How many times have you heard someone make a comment along the lines of, “That’s not real music”? Statements like this are usually directed with disgust toward modern artists, whether they’re major pop sensations like Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber, rappers, or heavy metal bands that take a more aggressive approach. Whenever I hear such words, which is becoming increasingly often, I can’t help but grind my teeth or bite down on my tongue against an irritated response.
With all the disapproval that has formed against current musicians, I am frequently wondering about what is considered “real” music. It seems like some people can never be satisfied with any of the newly released compositions in the industry. Often times these also appear to be the same people who are constantly putting older music on a golden pedestal. So is real music solely limited to old tunes and popular classics? Can none of the current chart-toppers be classified as true works of art? Why is there so much negative stigma surrounding modern musicians in society? And most of all, what gives anybody the right to decide what should fall under the classification of “music”?
I am a strong believer that many of the disrespected artists nowadays truly do have amazing talent and strong abilities. However, they remain unfairly judged and looked down upon due to the biased and clouded perspectives of certain naysayers.
Everybody has different music tastes which is definitely cool and all, but what isn’t okay is when people feel that they have the right to judge the legitimacy of an artist and their work due to individual preferences.
You don’t particularly enjoy bright pop tunes?
Not awfully fond of preppy boy bands?
That new single that’s being repetitively played on the radio isn’t your thing?
Great, but that doesn’t make those artists are any less capable, nor do their songs deserve any less common courtesy than what basic human respect calls for.
What’s more is that people who do happen to enjoy particular modern artists or certain genres are easily ridiculed and mocked. Everybody is entitled to their musical choices, and therefore we should all be allowed to listen to whatever we want without being viewed differently! Not one person’s preferences are superior to another’s, no one’s music tastes define what is worth listening to, and no one should be judged negatively due to the music they personally take pleasure in. Who cares if someone might enjoy One Direction’s biggest single? Why does it matter if someone loves to blast the latest Miley Cyrus album in their room? If it makes them happy why not allow them to listen to their selections in peace instead of pointing fingers and deciding that certain music is above others?
Many people seem to be stuck with the poisonous mindset that there is music that isn’t worthy of success, that none of the current artists with large fanbases deserve their triumphs and achievements. This, however, is not a justified manner of thinking. A musician’s artistic integrity should not be determined by an individual’s twisted opinions nor their nostalgia for previous music styles.
So why is it that a large fraction of society is so keen on bashing on modern music while worshipping past hits? What makes the music in past generations so much more deserving of appreciation?
My personal take on the matter is that people are experiencing difficulty moving forward with the times. Many of them are still adoring the Beatles or jamming to Michael Jackson. This, of course, is totally one hundred percent okay! There is nothing wrong with enjoying music from different eras, because of course, countless amazing musicians walked the earth during earlier years, and their talents should not simply be forgotten. It also goes without saying that the music created in previous generations are startlingly unlike the music we hear now when we turn on common day radio. Music has definitely changed, there’s no denying that.
What’s important to remember is that change is not always a bad thing!
Similar to the manner in which fashion is continually developing, music is unstoppably going through consistent evolution that we, the consumers, have little control over. Chances are that artists from a few dozen years ago had no idea that music would be where it is today, and right now we have no idea as to what music will eventually become, either. But this absolutely does not mean that newer music is somehow less worth listening to than older music. All this means is that music styles are shifting, and the result can be something beautiful!
So no, music is not going downhill, and talent is never being lost over the years. Instead, music is simply changing at a constant and uncontrollable rate. Each time period comes with its fair share of admirable artists. Although what you hear being played nowadays is not the same as what was released a few decades ago, music in the former category can still contain golden aspects.
Next time you hear a rather mainstream hit being blasted on the radio or in public, try to acknowledge the abilities that modern artists have instead of shutting them down due to the lack of similarities they share with the artists that may be on your own beloved playlist. You might just realize that those musicians you usually consider incapable don’t actually deserve all that hate, after all. And who knows? Perhaps even singers that are often thought of as “talentless” and “nothing without auto tune” have their strong suits.
In conclusion, all musicians deserve basic respect, and it’s not fair to turn a blind eye to their efforts or devalue their work just because it doesn’t match up with your own preferences. There are always going to be people who don’t share your opinion and enjoy different things. This should be perceived with an open mind. When it comes to music, society definitely has a long way to go before it is truly accepting of ideas that stray from personal glorification.