Form Over Function

By Isabella Schloss

Everyone knows that one person who constantly complains about how terrible modern music is, saying that the only good music was made back in the 1960’s and 70’s. This person may even be you. This argument is flawed and overlooks a lot of talented artists, but there may be some truth in it.

Since the 1950’s, musical styles have evolved radically, creating numerous new genres and techniques for the following generation to experiment with. Today, there are so many different bands and solo artists trying to do something unique and different that it is hard to keep track of it all. The problem is that it’s impossible to sort through all of what’s out there. All the record companies care about is making money, so they focus on what is going to catch the public’s attention. It seems like it’s always who can be the loudest or the most shocking. Creativity or talent is no longer considered a top priority. “Don’t worry if you can’t sing, we can edit your voice. As long as you look good you’ll be a star,” may as well be what producers tell aspiring musicians.

This was very apparent in the MTV awards. I watched artists Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga put on elaborate, overproduced shows while they sang. It is almost as if they were competing for the biggest spectacle instead of the best musical performance. It distracted from their voices, which was possibly the intention, to bring attention away from the lack of variety in highly publicized music.

Miley Cyrus seems to have used this flaw in the business to her advantage. She must have known that she would never make it with her voice alone, so she had to strip down and go crazy to get noticed. This negatively impacts other female artists. Women are limited and must rely on their looks instead of their talent, because that seems to be a higher priority. In the words of musician Noel Gallagher, “Be good, don’t be outrageous. Anybody can be outrageous!”