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Entry #1

My thoughts

2007-11-11 04:13:43 by Suspended-3rd-Chord
Updated

This is my first blog post if you have not noticed....in response to iros industrial here.

I was originally going to post this under his personal column, but thought I would address this to anyone who happens to stumble across my page, and I also get a little off tangent. My blog is also not completely directed toward him.
Multiple critics (not targeting any group here) are labeling a lot of mainstream music or whatever instantly appears on MTV as complete crap without giving fair criticisms. You can't put a universal definition on what's good music or bad music. noise = sound waves. music = sound waves.

You can judge music on technicality...except being able to compose and/or perform complex and/or difficult music will not always equate to producing good music. (usually the simpler riffs are the more catchy ones)

With that said, 80-90% of modern mainstream music composed is based on simple melodies and catchy rhythms that usually are in a simple time signature and phrasing pattern emphasizing vocals and lyrics. It's attracted a wide fanbase throughout the world and millions enjoy it. Why stop marketing this type of music?

The only point I mostly agree with Iros Industrial on is #4(I don't necessarily disagree with the other three, they just need to be thought out more thoroughly). Producers are letting music get molded with visual depictions and personal which I think can damage having full creativity of your music. (Can you honestly say it's only been this way for the past 15 years though?) If you don't have the appearance or a concert- charismatic personality(which shouldn't have anything to do with music) then you're music probably won't get popular. This in a sense is destroying music-well maybe not exactly, it just might be a consolidation of two arts(and seeking more $$ needless to say). You also need to take the target audience in consideration as well. A crusty old musician will consider a Hillary Duff or Hannah Montana (sp) crap-which is fine, because their market is particularly 8-14 year old girls.

Many consider the vocal style of screaming crap. In his first point he says it's only good when its used "right?" How is the scream genre screaming right when a genre like Death Metal doesn't? screamo emphasizes the more emotional and poetic side of vocals, while death metal focuses more on primal, evil sounding feel to add onto a track. They add lots of intensity and power which you wouldn't be able to accomplish any other way in a vocal sense. You should never limit ways to express emotion.

#2 is again subjective (but hey we have the right to state our opinions). Basically he's saying that having a shitty vocalist will always result in shitty music. What about having a sloppy guitarist? A boring bassist? A dull drummer? Why exactly does the singer have to be the face and determinant of the group? Again saying someone is shitty is subjective(if you can hit pitches correctly and stay in key, and on time, then you don't suck). If you look around on newgrounds (comprised mostly of indie artists) you can usually extract negatives out of their stuff but you shouldn't stop listening to it because you here one element that you don't like. Here's a personal example of mine, in my opinion I think the vocalist of Dream Theater's style is annoying because it's too "epic" and high pitched for my taste, but I still love listening to the band for their amazing guitar, keyboard, drumming, and bass compositions that appeals to my ears. The drummer in White Stripes can be considered dull and repetitive for multiple reasons, but theyre still successful for their guitar and vocal work(in comparison, the guitarist/vocalist might not be famous if it wasn't for simple drum beats to back up his work)

Ahh #3....I HATE when people classify rap for being nothing more than people just talking about hos, rims, money...you need to delve more into the genre before you say that. Don't like rap/hip hop? Fine, but dont make rash generalizations based on what you've seen on TV.

He concludes his blog with saying he can't wait until the day when this "tasteless garbage" is gone. Our children and grandchildren may say the exact same thing towards the popular music of their age. If we kept limiting people to what they cannot produce, we'd still be singing dull gregorian chants that are older than Jesus. If it wasn't for the experiments of "tasteless garbage" from people before us, then there would be no metal, techno, hip hop, DnB, pop, jazz, etc., genres. There would be less variety. There would be less ways to compose and share yourself through music.

What I'm saying here could be completely wrong. But music nowadays is more driven by money and fame moreso then the actual desire to make something that genuinely sounds audibly pleasant to you. The entertainment world is based on its economy. I don't see any solution to this problem(depending on how you look at it) to this in the future so good luck not hearing "tasteless garbage" in mainstream media ten or twenty years down the road.

Still state why you think music is bad...if you're giving an insightful explanation behind it. Make sure to consider the context, purpose, and audience behind the piece. My point is, don't limit expression. Art doesn't have boundaries. Experiment, fuse, don't be afraid to be original, listen to different styles, learn and analyze, explore new worlds.

