I don’t buy my music from iTunes, but I know it’s a popular place for many people. I find myself now buying directly from the artists’ stores in hopes that more goes into their pocket and sometimes I get a merch bundle because I like shirts haha. But once in a while, I will go on iTunes and browse the top charts to see what is going on with album sales. Curiosity got the best of me this past weekend, and I noticed that Frank Sinatra was sitting at spot 48 on the entire iTunes chart. Amongst friends or people that have discussed music with me, I’ve used Sinatra as a prime example of timeless music. In today’s landscape, I think we’re in trouble on being memorable.
One thing that I have observed in my relatively short life, is that everything has been pushed towards convenience, speed, or being disposable. The days of all families sitting down to dinner together are long gone and the world has continued to rapidly pick up pace. I’ve watched quality television disappear, news become an entertainment program filled with opinions, and most entertainment has become cheapened; essentially just centered around viral content or what’s hot.
Look, I get it, times change and I can take some change, but music has especially been tough to swallow. Now I believe Texas country is really one of the best country hot-spots you will find and artists like Wade Bowen, Cody Canada, Turnpike, and the like are putting out music that future country fans will enjoy long after these guys have hung it up. But mainstream music across all genres concerns me, because if you look at many of the stars, there’s less emphasis on a good song and more on the whole WOW factor. Sure, artists like Adele and Sam Smith are some impressive artists that are putting out some seriously good music that just may keep their names being talked about for years to come. There are so many others out there though, that are held in such high regard and I don’t understand what they can offer us years from now. Think of all the commercials or movies that use a love song or even some light-hearted material, many of the songs come from the heydays of classic rock or the greats like Elvis, Sinatra, Bing Crosby and others. It leaves me wondering, what will we say of the music and entertainment today, 50 years from now?
While I’m not perfect and admittedly do curse at times, why is that now in our music…and accepted? Again, my age group has seen some pretty radical changes in TV and music. Pardon my French, but ass and bitch were never used on television around 15-20 years ago and now that’s OK on network television. While not the biggest deal in the world, it’s a sign of loosening our standards and who’s to say it will end there? Look at artists like FGL, Luke Bryan and the like who clearly sex-up their music. Is that timeless? We’re all human, but sometimes there are ways of being less explicit in how we go about things.
Now you may be reading this article and think it’s tone is harsh or just looking for an outlet to complain. That’s not the case at all, but rather to give my take on how we have changed our outlook on what we view as a quality product. Having been sucked into bro-country for a brief period, it was because I didn’t know of any other option. I didn’t have anything to compare it to other than the country that had become stale on mainstream radio. Since I have used technology to my advantage to find books, music and movies I like, my outlook has changed because I now can measure what’s offered to me against what I find on my own. I learned there is a difference and I believe many may disagree, because they may not have had the same experience to be able to compare quality and what is just readily available.
Having written this before Tom Petty passed away, his death only solidifies my beliefs that we are watching the true innovators - who many embraced, slowly pass on and leave some very big shoes to fill.
Just a Massachusetts guy supporting Texas and other independent country/Americana artists.
Check out my spotify for good tunes!