New Music Sucks Part II, So Who or Whom do we Blame for all of This?

Pt. II:  The Summer of 2012...  The Horror...

Fun. is a band that was unfairly, and unavoidably, thrust upon me.  No one should ever have anything this awful thrust upon them.  They’re like the 9/11 of music, terrible and tragic, and hopefully send us into a full on war against the industry and all terrible bands everywhere.  No shitty band, or harborer of said shitty band, will be safe.  Like Hitler’s invasion of Poland, Fun.’s releasing of “Some Nights” upon the world will only lead to their eventual demise.  Alright, sorry, maybe that’s a bit extreme, but they do suck, hard.  And it is also true that no one should have bad music thrust upon them.  This is my tale regarding Theory Three(Maybe it’s not that bad, and I just need to listen to it), I’ll get to Theory Two in a bit.

I was working in retail, a shitty paint store to be exact, and in the summer of 2012 we had a certain radio station, and I won’t specify which since I am in a band and need all the radio support I can get, on all day as our “background”music; and I say “background” because you can’t tune out all the awfulness that I was forced to listen to, ten hours a day, five days a week, for an entire summer.  2012 was the summer that Fun., the Lumineers, M*mf*rd *nd S*ns, the Head and the Heart, pretty much every band I despise, were the biggest things in Music, and I hated every minute of it.  And to rub salt on the wound, with a side of swift-kick-in-the-junk, they played them OVER and OVER and OVER again.  I think I heard twelve songs, and they cherry picked the very worst ones, repeated a THOUSAND fucking times a day.  If it was an iTunes playlist it would have been called “I hate Bradley Wik and I am going to endlessly torture him with a playlist specifically tailored to his disliking and to attack his every weakness and bring him to his knees until he prays for an easier way out, like say, I don’t know, death by drowning or being dragged through the desert like Clint Eastwood in "the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” It has become my life’s goal to never hear “We are Young” or “Some Nights” ever again. I would rather spend the rest of my life listening to the Soundtrack for Xanadu, then hear one of these songs again.  I have never been so dedicated, in all my life, to a cause before this.  I pray that I never hear that shitty, annoying, out of pitch(even though it sounds like Autotune is desperately trying its best but is on the verge of exploding with each terrible note) voice,  or those lyrics(which I would like to say are the worst I have ever heard, but, alas, the Head and the Heart claim the title for worst lyrics ever written.   M*mf*rd might have some worse ones, but that would require me to actually listen to a M*mf*rd song in its entirety and pay attention at least a little bit, which I am wholly unwilling to do), or any part of all those terrible sounds that they’ve put together, which they inexplicably call, since it bears no actual semblance to, music.  So far, I’ve been successful.  But the Summer of 2012 will forever be embedded in my memory, like a really bad break up I’m still not fully over, or my broken middle knuckle, which I broke in a fight when I was thirteen and has never fully healed correctly and still hurts when I lift things a certain way, which I always seem to forget and do constantly.  I could go on about Fun., and have many times, but for right now, the memory is too much to bear, so I’ll move on…

(to another topic in this discussion, I’ll probably never be able to fully move past the horrors of the Summer of 2012. Many hours of therapy have only helped me to cope with the disaster, but my life will never be the same...  So, anyways, moving on, this is my rationalization of Theory two, and I am, indeed, a bitter old man jaded by my love for classic Rock N’ Roll.)

Now, the problem with all of this, which I mentioned earlier, is that for some reason, unbeknownst and unfathomable to me, people like this music.  And as I said before, I don’t fault them for it in the sense that it is fully their right to like something shitty, and it is shitty, though they will probably tell you that since they like it, they see it as good, and that’s true, but it’s only a truth in their own little messed-up, misguided world, not the one we all have to share with these idiots.  Many times I have had the “All art is subjective, and therefore, you cannot definitively and quantifiably say something is bad, or in fleshing out that theory, good either.  It is merely art and the only true judge a person need is him or herself,” and this is all bullshit. “Some Nights” or whatever the fuck any of the M*mf*rd *nd S*ns albums are called, are in no way equal to, say, “Thriller” or “Born to Run” or “Revolver” or “Blood on the Tracks.”  Now to be fair, not many albums are.  But, using those as a point of comparison, as a jumping off point if you will, we can see that “Some Nights”and whatever the fuck any of the M*mf*rd *nd S*ns albums are called, are so far away from anything resembling what we might call “Good Music” that they might as well be polar opposites, and could very well be used to represent the other extreme of our musical litmus test; “Born to Run” or “Blood on the Tracks” turn the paper blue and signal sitting on the throne of greatness,  while“Some Nights” or whatever the fuck any of the M*mf*rd *nd S*ns albums are called turn the paper red and signify sitting on a porta-john, with syphilis on the seat.