Please share your opinions and thoughts! I don't necessarily expect you to agree; but I atleast hope you can see where I'm coming from.

Later! Thanks for your patience if you read it all the way through :)

-S3C-


Comments

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DazmiDazmi

2007-11-11 05:10:40

I agree with most of what you're saying.
It depends what generation you come from too.

My grandma is very into Christain Rock & The Blues.
My Dad is into Classic Rock & stuff like, beatles & Bob Dylan.
Im into stuff like Avril Lavinge, Green Day, etc.

I know when I'm older I'm gonna hate what's gonna become Modern Music, but that's because I'll be an old fart by then, or at least that's what I think.

Suspended-3rd-Chord responds:

yes, generation does make a huge difference in setting your taste in music. It may be something when you're young and gradually changes as you're older. I still love listening to old school, early 90s VG music. The stuff that I listened to when I was 10-11(Limp Bizkit, Blink 182) not so much.

you said you're into newer generation bands such as Green Day, but you do you like older rock like Led Zeppelin and stuff that you're dad's into as well?

I too probably will dislike the mainstream modern music in 10-20 years, only because it's tending to shift towards the accomodations and luxuries obtained from the career rather than the actual music itself. Although you can make a case that its been this way for years...but notice how channels like MTV and VH1 are getting taken over by reality shows and celebrity gossip? There will still be outlets were indie, underground, and obscene artists can display their music as the digital world provides an advantage that we didn't have one or two decades ago.

Thanks for your input Dazmi.


redjkn87redjkn87

2007-11-13 00:25:30

I can agree towards what your saying S3C.

I always think of music is changing cause people experimenting the way it is and/or the change from one generation to the next. Yet, Does it seem that we get this rap/hip hop stuff now like how we gotten the 60's to the 80's music from surrounding enviroment of change. We get crappy music from artists that grow up in crappy places (even though I cant prove that, but just stating it from the past history).

Anyway, I'm going to apply that music is becoming a business because of supply and demand from people. Now, music starting to become over rated from (how should I put this) abuse. Older people hate it, yet younger kids love it from just growing up listening to it. Again, music seems to be made from taste, generation, and problems around the world.

Aright, I'm out... I'm tired right now and I hope I'm making sense because my eyes seem to be burry...
---redjkn87---

Suspended-3rd-Chord responds:

yes, you made sense in what you're saying, thanks for your input:)

Music is definetly becoming more of a buisness, but why can't you draw the same conclusions about it being more buisness oriented the last few decades as well? Experimental styles are allowing people to supposedly produce easier types of music? No, that cant necessarily be right(Beatles song are pretty simple). I think it has a lot to do with a lot of actual musicians writing THE music for prettier, more TV-media oriented people to sing or play. (I can't necessarily back this up with any evidence, it's just circulated that some pop artists get people to write their music for them and they perform, so take this with a grain of salt) That is what's become a major change in this era, atleast for some bands. and again, this isnt necessarily a bad thing, but possibly allowing two different types of artists to coincide with each other. Some people can't perform music well, some people , can't write music (anyone can really write music tho if they try and have an inspiration to do so!). I would just think its much more fruitful if you both create, get to know your music and illustrate your emotions through this medium, and then display the works to your audience.


war-spawnwar-spawn

2007-11-16 02:41:47

Music isn't changing, the listener is changing. Now a days, everyone wants to be materialistic, and always wanting to know what's "hot" on the streets. For instance, when you look at hip-hop, back in the 90s, you had a bunch of ill lyricists with something to say. You has Nas, Canibus, Ghostface, A Tribe Called Quest, The Roots, and a bunch of other people. Thing is that people weren't feeling that vibe because those artists were on another plain, yet the listeners weren't educated enough to keep up with em. So basically, hip-hop has went back to caveman status to idolizing simplicity and shiny things. As far as other genres go, I cannot speak on the subject since my knowledge beyond hip-hop isn't the greatest, but I do know hip-hop like the back of my hand. Also, there is no such thing as bad music. Only the amount of effort put into a song. When you've been making music for years, you can tell who puts a lot of work into their songs, and who doesn't, no matter how much people like it. Music is only as good as the eye that perceives it. So if you make music, and put minimal effort to it, it's more than likely people aren't going to take you seriously. I guarantee if someone puts his heart's content in a track, people will respect the work he has done. =D

