Sunday, July 22, 2007

7-22-07: Classic Rock vs. Today's Rock

I've noticed that most people my age, early 20's, listen to really bad music. It's not just "different" music. It's bad music. It's good entertainment, yes. You can't deny that. If some one enjoys listening to something, it's, by default, good entertainment. It is when people say "This music is fucking great," when I often beg to differ.

I don't know enough about rap to make any good observations or insights, but what little rap I do listen to tends to be more "intellectual" in nature (e.g. Kanye West, Jay-Z, etc.) that I find to be cleverly done. Public Enemy and Cypress Hill are also good examples of smart rap. It's annoying, though, when I hear songs that are sampled from classic rock songs, or R&B, and the artists who make the songs into backgrounds for another "grindin' with my hos drinkin' 40's" songs that are meant to generate money from the music videos and shoe endorsements. Are they successful at it? Yes, they're quite good at what they aim to do. But, when an artist like Coolio (remember him?) makes a pretty good song called "Gangsta's Paradise," but refuses to let some one like Weird Al Yankovic do a cover of it, I get a little frustrated. Why? Because Coolio sampled a Stevie Wonder song and used it as the background! Listen to "Passtime Paradise" by Stevie Wonder and you'll know. Coolio took that song and changed a few lyrics around. Then, when Yankovic asked permission to do a parody, Coolio originally said yes, but denied it later. Coolio, you're a glorified thief, and you took a good song by a fantastic artist and never gave him credit. You deserve nothing from it. Funny song by Weird Al, too: "Amish Paradise."

But the main point I wanted to make, sorry for the aside, is how bad most rock music is today. I don't even pay attention to pop. That shit is just annoying. "All American Rejects" are to rock music what cancer is to blood cells. They get away with whiny vocals and bullshit lyrics and hope that their fans like their new chorus, which sounds just like the chorus in their previous hit, but with a different chord change when the bass player begins to cry. It's brutal to listen to.

MOST rock songs are bad, but not all of them. Queens of the Stone Age are great. Most alternative bands are pretty good. I love Red Hot Chili Peppers, because they put thought into their songs' entire structures: lyrics, rhythm, vocal progressions, everything. Does that make these bands better? In my opinion, yes, but only musically. I will never say a band is truly awful unless: a) they're terribly musicians and b) no one likes listening to them. If you're not entertaining AND you're no good musically, you are truly an awful band. Otherwise, if you've got talent, or people like you, keep at it. You're making yourself and somebody else happy. Just don't let me hear you if you can't write songs, please.

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