A Rant About Modern Music

| 8 mins | Bob
tags: music, mainstream, celebrities, opinion

Oh well. Looks like the time has come for me to shout all of this out into the world. Disclaimer: I am not targetting any individuals but you might feel a bit insulted depending on your listening habits. Furthermore, I do not intend to pigeonhole all artists and judge them equally. If possible, I will give examples; these will clearly indicate the direction I am talking about.

My Problem

To start this off quickly: Why?! Why on earth do people like this? Why are they not ashamed of the music they listen to? Are they confident about claiming it to be their favourite? How could one possibly put headphones on and voluntarily play this utter garbage? I am thinking about this for quite some time and I can’t seem to find an agreeable answer or plausible reasoning.

Is the type of music you like in correlation to your social environment? Or your education, is it just age, how your parents brought you up or something more complex? How could it? That music really is the total opposite!

You often hear them say something like “what we listen to is who we are”. So, is it all about personality? What kind of personality must you have so that you can enjoy something this plain stupid? Individualism is perhaps the most abused word of the twenty-first century. Pure ignorance!

Of course, enjoying Jazz over Death Metal depends on your personality. What I’m talking about is on a completely different level. What makes you like Lil Baby over DaBaby? Ava Max over Dua Lipa? Jason Derulo over Daddy Yankee? It is all the same awful, incredibly dull and insupportable trash!

Arguments

Apparently, the musician’s video productions are of high, if not sole importance when fans are asked for reasoning. Now, I wonder why. Yes, if executed professionally, music videos contribute to the song and can support its message. But do they? Heck no! Showing off a flawless body with little clothing, smoking grass and sitting on the bonnet of expensive cars does only contribute to the fact that it is probably intellectually retarded.

The problem here is this:

  1. content
  2. music (sound, melody etc.)
  3. role model function

Content

Content is key to music. Musicians typically describe themselves as artists, and artists typically create art in which they express their feelings, stories and experiences. Does Bebe Rexha do that?

We can get high, oh nah, nah, nah

We can get low, oh nah, nah, nah

Let me be your friend, baby, let me in1

Does Dua Lipa?

I know it’s really

Bad, bad, bad, bad, bad

Messing with my

Head, head, head, head, head

We drive each other

Mad, mad, mad, mad, mad

But baby that’s what makes us good in bed2

Lil Baby?

Cook that shit up, Quay

4 pockets full, nigga

Is you mad?

‘Cause I’m getting cash

And in my place

Bought a new Wraith

She in my face

I want her head

I want her legs3

Very intriguing lyrics indeed. What are they trying to tell us? Am I supposed to see a message in this? And if you compare it with other songs from their discography, you will find oh so much diversity.

“Oh but it is about love!” or “They sing about their hard times in life!” is what you often hear. There is no meaning at all. It is even worse than those cheap romance novels from the last stall at the airport, which you quickly buy for too much money if you have forgotten to pack an actual book for the flight! The only purpose of this music is to stay alive in the rapidly changing industry, to get out something the public will be amused with for the next two weeks, to be queued on the radio for another time, to stay interesting for paparazzi. There is nothing in this that a person could enjoy with true persuasion.

Music

So at least the music must be good? Oh dear, it is not! If the youth would at least give the argument that they do not yet understand the lyrics properly, but like the music because of its sound. What could you possibly like about this? The word artistic is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as follows:

Done with skill and good taste; able to appreciate what is beautiful.4

Apart from not being played on real instruments (on whose importance can be disputed), it is definitively not of any compositional value, requires no skill to produce, has the least amount of complexity possible and is thus far from beautiful.

And taste? Well, that’s a difficult subject to discuss. I do not want to argue about it nor do I want to say if a particular taste is right or wrong. I just wonder what taste you need to find this music pleasant. Yes, it might be rhythmic, somewhat engaging or happy in the tone, but it is awfully thin, repetitive and dull. There is nothing exciting to discover and remember a year later, nothing you pick out only when listening several times, nothing to focus on and feel developing, nothing truly miraculous at all. To not bring up any 18th-century guy, did those people ever listened to Thomas Bergersen, Arvo Pärt or Ludovico Einaudi? I guess not and they would never consider doing so. Why not? It is not mainstream!

Role Model Function

What do you expect 14 years old children to learn when you give them Drake, Snoop Dogg and Travis Scott to listen to on their way to school? Not only aggressive language but also keywords that appear in the lyrics influence them in a way that demoralizes, degrades and blunts them psychologically. It doesn’t matter if the singers glorify violence, drugs and prostitution of if they actually mean to warn people about it. They do not understand it, they just take up the language and wordings because their favourite rapper uses them so frequently. Assuming six-graders to carefully read the lyrics, translate them and analyze the meaning is inadequate.

What do you expect young girls to learn when they see Ariana Grande, Beyonce or Ava Max strip to almost nothing and literally throwing money around in their trending videos on YouTube? That you will only be successful with the perfect body? That money is everything important in the world? It may be true and that may not be ideal or good in any way, but if the top celebrities don’t distance themselves from this view, nothing will change in society.

Now you may be putting on the feminist scene, but that is a completely different subject I am trying not to touch here. I am concerned with the general direction in which people are being steered slowly. If an artist is not visually appealing enough to make it onto the title page of a gossip magazine, they are not going to become the next big thing.

Final Words

Okay, this was quite a rant indeed. I don’t know whether you felt addressed and which arguments if any at all, you agreed with. In case you are now very upset and don’t want to continue reading my blog, just go ahead and leave. But if you have constructive criticism, you are welcome to send me an email, which I will of course try to answer.

My own music listening habits are obviously also not entirely well thought out, but I always try to check against content I could potentially dislike. I am also not saying that pop, rap or hip-hop are generally stupid genres as there is a ton of superb musicians out there I confidently call artists. Even among the bands that I usually listen to, I often find some that I strongly dislike. The music industry isn’t by any means split into bad and good, but please listen critically instead of trusting the masses blindly.

See you soon, hopefully.


  1. lyrics of Bebe Rexha – I Got You 

  2. lyrics of Dua Lipa – Good in Bed 

  3. lyrics of Lil Baby – Cash 

  4. from A. S. Hornby, “Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English”, 1984