kind of music people danced to back in the Prohibition Era, this would be the stuff. Jazz was the "club music" of the first half of the 20th, and it is home to a slew of sub-genres and the some of the world's best musicians.
Much like the blues, jazz's origins are in the South, however, the nature of the two is different. After slavery was abolished, a lot of black musicians got jobs performing low-class entertainment. The songs they played at that time came from a genre called "ragtime", which were songs that featured the piano and were originally played in the red-light districts as dance music, long before music was being written down and published. As a side note, a notable composer from that time, Scott Joplin, would become famous for two pieces that he wrote during that time. One, the "Maple Leaf Rag", which if you've watched Robot Chicken enough, you would've seen Gandhi playing it, and the other, the "Entertainer", which is the song featured in the 1973 film, "The Sting".
Early jazz musicians got their start playing in the red light district in New Orleans. From there, it spread to speakeasies all across the country, turning these drinking sanctuaries into lively venues, where they performed any arrangement of songs that people could dance to. Around this time, we saw jazz singers as well, some of which developed and employed the technique known as "scatting".
As more and more jazz musicians banded together, a new sect of jazz emerged. This was known as swing, and in the 1930's, big bands dominated the music scene, and from here, many legendary musicians and band leaders made themselves known. A short list of names would include Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Artie Shaw, Louie Armstrong, and Benny Goodman. From that time onward, jazz kept developing, paralleling classical music in the degree of diversity the genre had, and amassing a long list of artists and musicians that will forever be remembered and recognized for their talent.
This man is Kenny G. He is not on that list. If you think he should be, shame on you.
A jazz band can feature over a dozen musicians, and features, drums, guitar, bass, brass, and wind instruments. For a modern example of jazz, watch an episode of Cowboy Bebop. For those of you have already listened to "Tank!", you'll notice that jazz and blues have a different tone (despite the fact that the two examples given have a good stretch of time in between them). While jazz can also convey the emotions of sorrow and sadness, you generally hear joy, happiness. The music is upbeat and fun, isn't it? People could definitely dance to this!
Rhythm and Blues (R&B)
Pictured above: "Joliet" Jake and Elwood Blues, the Blues Brothers
Created - 1940's to the 1950's
Notable artists - James Brown, Tina Turner, The Blues Brothers, Earth, Wind, and Fire
Described as "rocking jazz music with a heavy, insistent, beat", rhythm and blues or "R&B" as it is known today, was created from combining elements from both jazz and blues. Though originally representing this combination of two previous genres, R&B became a genre that also encompassed soul, gospel, disco, and funk. You could call R&B the "Pop" of the 50's and for many more years to come.
This was a genre that harnessed the emotional ranges of both jazz and blues, but kept true to the musical style of jazz. It was fun, hip, groovy, fun, but meaningful in so many ways as well. True to part of its name, R&B drew the "blues" from the urban area that the artists grew up in. The happy moments, the turmoil, the friends, the family, the foes, all of it, and put it into their own music. This could be said for all the genres that R&B represents. To this day, R&B still remains a popular genre. However, the same could not be said for the other genres under the category of "R&B".
Disco is one such type of music. Featuring groups like the Beegees and KC and the Sunshine Band, this was the club music up until the 80's. Drawing its influences from soul and funk, disco is associated with bell-bottoms, platform shoes, the Fender J. Bass, rigid movements, pointing up, gigantic balls covered in small mirrors, the black community, the gay community, and "stayin' alive".
Much like jazz, funk is a diverse genre of music. It features big, heavy, beats, and a nigh complete jazz band, missing only the trombone in their ensemble. Because funk features a dominant bassline, it could be credited as an influence to disco music, which uses everything in a funk ensemble except the electric guitar. To many, James Brown is considered to be one of the "founding fathers of funk", and through his career helped define the genre. Funk hosts a number of notable of groups, including Kool and the Gang, Earth, Wind, and Fire, and Tower of Power, as well as artists such as Bootsy Collins, and Larry Graham.
