|have you ever asked: WHY DO PEOPLE LISTEN TO SHIT MUSIC?
Officially licensed Gaga Halloween costumes? T-Pain vocal modulator microphones for sale at Toys R Us? Tokio Hotel videos with views numbering in the tens of millions...? Nicki Minaj actually being considered a musician at all?
What. The. Fuck.
Here's the thing: using one's body in a recorded video for the purpose of sexual stimulation is a thing called pornography. It certainly has its place in society, but should not be confused with music.
Believe it or not, there are certain patterns of sound that can arouse a person. There is a distinct combination of visual stimuli, not just tits and asses, that can be arranged to persuade a person to think about sex. It goes without saying that sex inspires people to spend money.
I could write an entire novel about how much I dislike any of these people, why I know for a fact that they are fraudulent, how their influence is making society stupid, but instead of being a "hater", I'll tell you what I look for in music.
Unless it's music that was clearly meant for the sake of humor, I want to hear
1. Technical proficiency.
If a person wants to grab my attention with their music, I want it to sound, for a lack of a better word, good. If they play an instrument, they should be showing off their years of dedicated practice. If they sing, they had better hit their pitch. If it's electronic music, I want to hear the artist's distinct knowledge of theory, because anyone can crap out a club beat in standard time.
It's okay if a musician makes a profit off their music. Everyone's gotta eat, after all. If someone wants to make it big, then more power to them. There is no point in staying in obscurity forever if your music can appeal to a wide range of people. Sometimes, legitimately good music gets a huge audience. More often than not, tens of millions of people eat lies. They get so caught up in the tabloid representation of popular musicians that they cease hearing the music and only hear the story behind the person who made it. When I pay for a ticket to see some music, I'm not paying to gawk at some caricature of a man or woman, I am paying to observe a self-contained performance. It takes less than a second of observation to determine whether or not the performers actually give a shit about what they're doing.
3. A concern for humanity.
No, I'm not saying I only listen to hippie bullshit. See #2 for my thoughts on that. It's more than okay for someone to make music about sex, death, heartbreak, or any other heavy-handed subject, as long as it's created out of a reverence for its subject matter. I'm not just talking about killing hoes in rap or grinding fetuses in death metal... The only thing tackier than being too edgy is falsely representing emotions to tug on an audience's heart strings. Whether musicians realize it or not, the position of an artist is one of leadership in society. An artist controls what people see and hear. To overload those people with a false sense of despair over trivial matters, unbridled aggression, or tepid irresponsible happiness, is damn-near criminal. A more responsible use of talent is to create works which explore such emotional landscapes for the purpose of taming and quelling them back to stability.
4. A sense of wonder.
I do not want music that deals exclusively with things that everyone knows and understands. That is the true magic of music, the fact that people can use these tools to channel some sort of unearthly force into existence, stack these invisible waves of sound into glorious harmony, penetrate our skulls and send chills down our spines. I want to sit or stand, observe, and simply let the genius wash me away. I want those waves shatter people into fragments, discombobulate them, and re-shape them.
Those are pretty much the main things. As we all grow older, the previous generation dies and their music dies with them. Sometimes I fear that we have dropped the torch. At first, it seemed like everyone kinda knew it was a sort of tongue-in-cheek joke: "Haha, oh yes, you silly man, cap those bitches and eat those babies, jolly good"... But as time has passed, we forgot it was a joke, and we forgot our legacy. We forgot that it was our job to pass the beauty of the world unto our heirs, and look at what they are becoming.
Considering we had Mozart, Salieri, Beethoven, and Tchaikovsky hundreds of years ago, I guess that makes this the dark ages. Who is responsible? America. More people than you'd think still see us as the pinnacle of the world, and seek to emulate our way of life. Our corruption of music is corrupting the world. Disco may been pretty lame, but music from 2000 years ago was more evolved than the tripe we hear on the streets now.
Actually, I shouldn't use that word. I had some tripe in my pho a few weeks ago and I'm insulting tripe by using it as a means of comparison.
I watch the local symphony orchestra perform regularly. I also enjoy watching improv jazz bands play in dives with an upside-down hat on the table.
Those are the two best settings to hear music in this entire country, and neither one costs as much as a front row ticket to some shit from the radio.
(I guess I've been playing music for about twenty years as well, but nobody wants to hear about that)