Suspended-3rd-Chord responds:

"music isnt changing, the listener is changing"

I would have to say its a mixture of both. Although when thinking deeply that out it is rather quite a complex concept. I think experimentation and doing certain things by accident makes changes in music as well. Music has been around for centuries and its hasnt always been materialistic, but if I did long research I could probably dig up that its been its been the way since the 90s and even before then. But I do see how music would change to become more marketable to larger audiences, hence dumbing it down to "caveman status" to make it more available to listeners. I mean no disrespect to lyricists, I recognize that it takes a lot of literary skills and lyric wise it is my favorite type of music. But I've always prefered listening to the beat, the instruments, and the synths, so if its got a nice beat with a catchy vocal melodies then its all good with me. So I see your point, and I'd have to agree. When you say there is no such thing as bad music, that was pretty much what I was getting at. Interesting conversation here.

anyways very cool post, thanks for the insight!


wyldfyre1wyldfyre1

2007-11-29 18:43:32

i'll have to say i agree with most of whats said here. In the long run however music is what people make of it.. I have certian types of music that i can't stand however i vote fairly on it here. As a fellow artist thats just how i feel.

anyway keep on keeping on man!

Suspended-3rd-Chord responds:

yea, I try to not hand out scores biased by my tastes, but in reality since music is subjective you will probably will unconsciously in one way or another. I rarely hand out scores below a 7 and if someone gets a score below this, its probably because there's completely horrible sound quality or it is nearly unfinished.

yes I will keep on keeping on :P thanks for the response.


snoballandthmonyshotsnoballandthmonyshot

2007-12-09 12:58:42

well said in the main, i didn't read the post this is a response to but i think i get the drift. tis true, it is all subjective and no matter how much you disagree with someones oppinnion it is valid and they have a right to it (even tho a lot of peoples tastes are admittedly indefensable). it is not a subject worth ranting about as it is the fucking way she goes. I myself don't like the majority of mainstream music so i don't listen to it, simple as that. people often say have you heard this or that and i go 'who?' and i'm told a certain song was at No.1 in the charts for weeks, how could i not have heard it? coz i don't pay attention. if what is on MTV is so offensive to you steer clear of it and consentrate on what is appealing to you and more importantly, if you make music yourself, work hard at what you like.
As for the rap thing, well, go and check out some anticon stuff, Doseone etc, not a bitch or ho in sight, just highly inventive musicality and poetic lyricism.
i agree, ability is in no way an indication of quality. just listen to jay mascus from dinosaur junior or the bird from sonic youth, they arguably have shit voices but they freaking rule, again, subjective.
erm, i don't think i've written anything of any worth there, sorry:/
;ped

Suspended-3rd-Chord responds:

nah man thanks a bunch for posting. you dont really need to read the other blog, you got the main gist- music is subjective and theres no measurement of determing how good or what makes music, music. I especially dislike when people dont even give reasons why they disagree with a certain track and just automatically dismiss it because its not in their taste.

anyways, sonic youth is pretty sweet, i'll have to check out dinosaur jr. It also looks like you got a new track up! i'm pretty excited to listen to it, i'll drop a comment on it tommorrow when I'm done with finals :D


endlessnumberendlessnumber

2007-12-23 20:17:34

I think there *are* levels of good and bad in music.

Examples:
The Doors > The Cars
Led Zeppelin > Lynyrd Skynyrd
Armin Van Buuren > Me
Me > Tiesto (:P)

I think it's fair that you can determine just how good an artist is by how prolific they are, how popular they become, and how complex their music is. Likewise, you can probably judge a piece of music by how popular it is/was, how many people know it, how complex it is, etc. But all of these are subjective. Subjective judgment still matters though, because if you put together votes someone comes out on top.

Suspended-3rd-Chord responds:

since music is subjective (like you mentioned) then when grading musicians and bands you can take elements like popularity and complexity for developing a criteria.

But then again there's loophoples in these type of judgements, look at someone like Avril Lavigne or Britney Spears. Then look at a band like DreamTheater or Spiral Architect. Those two ladies get way more fame and recognition. Does that make them better artists?