I’ve also heard the argument that people like the aforementioned bands because they might be the best option available.  That yeah, they aren’t great but they are much better than all the stuff on top-40 radio, which I can’t even begin to name since I am so far removed from that world, but I do know there is lots of Autotune and is supposed to make people dance but should make people Van Gogh their fucking ears off; and people need to listen to something.  This, again, is a bullshit answer.  Music is art, and therefore fluid and alive and it can never die once it is released to the world, it is timeless.  Given this,  there is no grading on a curve for new music.  Like in Baseball, you are constantly judged by all those who came before you, and always will be.  No one forces people to listen to music from only their generation; if they are too lazy or don’t care enough to go out to a record store and find something better, it is their own damn fault and no one elses.  And, therefore,  I have no pity for them, and I can make fun of and mock them all I damn please without even a twinge of that Catholic Guilt rising back up, like an Easter Jesus, trying to make me feel like shit about everything that I do.  And it most certainly does not mean that their music is any better just because they didn’t take the time to fully appreciate anything else.  Ignorance doesn’t make new music better, it only reinforces and displays their own ignorance for all to see.  But because of all these people listening to and buying the records and going to the shows of these terrible artists, the people deciding the future of music are making money off of those same terrible artists.  And since people who have money generally like to have more money, they are constantly trying to find whatever new band fits this current fad, and follow the same old business model which just made them money, in order to make the always lucrative “more money.”  And this is the issue I take with these people who like these terrible bands:  it inflicts more terrible bands, ones who are trying to copy the already shitty ones and failing, therefore systematically spiraling downward, dumbing itself down with each copy of a copy.  For instance, the Lumineers and the Head and the Heart are just crappier versions of M*mf*rd *nd S*ns(if that’s even possible), and I know there are countless bands “influenced” by the Lumineers and the Head and the Heart, but inexplicably worse(I’ve played shows with many, trust me), which I won’t glorify and name.  And so it goes, on and on downwards into oblivion…


But all of this is not meant to place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the consumers, as much of the blame, well, most of the blame, should still still be hurled towards those with the money and the power:  the music industry.  A decade or so ago, maybe even before that, but that was the first I heard of this happening, music labels starting handing over power from “music” people to “business” people.  These men and women could care less about the “art” of it all and started chasing money, as there was loads and loads of it kicking around back then and they were bound and determined to get the biggest chunk they could, cash out and live the life of Riley, not at all worried about the wake of destruction(shitty music) they have left behind for all of us.  The problem that they, for some reason, couldn’t see, is that this would create a lack in the talent gathering and developing department.  Simply put, the best bands don’t always make the most money, at least not initially.  It takes time to cull a great catalogue of music and it didn’t always mesh perfectly with the new, internet-crazed, ADHD-diagnosed, using prescription pills for getting up and prescription pills for getting back down again society which needed its next “fix” as quickly as it will eventually discard it.  So, instead of packing up and preparing for the long haul, these “music execs” decided it was easier to cash in on fads and keep their jobs another week than to invest in real musicians in it for the long haul.  And thusly, and not surprisingly, it all fell apart, as do most get-it-while-its-hot business strategies(see:  housing market crash).  The dumbest part of all of this is that they are not only forcing us to miss out on tons and tons of great music, but they are also missing out on their cash cows of the future.  Nobody makes more money to this day than Bruce Springsteen or the Rolling Stones or U2 or Madonna or Bon Jovi, but almost none of those artists would have been allowed the time to become the mammoths they are in these modern, terrible times; Madonna excepted as she was just as brilliant at marketing herself as her music was, and, like the great chameleon, molding and shaping the way she was/is perceived by others, would’ve figured out something.  Which I suppose they all were great at marketing themselves to a degree, but not quite in the same way.  The other guys mainly did it the old fashioned way of making great Albums, not just a few singles and filler(with a few exceptions, of course, no one is perfect), and working hard on the road and building a very supportive, and lifelong fan base.  But there are currently no more bands to fill that void.  I remember watching the Hurricane Sandy benefit show and thinking that all of those bands and artists have been around forever and soon they will be gone, both figuratively and literally, and there will be no one left for the next star-studded event or benefit for whatever might come up(the world is a crazy place and getting crazier all the time, so I can only imagine, or rather, try not to imagine).  I could feel us slowly moving towards the edge and once we turn the corner we’ll all be staring at each other wondering where all the guardians went.  The Kings and Queens of Rock N’ Roll will soon be gone, no more Boss or U2 or Billy Joel or Rolling Stones or Bob Dylan or Neil Young, with no one to pass the baton to.  Which I suppose is exactly what this new generation of hipsters wants, no greatness, just mediocrity.  But I strongly feel, and always will, that we need our heroes.  We need someone to take us out of our own lives.  We need those giants to look up to and aspire to be like.  Anyone can make mediocre music, and that’s what makes the hipsters feel good about themselves, that they can do it too; and they do, in droves.  There’s thousands upon thousands of mediocre-to-shitty bands all over the place, and that’s fine, as long they have fun and, more importantly, we don’t glorify them.  They don’t deserve it and shouldn’t receive it.  The Rock N’ Roll Gods will punish us for bestowing it upon them.  Well, I guess from the looks of it, they already have…