Take that, take that!
Now there are those among us that – and I have met them –have no interest in music at all. Music doesn’t feature in their lives; they live a hollow, soulless existence, doomed or damned to wonder the earth without a soundtrack. A disease perhaps that can and must elicit sympathy from the rest of us normal people who couldn’t imagine life without it. These poor souls don’t even know what they are missing, musically blind they can’t even be convinced of the merits and intricacies of say ’The arctic monkeys’ or the inspiring passion of ‘Green day’ or the Genius of ‘BB king’ or the dulcet tones of Bob Dylan. If modern music doesn’t grab them by the throat, Classical music fares no better, try Beethoven’s Symphony number five or Ravel’s Bolero or perhaps Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries, not a twinge, the tympanic membrane remains unimpressed. I have no gripe with these sad evolutionary mutants only pity and will now leave them to their matchstick modelling, stamp collecting, and train spotting furtherance. The only reason I mention the ‘musically hard of hearing’ is to avoid confusing them with the ‘musically stunted’, those people who have actively allowed themselves to remain in a musical diaper. Or indeed the actually deaf or hard of hearing some of which have, to their credit, sought to appreciate music though vibration.
No this rant is for those out there who think they like music but really have absolutely no idea what a rich and vibrant world that is. These people are or will be defined by a moment in time most likely between the ages of 13 and say 16, a time when they were discovering freedom, sexuality and the sentiment of friendship. Four years when whatever ‘music’ was ‘in’ defined them and as they grew up into adulthood they dragged that shallow example of music with them. Many a time I’ve heard people in their 40s bemoan modern music and lament the good old days, they don’t make’ em like they used to mentality. Other apparent music lovers stick with one genre, be it hip hop, country and western or death metal. They’ll denounce other genres without ever dipping a toe in the water, my god just think about what you might be missing out on! You don’t have to like everything but at least try with an open mind; you never know you might surprise yourself. Worst of all of course are the ones that emotionally tie themselves to a band or solo artist because it’s cool –in their eyes –to do so or because they think the band members are cool or sexy. The music some of these artist produce is lame to say the least, often the ability to carry a tune rates low on the fans priorities. Insipid, over produced, safe and sentimental it relies on the crowd mentality and the mass hysteria of teenage girls. Teenage girls that in ten years will want to revisit the nostalgia of their youth and cough up more money to see the same tiresome songs sung by middle-aged men, who haven’t been able to move on or grow musically. The music industry loves all this, the record companies, promoters, advertisers and merchandisers are coining it, but is it really music? I wonder what would happen if the members of ‘take that’ never really made it in a world that was hungry for quality. One evening they turn up at your local pub or shopping mall with no less talent than they have now but no stage show, flashing lights or backing tracks, pretty crap right? Without the armour of notoriety they’re just a few blokes trying to sing a song, chances are you’d just walk on by. Now if Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters -or indeed one of a thousand talented teenagers as yet undiscovered- turned up –same rules – sat down, got out his/her guitar and played an acoustic set….
All this is part of a deeper and far more complex problem thrown up by modern life. Those that are fortunate enough to have an influence on our daily lives through, television, radio, newspapers and the net are to some degree responsible for the way we experience the world. Unfortunately we seem swamped with crap because as Yoko Ono proved, crap sells. I’m not suggesting that all pop art/culture is crap, it’s not, there’s plenty of talent out there but you really have to sift it out. Quite simply there’s the easy way or there’s the hard way; the easy way is that you get spoon fed; the hard way is that you feed yourself, which do you think is more rewarding? Recently I watched ‘the royal Varity show’ which should act as a platform to showcase the best of British talent and yet what were we dished up for the big finale, the great climax? Bloody ‘Take that’, miming to a pre-recorded backing track. Oh what talented men they are! What a load of seriously over rated, over hyped crap that was. When you think of all the other possible British groups that could have filled that spot and put on a far superior performance it’s shameful. Unfortunately this kind of ‘no brain required’ merchandise sells by the truck load and it’s not just music it’s film, television and ‘literature’ too. People can make their own choices in life, after all it’s a free country, but please try to have a broader outlook, it can be very nourishing for the soul….and our ears.