Then look at the idea of making music complex. I could post a recording of myself playing offbeat drums alongside out of tune guitars and claim that its some super complex mathetmatical formula. Will that make me sound better? Does that make me a better musician?

not sure if that made perfect sense but I hope you get the idea-I think war-spawn has the best post (look above) on how to determine levels of good and bad music. Anyway, thanks a bunch for your comment endlessnumber!


NikeThanatosNikeThanatos

2007-12-27 07:56:49

No, I don't believe in Gods. I just put my faith in ma man Buddha, and he provides.

Suspended-3rd-Chord responds:

good looking girlfriend btw ;)


NavNav

2008-01-19 22:08:29

Bravo, bravo on that speech. Here is my counter argument.

Listening to this music, called boring and unoriginal, isn't really what I enjoy doing. Personally, I actually enjoyed the pop music scene a few years back, until I've realized what it had become. If you listen to 80s pop, it is a totally different world, along with 80s hiphop and rap.

The pop in the 80s was lighthearted stuff! With people singing about love, among other things, and happy, buzzing synthesizers in the background. What we hear today on the radio is a perversion of that. I know what I'm talking about here, so don't criticize me. I've listened to more pop tunes than many people here. The songs nowadays are not about simple love and having fun, but they are an exaggeration of this simple idea! The artists sing about their money, and sex, along with drugs, with simple synth hooks which would appeal to the modern teenager. Now, I can't just say "the modern teenager" without giving an explanation.

Disclaimer: these are all my ideas, and I am not responsible for whether or not the following is correct. It all started in the 80s, as I said. This was when hiphop and pop music were just beginning to gain popularity. The hiphop was completely different from today, it contained silly, lighthearted lyrics, intended to amuse rather than to sell. This died when West Coast took over. It turned the playful lyrics into emotional tales of woe and fighting, with some inappropriate language included. Since children are naturally inclined to disagree with their parents, they decided to listen to this music, as the parents did not condone offensive language. The producers picked up on this trend, and began to add more and more offensive language and simple hooks to the music, until it became an endless stream of swear words backed by simple melodies. This was a progressive change, that happened over time. The sad part is that the kids accepted this change, and this popularized the genre even more.

Now, these producer were looking for ways to get money, and they succeeded... They were all signed with major record labels, and, due to the massive fan base, could get away with selling their music for much more than necessary. Read (http://www.demonbaby.com/blog/2007/10 /when-pigs-fly-death-of-oink-birth-of .html) for more information on record company corruption, and how it relates to piracy in general. However, this is not a piracy discussion. I'll get back to the point.

This progression perverted the one fun, happy genre into something that many could not bear to listen to. You can still hear the old skool influences in the modern music, with the light, snappy snares, and the basic rhythms, but all of the stuff that made it appealing to me, aka the humor and the grimy drums, rather than clean, is now gone. However, due to the rules of retro-ness, this will come back, and it already has, mainly with the genre "old skool hiphop."

Personally, I enjoy this music. It was an influence behind a lot of music that I really enjoy, including drum and bass, especially old skool. Many, many breakbeats have been sampled from old skool hiphop songs. However, I cannot appreciate this old as the new. My brother recently bought Crank Dat, by Soulja Boy, off of iTunes. Listening to the track, I hear that every instrument is an FL Preset, and the lyrics are basic and repetitive. There is no innovation, or even skill being shown by the production of that track. This tasteless music prompted my friend and I to create a parody: http://www.newgrounds.com/audio/liste n/113781.

I hope you can realize why I don't appreciate this music, and maybe you will understand the reasons a bit more. I know why you created this argument, and you did it preaching the positive aspects of listening, mainly keeping an open mind, but I cannot keep an open mind when I see what has become of this music.

http://techno.org/electronic-music-gu ide/music.swf is where I got my info on old skool hiphop, and I even used similar terminology as used in his comparison of Classic and Uplifting trance.

I hope this clarifies things!

(Updated ) Suspended-3rd-Chord responds:

Wow, thanks for the in-depth, intellectual response nav :D

It's been a while since someone has commented on my blog, so I had to reread what I wrote, I see that I branched on to a lot of different subjects and my blog was mainly arguing/explaining one broad idea. You seem to be mainly making a personal argument on why the music of today is inferior to the music of yesterday and give an analysis of why certain styles have downgraded over time. While I agree to disagree with what you said (and I certainly do understand where you are coming from), my main, intended purpose of writing this blog (which is not blatantly put) does not directly correlate with making a comparison between certain "eras" or "movements" of music, but looking at what the future *can* hold while trying to use as little of my bias, personal opinions on tracks, genres, and artists, and personal experiences as possible.