Soul music, according to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, is "music that arose out of the black experience in America through the transmutation of gospel and rhythm & blues into a form of funky, secular testifying." Drawing power from a religious belief and the music surrounding it, gospel, soul music is similar to the "blues", more so than the other genres covered under R&B. Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, and Marvin Gaye are all notable artists.
Pictured above: Jimi Hendrix
Created - the 1950's
Notable artists - The Beatles, Boston, Jimi Hendrix, Aerosmith, the Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley, and too many more to list.
Rock is the music known the world over, more than the rest of them. Derived from a combination of blues and gospel music known as "rock and roll", rock music is constructed by a rock beat and rhythm laid down by the aptly named rhythm section, paired up with a back beat laid down by guitar. Typically, a rock band consists of a drummer, a bassist, a guitarist, and a vocalist. More guitarists and vocalists can be added, as well as other instruments including the piano and the saxophone.
By drawing from all of the genres what we've mentioned thus far, classical, jazz, blues, R&B, rock was created. Evolving from rock and roll, rock got its start with artists like Elvis and Buddy Holly. Around the early 1960's, a genre emerging from the west coast called "surf music" would make itself known, giving way for artists like the Beach Boys and the Trashmen.
"I was unaware that I WAS the word."
Then, the period of time from the early 1960's on to the mid 1970's would become known as the "Golden Age of Rock", a time when many different sub-genres would be born and when a big part of music history, the "British Invasion", would occur. This is a period of time referencing the arrival of bands from the United Kingdom, and it all started when four musicians sporting the exact same haircut topped the charts with "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and crashed onto the music scene, paving the way for artists like the Rolling Stones, the Kinks, and the Who.
Gentlemen, we salute you.
The 60's also saw the emergence of garage bands, groups of amateur musicians grabbing whatever instruments they could, performing in suburban garages, and writing music surrounding the turmoil and trauma of high school life. Girls became a popular topic for the songs they wrote.
"How many ways can we tell people that that chick's a whore?"
"Fuck that, man! We need to tell people the bird's the word!"
As the Golden Age progressed, more sub-genres were created, and more musicians and artists would become legends. We would see "pop rock", an upbeat version of rock, emerge, giving artists such as Peter Frampton and Chicago exposure, "blues rock", named for its influence, saw artists like Eric Clapton, "folk rock", an evolution of folk music, was something that became a medium for people to protest with, and featured Arlo Guthrie, Simon and Garfunkel, and the great Bob Dylan. A little later, the sub-genre "psychedelic rock" would be defined by guitarist Jimi Hendrix, which was what happened when you mixed folk rock with a big batch of LSD. The Golden Age kept rolling on, bringing "glam rock", and questionable apparel, "southern rock", what happened when the guys singing "country" threw off their hats and actually played their guitars, "christian rock", because gospel wasn't as marketable, "soft" and "hard rock", since some people would rather have the speaker down to "3" or up to "11", and would be an age that helped give birth to "metal".
The Golden Age ended in the mid 1970's, but rock kept going, changing and bringing new types of rock well into the new millennium. "Punk rock", a sub-genre taking a garage band and giving it a harder, edgier tone, and screaming anti-establishment messages, would become popular. This was a popular genre of music overseas, and the UK would see the Sex Pistols and the Clash arrive on the scene, and as for the United States, we had the Ramones. Around the same time punk made itself known, music was treated with "new wave", a genre that saw a lot of record sales and radio play. New wave's thing was the short songs that packed a punch, and the bands like the Cars and the Police got a lot of exposure, partially because record execs couldn't really understand punk music.
"'Blitzkrieg Bop'? The fuck's that supposed to mean?"
"Post-punk" was a technical (performance-wise) take at punk music. These sorts of bands were considered more artistic than the punk predecessors, and this genre featured a lot of bands from overseas. The Cure, the Sisters of Mercy, and Gang of Four, to name a few. The most successful band of the post-punk phase would have to be Ireland's own U2.
