Rise and fall of artistry
What is the one thing music and politics have in common?
Try talking about either with another person who doesn’t share the same opinion as you: a vocal or physical bloodbath is bound to ensue.
And not to turn this into a pseudo-opinionated proto-rant of personal taste, but there is one undeniable truth in today’s music industry: artistry and passion are all but dead and buried.
Let’s jump right in and explain why.
First and foremost: auto-tune.
Auto-tune takes a voice and digitally corrects it, matching the voice to any key. Auto-tuned sound is not just the kind of digital computer voicing heard in music today: it actually created immersion and fluidity in the voice.
Why is this wrong?
Singers aren’t responsible for their own singing anymore. We hear only pre-recorded faux pas of what is supposedly their ‘heart and soul’. I know that if I pay to see any artist live or buy their album, I want to hear their actual voice; I want to hear the art in what they do, not some cut and paste digitally produced trash.
Artists who have openly admitted to using this product on their albums include Britney Spears, Nickleback, Nicki Minaj, Demi Lovato, among many others.
Even auto-tune creator Andy Hildebrand states “we fix bad singers.”
The next evil is a close cousin: lip-syncing.
This is where artists only pretend to sing or play to a backing track. Milli Vanilli experienced the ill-effects of this trend early in their career. After a backing track at one of their concerts jammed, they were stripped of their music awards and quite frankly, their career.
But they’re not the first to do it. Madonna also got caught lip-syncing, and when Elton John (who is known as one of the only artists to never use backing tracks or digital voice mapping) presented her with a Q Award, he proclaimed any artist who lip-syncs should be shot.
I wish death on no one, but John is right to emphasize the audacity of lip-syncing.
This leads into the last point, which can be summarized in the line that Wu told to Wyclef Jean, “cash rules everything around me.”
Music seems to no longer be about capturing passion. It’s about capturing a few C-notes. Due to high demand “John Q Public” had for so many of their members to be stars, an entire market has formed around the pop-music industry.
Shows like The Voice, auto-tune, and self-playing digital instruments remove any passion from the art form and replace it with an innate ‘want’ to be a disposable pop-star.
The days when true artists stood the test of time and continued on for decades are over. Now it is a much more applicable idea for a record company to rape an act for all they are worth and then cast them into the gutter once the money’s spent.
With artists such as Frank Zappa, Phil Collins, Jimmy Page, Iggy Pop, Chuck D, and the late Johnny Cash all condemning the entire music industry and it’s thirst for money, the corruption and pillaging lay in the open for all eyes to see.
Save for a few hopeful songwriters and singers, there is only one certainty left in the world of music: art and passion in music are simply put, dead.
Contact Kris at firstname.lastname@example.org.