(Photo by Ashley Tyson)

Photo by Ashley Tyson

Headphones in a noose

Emerson tunes out today's pop music and gushes on her love for the classics

December 2, 2014

Music is dead. Music didn’t die of natural causes. Music didn’t die from old age. Music was murdered. I may have not been around in the ’60s and ’70s when real music thrived, but I grew up with a mother and father who did. My mother lectured me in Beatles theorem and taught me the healing powers of Joe Walsh since my crib days. In fact, I was even named by the Allman Brother’s hit, “Jessica.”

Music was just better during the ’70s. Bands played real instruments, and that’s what people came to hear. Do you think people camped out for hours just to hear Guns N’ Roses sing “Sweet Child O’ Mine” over a pre-recorded track like a majority of bands do today? No. Hundreds of people came to actually hear Slash’s emotion whenever he played that amazing solo in “November Rain.”

Music used to take talent. Talent has been replaced with auto-tune, pretty faces and pre-written songs in order to make money. It isn’t about the music anymore, it’s about what sells. Any teen today is guilty of it. I’m guilty of it. I love Justin Bieber because he’s attractive, and I’ve been marketed to like him. His music is pretty good in today’s standard, at least whenever he’s trying something acoustic, but it still doesn’t even compare to The Eagles or Zepplin.

Bands from the ’70s broke through a music barrier, it was controversial. Parents hated the music because it represented something rebellious, turning music into something to believe in. Musicians from the ’60s and ’70s weren’t judged by their character or how the kind of people they are, like today’s artists are scrutinized now, people just wanted the music.

What happened to people writing things that mattered? Or even writing their own songs? Crosby Stills and Nash wrote a powerful ballad about four students at Kent State University being shot in “Ohio.” Now, the most successful songs topping the charts are about taking selfies, Michael Jordan shoes and having a good time, all backed up on a computer generated track. Basically, if you play an instrument, you’re doomed. Don’t even make the argument that your boy band can play the guitar, as if it’s a bonus statement. It used to be all about the instruments and the music, and less about the people who played them.

Iconic bands like The Eagles, The Rolling Stones or even solo acts like Elton John were not attractive like most famous artists of this millenium. People just didn’t care about what was on the outside, they just cared about the sound, their feelings, not what pleased their eyes.

Lots of clueless teenage girls make the comparison of One Direction and the Beatles, when in reality there is no comparison whatsoever. Who cares if One Direction has broken more records than the Beatles. The Beatles are loved by all and known by all. Look at the technology difference of then and now. Any human being with a cell phone can go buy a One Direction song, but back in the ’60s and ’70s, you actually had to walk to the record store, purchase a record and play it on a real turntable.

So yes, One Direction might have had more sales in a time like this, a time where you can buy a song for less than a dollar and listen to it instantly. The Beatles changed the era. They brought over the “British Invasion” and shaped music forever. No sane person can argue that music during that time, music with meaning, music with passion, isn’t better than our canned, pre-recorded, meaningless trash.

I’m not saying I don’t listen to the music that comes on Power 95.9 and sing every word at a high and hideous pitch, I’m just stating that it’s not what it could be, it’s not what our parents got, or even our grandparents. It’s what we get, so we listen, and we pretend to be happy, bopping along to songs that all kind of mesh together. We should sense that we aren’t getting the full picture.

We aren’t getting Paul McCartney’s genuine passion for music when he sings “Blackbird” or “Hey Jude.” We’re just getting an illusion, and attempt at something that is lost forever. Neil Young once sang, “Rock n’ roll can never die,” but boy was he wrong. Not only did Rock n’ Roll go six feet under, it dragged all of good music down with it.

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