Hard to believe that Bono was once a starving artist.
During the later half of the 1970's, artists like Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty acquired acclaim and commercial success, playing under the genre called "heartland rock", characterized as a genre with a straightforward style and songs surrounding the "working man". The term "heartland rock" has since faded away because of the younger audiences and listeners losing interest, and as a result, the artists who were categorized as heartland rockers turned to work on stuff that was a little closer, that is to say, personal, to them.
Rock continued to evolve with "grunge", and rock as a whole still remains a prominent genre within the music industry.
If you take a look back down the long list of genres and sub-genres that rock covers, you get an idea of the messages, emotions, and stories that the performers were trying to display. Rock covers everything. The good, the bad, the drugs, the sex, joy, sorrow, fear, anger. The spectrum that rock covers is life itself. It's about the people just working their entire lives, or the artist that doesn't have anything but his art. It's real, and it's awesome.
Pictured above: Ronnie James Dio
Created - late 1960's
Notable artists - Black Sabbath, Anthrax, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Motorhead
When thinking "metal", I see a man banging his head so hard that I say, "By god, that man is going to give himself whiplash!"
"That's because neck braces are metal!"
You and your goatee win this time, Scott Ian!
Metal is just that: heavy, powerful, fast, distorted, and, LOUD! The bands are comprised of the same thing you would see in a rock band. Other than differences in the way they performed, metal introduced the practice of featuring the bass guitar as the main instrument, something that was brought to the genre by Metallica's late bassist, Cliff Burton.
From the two pictures you've seen in this part of the article, you'll notice that metal musicians, and indeed metal music, have a certain theme and demeanor. Dio kinda looks like a ghoul, a gaunt figure, sporting the "devil's horns", and that Scott Ian, apart from wearing all black, is sporting a pentagram on his shirt and his guitar. While Dio probably doesn't feed off of corpses and Scott Ian probably isn't a satanist, the music that they play is portrayed as being dark. To create metal music, musicians combined blues rock and psychedelic rock, and tackled the the blues part of the influence with unadulterated rage. The songs, lyrics, emotions, and messages in metal music are derived from the darker emotions of the human psyche. Pain, rage, sorrow, anger, all exploding through their instruments and screams. Sex and drugs play a part in the music and songs too, but that's par for the course for EVERY genre of music that's ever existed.
Pictured above: An icon in metal music, and foe of small winged animals and Kermit the Frog
The first of the metal bands were Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and Deep Purple. Critics HATED these bands, and this would be a common thing for the genre in general. Bands like Motorhead and Judas Priest helped the genre evolve by not paying as much attention to their blues heritage and introducing a "punk" aspect to the genre. During the 80's the world saw metal develop its own variations. You had "glam metal", a genre within metal that combined glam rock and metal techniques, "thrash metal", "black metal", and "death metal", variations of metal that have a much more aggressive approach to the music. In the 90's, the world began to see "nu metal", which was a combination of metal, hip-hop, and funk. We would also see "metalcore", a blend of metal and punk.
Because of the general tone of metal music, there have been legions of "concerned" parents who believe that metal is warping the minds of their children, something that had happened with both jazz and rock in previous years. It's true that metal music is brutal, but the fans like it that way. No other genre has people being carried out of live shows on stretchers. When was the last time you saw someone get injured at a ska concert? There's no other music you can destructively mosh to, because, you know, "friendly" moshes are for pussies. No other genre has a video game based off of it!
