Traveling and hiking in Switzerland there has been one constant: bad music. A few days ago we were waiting on a tram and did not feel we could leave the building and chance missing it. We felt like prisoners in a psychiatric ward undergoing torture. It was loud, and one bad singer after another assaulted our ears, often enough that throaty and emotive teen-something girl pouring out her deep and bitter angst.
Just this morning we were having a quiet breakfast on our hotel. Someone must have noticed it was quiet … too quiet. The button got pushed, and pleasant time was over.
Over at Gnostic Media Dr. Hans Utter reads a lot more into it than I, an interesting interview. (Click on the link for that site to the right. I am limited in what I can do with an iPhone.)
I made the mistake of criticizing Taylor Swift to a person who turned out to be a fan. I even said it was highly unlikely she writes her own music. I caught some blowback. Still, I doubt any but a very select few performers write their own songs. It all comes from a factory somewhere. Song writers avoid serious content, and churn out one bland and heavily produced piece of crap after another.
I left Philip K. Dick’s Radio Free Albemuth back home. I am not done reading it, so no spoilers please. In it a man working for a music company in LA says that his job is to bring together song writers and singers. It is unusual for one person to be able to do both, he says
I take it further: a musical performance requires a trained singer (trained to project the voice – not to sing well – think Bono). It requires people skilled at playing instruments – these people dress like performers when on stage but have to focus, so usually just stand there while playing. It requires written songs, usually by others even as credit is given the Swift’s and Lennon and McCartney’s. It requires stage presence, these days supplemented by lights, giant screens, massive speakers and special effects (and sophisticated software to … ahem … help the performers hit the right notes).
And it helps tremendously if audience members are drunk or high.
For all of that to come together requires professionals behind the scenes writing the songs, ghosting the voices, playing the instruments for on-stage feedback (or sitting offstage ghosting for the performers). The ‘ stars’ are selected and trained years in advance … the Mouseketeers were far more than just annoying kids. Most lack real talent, but mere suggestion is usually enough. (I do not believe that either Janis Joplin or Jimi Hendrix, for instance, were anything more than the product of hype, which is why they had to fake their deaths . They could not sustain it.)
Music is not spontaneous. Stars are not discovered – they are bred and selected and trained long before bursting on the scene.
If you think, as I do, that the result is uninspiring, unmoving, non-thought provoking, bland and unsatisfying, it is by design. Music is too powerful a force to be left to talented musicians. Like art, entertainment, science and sports, music has long been corrupted by the overlords.