No, seriously, what happened? I remember being a teenager, when music controlled who your friends were. Music defined who you were as a person for anywhere upto ten years of your life, and it could easily seep into your adult life too. Music was the centrepiece of conversation when it came to meeting people and establishing social circles. Music mattered. Now it sucks.
So, what happened?
Artists Cannot Sing Anymore
Even those who claim to sing, or at least have some vocal talent, cannot sing. Taylor Swift has the looks and can hit the notes, yes, but she lacks depth. Sam Smith has range, but has a vocal style similar to that of a cat on a rack. Ellie Goulding is more accent than voice, to the point where it sounds like she's about to burst into a Pearly Kings medley. But don't worry, if you thought singers were bad, the music industry has found a way to ruin the actual instrumentation too!
Electronic Music is Everywhere, and it sucks!
Artists like Avicii and Swedish House Mafia, even to the dubstep styling of Skrillex, are directly responsible for the death of originality in music of late. It's way too focused on who was sat behind a computer running three to five notes through a number of different modulators making the perfect song to get plastered and make poor life choices to. Even a half decent song like Uptown Funk (don't judge me) is associated to Mark Ronson before Bruno Mars. I am all for the actual people with serious editing skills getting credit (I'm a producer of stuff myself and hell, I'll take credit for anything I'm attached to), but when little to no work has gone into the finished product? They can find a rail-road spike and impale themselves on it.
Songs Made for YouTube Hits
We thought we were clever by endlessly watching Gangnam Style. We ended up getting it into the charts. It was halcyon days. A Korean artist, signing only in Korean was an overnight worldwise sensation. Then the snakes of the industry came to paralyse and devour the entire concept. And now we have shit like Nick Jonas' greenscreen phantasmagoria, or Sia's artistic headscratchers. Or Drake. With whatever the bloody hell dancing this is supposed to be:
Death of the Band
What do we have to replace giants like these? The Vaccines? Alt-J? George Ezra?! Just shoot me, I was not made for this nightmare future.
Happy, Positive Songs are just the Worst
However, we then get All About That Bass and Happy. The first, a vaguely pro-fat mess that was engineered to get people talking about being body positive and going on self-important tirades about why we should only buy music from artists who are overweight because they know life's true struggles, rather than focusing on how devoid of actual content the song is and, more importantly, how crap it sounds. The latter, the next logical step of 'If You're Happy And You Know It Clap Your Hands'. It's pure nonsense, endorsed by a cavalcade of celebrities that have nothing to do with the music scene, meant to take your mind off the fact that studios and big companies are distracting you from the grim reality that you live in a world of economic crisis, or war and misery and woe, which you cannot and will not fix.
But it's okay, because you bought a Pharrell song to show that you are happy. And you know it. Now clap your hands, you fucking seal.
Music is Somehow Stupider Than Before
"'Cause, baby, now we got bad blood/You know it used to be mad love/So take a look what you've done/'Cause, baby, now we got bad blood"
"This dude named Michael used to ride motorcycles/Dick bigger than a tower, I ain't talking about Eiffel's/Real country ass nigga, let me play with his rifle/Pussy put his ass to sleep, now he calling me NyQuil"
"Do you need me?/Do you think I'm pretty?/Do I make you feel like cheating?/And I'm like no, not really"
"I really really really really really really like you/And I want you. Do you want me? Do you want me too?"
And the magnum opus...
"You a stupid ho, you a, you a stupid ho/Yeah, you a stupid ho, you a, you a stupid ho"
It's times like these I envy Beethoven. Not because of his immense musical knowledge or talent. I envy being deaf. And dead.