Thank you, Jack Black and Tim Schafer
Rap / Hip Hop
Pictured above: Run DMC
Created - around 1970
Notable artists - Run DMC, Tupac Shakur, Biggie Smalls, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five
The term "hip hop" actually refers to the hip hop culture, which originated in the Bronx. Key elements of hip hop include the use of turntables, and rapping (which is what the genre is commonly referred as), and came from a much more familial part of city life. Back in the 70's people in the Bronx got together for block parites, a neighborhood gathering, if you will. During the festivities, DJs would play music, usually funk and / or soul music. Realizing that this was popular amongst the people that attended, the DJs started to take different parts of the music and mix them and make it a separate entity. Another practice that became common at these block parties was "rapping", something inspired by Jamaican immigrants of that time. The most notable of which is DJ Kool Herc, who started things off by rapping at block parties, and would become known as a founding figure in hip hop music. Rapping is a form of poetry, in a sense, where the lyrics are spoken in rhythm while being backed up by a rhythmic beat. Putting the two together, hip hop music was born.
Taking a look farther back, we find that hip hop was partly inspired by poets in West Africa known as "griots". They were orators who performed their poems in a fashion similar to rap, and their poems were about many different subjects. The griots used them as political commentary, satire, and as a means to spread gossip. They also possessed skill with musical instruments and have also been referred to as "bards".
The 1980's saw hip hop begin to be recognized as a genre of music. With drum machines supporting the artists, rappers began to develop and new and complex styles. During this time, the second wave of hip hop came, called the "new school", where Run DMC and LL Cool J made their names. The stretch of time between the late 80's and early 90's became known as the "Golden Age of Hip Hop". This represented a large group of artists that were diverse and possessed a jazz influence. Among the groups was Public Enemy, who will forever be associated with a small man wearing a viking hat and an oversized clock.
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Then, gravitating away from the block party background that was usual for hip hop, gangsta rap appeared, focusing instead on the violent lives of city youths. This set the scene for "East Coast" and "West Coast" hip hop, and there has been a feud between the two ever since.
In the 90's, rap began to show some more diversity with styles like "southern rap", hip hop that wasn't from the East or West coasts, and "rapcore", a genre combining punk and hip hop. Rapcore became known from Rage Against the Machine, Linkin Park, and Limp Bizkit. From this time, we also saw Eminem, who was immediately criticized for the pro-violence messages, anti-gay messages, and drug usage portrayed in his songs.
What began as a poetic neighborhood occurrence evolved as a way for downtrodden youths to express themselves. From there, the messages were ones of cultural pride, in a sense.
Pictured above: Johnny Cash
Created - around the 1920's
Notable artists - Johnny Cash, Dwight Yoakam, Neil Young
In the early 1900's, European and African immigrants came and settled down in Texas, bringing with them instruments relevant to their culture. The fiddle (Ireland), the dulcimer (Germany), the mandolin (Italy), the guitar (Spain), and the banjo (Africa) were among the most common. These instruments and the music that people played with them became synonymous with the term "hillbillies".
It's the 1930's, the time of the Great Depression. People not having money destroyed record sales, so live music and music played on the radio became incredibly popular. Thought it was a low point for the country, time allowed country music to flourish, blending country music and the sounds of "mountain music". Around this time, "western" music emerged, sung by cowboys, became popular in the western films that were being made during this time. Country music with a jazz influence, referred to as "western swing", rivaled big band jazz in terms of popularity. More styles were made known, such as "honky tonk", "boogie", and "bluegrass".
1956 was the year of "rockabilly" music, a style of country music that combined elements of country and rock and roll. In that year, three of the history's greats would top the charts with one of their singles. Elvis Presley with "Heartbreak Hotel", Johnny Cash with "I Walk the Line", and Carl Perkins, the personification of rockabilly music, with "Blue Suede Shoes". In the late 1960's, country musicians blended their own music with rock and created "country rock", featuring the Allman Brothers, the Grateful Dead, and the Eagles.
The two other notable genres that appeared in country music are "outlaw country", which can be described with the artist Willie Nelson, and "pop country."
Pictured above: Dolly Parton taking a nap
There are many other genres of music throughout history, such as ska, polka, and techno. While they deserve their own sections, they are unfortunately not relevant to the article. There aren't people complaining about how much ska sucks, though it aggravates people less than polka, and in some instances, techno.
