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  1. #1
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    Default Music becoming formulaic and superficial

    Pasting a comment of mine from another thread:

    Why can't "artists" sing about something more original than these hackneyed breakup and love-at-first-sight topics? They are so formulaic and bland. When you think about it, there is so much that people could sing about - our society is plagued by a plethora of issues, many of which are only going to get worse. Even if I disagree with the artist's take, I'd still have more respect for him if he could clearly articulate broader concerns through music. Better the wrong ideas, than no ideas at all.

    I have also noticed that the music itself is a lot more homogenous than in previous eras. It is as if there are also harmonic and instrumental formulas to music if you want to be successful. For example: you can compare any piece of pop, rock or metal music and I guarantee that they are built on only four or five harmonies. The instrumentation is likewise becoming less interesting, I kind of notice an accepted sound and beat in each genre.

    I have a few ideas about how this situation could be improved, but will leave that for a while. Let's get a discussion on the above going first.

  2. #2
    LL P. Stewie Beorn's Avatar
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    Meh, there has always been low music popular with the masses. It's just that now there has been a roll reversal and people who perform low music are rich and people who perform high music live hand to mouth so the former seem to have more cultural significance.

  3. #3
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    You know popular music is fucked when autotune is used even by country singers.

  4. #4
    I could do things Hard's Avatar
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    I don't find the music I listen to formulaic and bland at all. Popular music, maybe in some respects, but even then I contest that in some cases. Beyond that... who cares? If people like it and garner enjoyment out of it that's all that should matter. Yeah, it might be annoying or seem like a poor reflection on society, but it doesn't mean that it actually is. Things are often popular for a reason. I don't concern myself with the reasons why the artist makes their music, generally speaking. Actually, I get rather annoyed with artists who make music that has some sort of agenda (particularly if it is political). I like music that is about music.

    I've also noticed that many people (since the beginning really) always seem to complain "music was better in the past! This new stuff is crap!", and each new generation says the same thing. Who's right? No one really. Music is music. You like what you like.

    Also, as far as "boring" time meters, not all new bands stick to that. Here's one that I quite love that isn't typical. Not all new music is as cookie cutter as people complain. It just takes a little digging.

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  5. #5
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    I think most new music is shit. However, I think a lot of older music is shit as well. I would never write off new music without hearing it first. That's just closed-minded and living in the past.

    I do agree to some extent with the OP. I think popular music during the 20th century split into many great subgenres which in turn cross-pollinated with one another, merging and splitting apart and merging again. However, I do think that popular mainstream music in the last 10-15 years has began to merge into a giant blob of very homogenized, over-produced, boring shite. You listen to a country song made in the present and it sounds more or less like what we would've called "contemporary rock" a few years ago.

    There's still good new music to be found, and there always will be. You just have to look for it.

  6. #6
    I could do things Hard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuzzy Conduit View Post
    There's still good new music to be found, and there always will be. You just have to look for it.
    Yes, this sums it all up (I did not say it clearly myself).
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hard View Post
    I don't find the music I listen to formulaic and bland at all. Popular music, maybe in some respects, but even then I contest that in some cases. Beyond that... who cares? If people like it and garner enjoyment out of it that's all that should matter. Yeah, it might be annoying or seem like a poor reflection on society, but it doesn't mean that it actually is. Things are often popular for a reason. I don't concern myself with the reasons why the artist makes their music, generally speaking. Actually, I get rather annoyed with artists who make music that has some sort of agenda (particularly if it is political). I like music that is about music.
    People derive a surprising amount of their worldview from music; I think a lot of it is actually semiconscious. Basically, a young guy or girl sees a musician he or she likes on TV and starts acting in a similar way to their role model. It is for this reason that, aesthetics aside, society has a vested interest to oppose the propagation of rap, pop and metal...music that I would argue leads to questionable moral and psychological states. No children of mine will be exposed to MTV, in fact any American television or Vevo channels on YT.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hard View Post
    I've also noticed that many people (since the beginning really) always seem to complain "music was better in the past! This new stuff is crap!", and each new generation says the same thing. Who's right? No one really. Music is music. You like what you like.
    All I think is that it is a mistake to neglect older forms just because they are older if you can learn something from them. Groups like the Beatles were partly succesful because they had an understanding of Classical form. Some of it, the harmony especially, is still as relevant today as it was 200 years ago, and people miss out on learning stuff that could really improve their music because of an immature rebelliousness.

    And relativism in music is a mistake. I hope that I don't have to give you some obvious comparisons to make that point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hard View Post
    Also, as far as "boring" time meters, not all new bands stick to that. Here's one that I quite love that isn't typical. Not all new music is as cookie cutter as people complain. It just takes a little digging.

    I actually think meter is one of the things that shouldn't be varied too much, but I'm just one guy I guess.

  8. #8
    I could do things Hard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kullervo View Post
    People derive a surprising amount of their worldview from music; I think a lot of it is actually semiconscious. Basically, a young guy or girl sees a musician he or she likes on TV and starts acting in a similar way to their role model. It is for this reason that, aesthetics aside, society has a vested interest to oppose the propagation of rap, pop and metal...music that I would argue leads to questionable moral and psychological states. No children of mine will be exposed to MTV, in fact any American television or Vevo channels on YT.
    I'm just going to agree to disagree.


    All I think is that it is a mistake to neglect older forms just because they are older if you can learn something from them. Groups like the Beatles were partly succesful because they had an understanding of Classical form. Some of it, the harmony especially, is still as relevant today as it was 200 years ago, and people miss out on learning stuff that could really improve their music because of an immature rebelliousness.

    And relativism in music is a mistake. I hope that I don't have to give you some obvious comparisons to make that point.
    I'm not suggesting to ignore older forms.


    I actually think meter is one of the things that shouldn't be varied too much, but I'm just one guy I guess.
    Fair enough. I find off-kilter time meters refreshing and interesting.
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  9. #9
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    Meh.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kullervo View Post
    Why can't "artists" sing about something more original than these hackneyed breakup and love-at-first-sight topics?


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