A criticism of the music of the twenty-first century.
Philosophers such as Hegel stress the importance of history in our lives. Everything needs to be considered within a context. Beethoven created a new era of music known as the Romantic period. His music was inspired by nature and the beauty of it, and social justice, born in a time that brought with it great social changes. The late 1800s saw the start of gospel music, inspired by the work songs of Afro-American slaves. Even the 1960s brought The Beatles and artists of the sort, in a time of revolutions and fights for freedom and the “hippies”. Music, as everything else, needs to be understood within a context, a history. This brings to my mind a worrying thought.
I have heard the music that is trending today, the likes of Lady Gaga and even more extreme, the outburst of techno and electronic that has been ruling the stereos and mp3s of most children today. Where is this coming from? In ten years, what will people point out to have been the source for this music, music involving people dressed up as biblical figures, nudity, and the confirmation that time is not proportional to progress. Between artists that sing about washing their teeth with a bottle of Jack and artists that sing about loving the way one lies, it’s hard to decide what’s worse. Is this music what we want to look back on? Is this music what we want to make our children listen to with a sense of sweet nostalgia? Personally, I would be embarrassed as a parent to tell my child that I used to listen to such songs.
Where is this all coming from? The only thing I can come up with so far is that the music of the twenty-first century is proof that we are most definitely, not necessarily for the better, free. New artists want to show that they can do anything they want, say anything they want, and wear anything they want, and what’s even more shocking then seeing what the artists are wearing, is witnessing the youths of today mimicking them. Music went from the likes of Pink Floyd, where lyrics almost without fail carried a hidden message, to the likes of Willow Smith. Forgive me if I do not understand the hidden meaning within a song that states only that she whips her hair back and forth.
I might be generalizing, for I am sure that there are artists that are inspired by the beauty and the injustice of the world equally, but I honestly believe that these are the minority of artists gracing the twenty-first century with their presence. What would Beethoven say, artists who strived their whole life to express themselves through music, to make the people feel the same thing that they are feeling, if they could see such futile attempts to create music? If music must be seen within a context, what is the context here? Music videos involving murder poison, adultery, intoxication, what does it say about the world we are living in?