This is Soulja Boy. He is a rapper. At the age of 19, he's become a record producer as well as a performer. At the age of 17, he produced his own song, "Crank That", which became a number one hit and stayed at the top of the charts for seven weeks, breaking a record previously held by pop icon, Debbie Gibson. Soulja Boy has been criticized by other figures in hip hop, such as Snoop Dogg, for moving away from what rap emphasized originally: the message.
This is Ice T. He is also a rapper. Ice T. is one of the best known figures in West Coast hip hop and is known for his album "O.G. Original Gangsta", which was something that defined gangsta rap. Over the years, he toured with his band "Body Count" and teamed up with music great Quincy Jones. Early on in his career, Ice T. was heard by Sire Records president, Seymour Stein, who said that Ice T. sounded like Bob Dylan.
Let's ignore the musical styles of the two rappers and compare their histories. Soulja Boy grew up in Chicago, but moved to Atlanta at age 6, where he developed a taste in rap music. By the age of 14, Soulja Boy had moved to Mississippi, where his father provided him with a studio so he could explore is musical interests. From there, he posted his music online, and gained exposure when "Crank That" was featured on "Entourage". Ice T. was born in Newark, New Jersey, and moved around a bit as a kid. After both of his parents died, Ice T. moved to Los Angeles to live with his aunt. After graduating form a high school in South Central Los Angeles, Ice T. joined the Army, and served as an infantryman for four years of his life. According to an interview with the "Daily Targum" from Rutgers University, it was an experience that he did not enjoy. In the article, it's also explained that after he finished his time in the Army, he fell into a life of crime.
When comparing the two, we notice first of all that the two rappers come from different pasts. Ice T. is someone who grew up in a rough neighborhood and was exposed to adversity at a very young age. Soulja Boy is a privileged youth who was handed his first opportunity.
In a comparison of the two, we can determine that Soulja Boy is a pussy. Privileged and primped, he was handed a studio and probably never got into a fight in his life. When he says "if we get the fightin', I'm cocking on you, I'm cocking on you", it can be safely assumed that he has never held a gun in his life and is therefore full of shit. Either that or he wants to pull his dick out when he's fighting someone. A cunning tactic, but he's fighting while he's got his dick in his hands. Besides, does this look like the kind of guy that you'd think would be pulling a gun on you?
Fuck no. He's too worried about his damn hat falling off.
The artists today didn't grow up in the same situation that people like Ice T. or Tupac, or the Notorious B.I.G. grew up in. They don't have the same experience that those artists did. When Soldier Boy yells, "I'm gonna shoot you!" you're inclined to think, "Bullshit." But if Ice T. yelled, "I'm gonna shoot you!" you'd be handing him your wallet in fear of losing your life. The experience that older rappers had makes their music real.
Hip hop culture has become synonymous with fame and wealth. Let's not forget to add sex to that list.
Take this guy, for instance. If you take a look at the lyrics in his songs, you'll find that a majority the songs are about money, women, or sex, or some combination of the three. Isn't there more to life, though? Why doesn't anyone rap about a litter of puppies born near the corner store, or curing cancer? There's more to life than just owning shit and getting laid, isn't there? We're bringing this up because it's not just the message in the songs of Kanye and Soldier Lad. It's the ONLY message in their songs. Hip hop culture is populated with performers who only sing about the fame that they have, and nothing else. There's something to be said about ego with hip hop artists, if you want to call them that.
While we're on the subject of ego, we must take another look at Kanye West, a man whose ego is large enough to the point where he has a seat at the UN. He swaggers around, calling himself the "voice of our generation". To a certain extent, he's right. People do like owning stuff, and he represents a popular genre of music and a fanbase that nowadays requires you to adorn yourselves with shiny and cumbersome jewelery to get recognized. It also promotes the gang life, which was originally, as described by Ice T., "surrogate families". But now, it seems that hip hop is more about pride and fame than it is about taking care of the people you grew up with in a place where you had to fight to make it through high school. Is Kanye West really what he says he is? There are plenty of people who would agree, but I wouldn't allow someone who screams about how talented they are (when they're really not), has no regard for anyone other than himself, and can't see anything other than caviar, Lamborghinis, and being part of the Mile High club as the finer things in life. Kanye isn't a musical genius. He's a spoiled brat, and, according to our President, "a jackass".