I still stick with my main point, "don't limit expression". And in your third paragraph where you are giving a contrast between 80s music/modern music you give off the impression that you would disagree. What's wrong with singing about those ideals? And I'm quite sure those topics aren't exclusively used today. I know little about the poetic side of music, but the "sex, drugs, rock and roll" themes (not just the hit song) started before the 80s and you can make a similar complaint about what artists sing about then, and this encompasses more than just rock/metal musicians. Anyway, I don't think any lyricist should be confined to singing about just lighthearted content. If you search you will certainly find music related to the moods/emotions and contain elements like you talk about, even in the mainstream.

I would also like to know what makes music that contains images of fighting and violence bad. Or how inappropriate (by the way, what sources are you using to deem certain words inappropriate?) language would negatively affect music...or why listening to music for rebellious reasons would be degrading? You can make a case that the genre of DnB actually was influenced from all these diluting characteristics that you state...mainly from cyberpunk, which I can send you a document on if you are interested...

You also infer that using a "simple synth" is another negative point about modern music. I explained that using technicality is an arduous criterion when trying to grade music above and in a response to endlessnumber. Simplicity can be taken both under a positive or negative light. Simplicity can be a good element to use in music if an artist is going for a laidback, relaxing mood. A good portion of catchier (which is widely subjective, again) riffs are essentially developed from an uncomplicated premise. An example of using simplicity that I do not agree with would be a musician being too lazy to utilize more effort within their works. I guess that could be considered a problem moreso today (you mentioned Soulja Boy below) given the audience we have...but then again, why should the amount of effort you put into music if the end result is something that sounds decent? (and again, I hope you don't just categorize modern musicians as the only group that focuses on simplicity)

I think a very valid point that you make and supports your side, and which I should have discussed more in depth, is how music today is more intended to sell than amuse. When you try to sellout, what commonly happens is an artist will try to mimic popular ideas which may decrease their own personal flair. Asides from just the compositional/production effect this may have on an artist's work is music becomes more of a business than just an art. I find that rather unfortunate when money becomes the primary motivation. I would rather hear what a musician has to say and play from the heart, rather than to hear something that has been corroded from a non-emotional medium.

And with that said, I'm going to kinda contradict myself here. You mention musicians producing basic compositions and dry lyrics to appeal to the modern teenager...is that exactly a bad step to take? After all, music means nothing when there are no ears to listen to it. Therefore, making music directed at a certain audience should not always be frowned down upon. When giving criticism while reviewing audio on NG, a critique might be "that chord progression uses too much dissonance" or the "kick doesn't have enough bass" or "that rhythm could flow better". Why? Because it sounds better to us. The appeal will be greater among a certain audience. If we didn't want our music to grow then there would be no need reviews. Sure, reviews will help individuals progress as musicians, but certainly mostly everybody wants their slice of fame in one manner or another. How would you feel if you have a mass of more talent a couple years from now (hypothesize that the same styles retain the same level of prominence), but get the same amount of views? It may not be money driven in this case, but it could be backed by reaching the Top 30 list or achieving 100 downloads or so. I for one (and I know I'm far from being able to accomplish) wouldn't mind receiving that recognition if it means composing a techno track, for example. Although these two paragraphs are in opposition, it provides a reason of possibly why certain music of today shouldn't be looked down upon. I think warspawn made a great post regarding what makes music good, you should read what he said- furthermore, I should probably edit my blog to quote him.

So yes-I definitely do understand why you personally dislike the music of today. As a matter of fact I'm really not fond of it either, for reasons which I cannot completely explain. But there is a difference between what I dislike and what I consider "bad".

I'm also glad you brought up Soulja Boy's Crank Dat and how he uses presets, because that's what my next blog will be about...just need to conduct a survey first to gather some info...

Anyways, thanks a lot for that long, good read man. Lots of interesting discussion in your post :) . Critical debating always gets me in the mood for doing homework. which just signifies how much of a loser since its midnight on a Saturday :P