Sunday, September 9, 2007


So of course I am watching the Britney Spear's predictable hot mess train wreck TV awards like everyone else and i am sitting here wondering about the state of music. Justin Timberlake said something about this being an exciting time for music....I'm wondering, is he just saying that because he's huge right now? I mean, I had nothing to do with the momentous surge of music that I grew up with besides sheer devotion and that was enough to make me feel like the music was a complete and perfect part of me. I was in it.
So why does this time in music feel so alien to me? I don't find it exciting, I find it perplexing and increasingly disappointing. I cringe to think it's because I'm older and i just don't get it. I won't believe that. That seems like kind of a cop-out anyway. I've lent my ear to alot of what's been going on in music and I think either I am just not hearing what everyone else is hearing or I am truly mad, locked in a solitary world where only what's relevant is what I like. People were praising Britney's single before the MTV thing like it was the next great dance hit. What did I hear?
Over synthesized, tired beats on top of her nasally voice. I heard desperation, I heard Jennifer Lopez, some recent Madonna, Janet, Fergie (don't get her at all) and as much as I hate to admit it, even some Gwen... I have never been a fan of Spears' but it was truly sad because her performance, no matter how crap it was, summed up the overall state of music for me. "If I throw some shit together, wrap it all nice and pretty, they will buy it, hook line and sinker". And she will, even after the hoopla dies down over her meltdown. The radio stations will play her song ad nauseum and people will be driving or sitting in a food court going: "Well, I never really liked this song before, but..." It's enough to make me scream.
What happened to glossy production value mixed with true entertainment? Even My old (and I mean OLD) friends Janet and Madonna have chosen to take the whore (Not just literally but musically as well) approach to entertaining us. And yes, that's kind of what they were always about but, was it ever this bad??? At least Madonna gave the semblance of a whore with class, a whore with a decent stylist for feck's sake. (Britney, take notes, for the love of god, take notes!) I'm babbling, alot, but I think My point, although somewhat skewered, has been made. What happened to music? Why does Beyonce have to come out with ten thousand singles in three months to be relevant? Why do musicians feel the need to act? Why was Justin Timberlake (Who i am no fan of) the only voice of reason when he said MTV needs to start actually playing music again? What scares me is perhaps it's too late.
Who's saying something today, without losing all the glitz of showbiz? Who's preserving the mystery that fans need to stay interested? Amy Winehouse, bless her. The big hair, the applying eye makeup in the dark thing, even the drugs (Very sad and dangerous however), it's her persona, and she is working it. Alicia Keys, even though I seriously questioned her wardrobe choice that night, (Great boots, fire whoever recommended the headband) she reminds us that you can still be passionate about music and still be very cool. John Mayer's words are so uncanny for so many people my age it's like, dude enough already...get out of my head. He's pretty much all I listen to right now. I find it awesome that all of my black friends love him and all of my white friends think he is lame, too "safe", kind of about affirmative action!
Jill Scott can do no wrong with her voice. Her take on "Baby you got me" with the Roots from "Chappelle's Block Party" gives me chills every time I hear it. I love the fact that she isn't super famous yet. (or ever will be) That makes her even more timeless. I 'm saying it here: give or take 20 years, Jill Scott will be legend. So this is an exciting time in music...hmmm...this is a very interesting time in music. One thing MTV tried with the awards (and got horribly wrong), was that people are more willing to experiment, to overlap genres of music, to make the whole thing one big Hip-hop, rock, blues, soul, dance, crunk, metal, emo (still don't know WTF that is) party. And that is cool. But without so much pretense disguised as genius or talent.....please?

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