Along the same lines as rap, pop music has one theme, and that is it's full of love songs, or lust. That seems to be the thing with that genre. For instance, take Mariah Carey, one of the most widely regarded names in pop music and a talented performer, if you ignore her acting career. Let's compare two of her hit singles, "I Don't Wanna Cry", and "H.A.T.E.U.". After studying the nature of the songs, and the lyrics, you find that they're both about pain in the relationship with a significant other. There's a big difference in the period of time between when the two song were written. "I Don't Wanna Cry" debuted in 1991 and "H.A.T.E.U." in 2009. Two songs eighteen years apart that are about the same thing. Shows you how much shit pop artists have on the shelf. It would be safe to say that Mariah Carey is different from what she was in '91. She's married now, isn't she? Another example of someone who plays one type of tune is Britney Spears. Her psychotic antics aside, Britney hasn't stopped singing about "people getting with each other" since she started. Need examples? "Toxic", "Crazy", "Radar", and "If U Seek Amy", all about seeing that person across the waiting room at the dentist's office and wanting to take them back to the storage closet for a grope or two.
"That laughing gas wouldn't happen to be... TOXIC... would it?"
To be fair, Britney's been singing about the same thing because she's been through a fair amount of dudes. There's some sort of substance behind what she's saying, but does anyone care anymore?
At the time the songs first came out, the songs were relevant in regards to the artist. But as time goes by, it just gets old.
Country is along the same lines. Country music refers to life as a youth, a time when you had girls, beer, and your pick up truck, and artists sing about how much in love they are with each one. Toby Keith's got songs about all three: "Big Ol' Truck", "High Maintenance Woman", and "Get Drunk and Be Somebody". While there aren't a lot of songs about trucks in general, country artists, males that is, refer to their truck as a means to get to the bar, or meet their friends on the lookout over the town. The rest of country entails beer and women. Essentially, country music is full of alcoholics, womanizers, and car fetishists.
Keep this man away from your F-150.
Speaking of country music, have you ever listened to Bullet for my Valentine? They call themselves metal, but they aren't. They are whiny country artists. Metal has always been about the darker human emotions, but none of the older artists whined about being dumped.
"Whining is not metal!"
Right you are, Scott Ian.
That's not to say that Bullet for my Valentine doesn't have talented musicians, but the lyrics and the music don't match. They are better suited as country artists. If they want to remain metal artists they need to change their lyrics. Five Finger Death Punch is just as bad. The only difference between the two of them is that Bullet for my Valentine has talented musicians. The other dudes do not. Metal is about the dark rage ready to explode from your soul. When you listen to "Sweating Bullets", you get the idea that the guy is insane. To these new guys, the two I've mentioned and the metal artists who are fairly new, man up or start wearing cowboy hats.
The messages in mainstream music have been boiled down within the genres. Rap talks about fame and fortune, pop about heartbreak and lust, country about trucks, and metal about whining. To the mainstream community...
Sing about something else!
How did it get like this? Why are there no-talent hacks making millions for shitty songs? Why does music sound the same? The commercialization of music is to blame. As much as we hate to blame anything on corporations for risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, record companies are concerned with what sells, not necessarily what's good. Artists could be blamed for not standing up for themselves and their creativity, but there are people lined up behind them for the exact same opportunity, and if they're willing to sell their individuality and creativity, then it's moot.
So, music sucks because of greed. Greed from the artists, and greed from the people who sell their shitty records.
We leave anything out?
"ME STILL WANT WOMAN!"