The Art Of Protest
The epoch of modern music is upon us and it is steadily coming to an end. In the last 50 years music has strained and roared, it has disowned us, empowered us, released us, defined us, challenged us and simply made us happy. It has given us a soundscape to live in, a soundtrack for sex, for love and for longing. A dream you could live, as provocative as tears and as wide as the heavens themselves. A blame for both pregnancy and suicide, it provokes both prejudice and freedom, makes your skin shiver and your loins come to life. It returns you to the emotions of the past and is a portal through which we can bypass the tedium of time. Yet music requires no qualification to hear it, no understanding of form or counterpoint to dig it. It doesn’t ask for your forgiveness or gratitude, it is simply above language. Yet all of music can evoke this without being touched or fully understood; it is airborne, it is ephemeral and then it is gone… Until the needle returns to the start.
But modern music is boring! I am scared by its banality, by its reason to exist. The media have stolen its honesty and made it superficial, made it irrelevant and left us hungry and short changed. Music has been rendered a slogan, an empty gesture, a sound bite indeed; it is dressed up without substance, it is superficially bang tidy. Today music is being engineered without passion; it treads a bland monotonous path as if all that paved the way to this moment has been no more than a wasted passage of time. Yet the musical collective of this world is enormous, varied, vibrant, exciting, intelligent, life inducing and wild; and so filled with love and humanity that it burns with the self same light that once filled our greatest musical journeys.
So if music is still alive out there, grinding with youthful, inventive, uncontrollable verve, why is it so dull? Switch on your radio and receive a snapshot of today’s musical poverty, fit only for mainstream turned down minds. They are promoting what will sell, regardless of its worth. The multi-million sellers today have stood on the shoulders of greatness and passed it off as their own and we continue to be fooled that sales is a sign of worth. But it is not! It is like judging the happiness of a family by the price of the house in which they live. It is all a farce; as is the positions of the charts or the best sellers list, they are just slots paid for by the record and publishing companies, to make you believe what it is you are buying is approved.
Music doesn’t care what you look like, even if you care what it looks like, music, it is no better for rich mans ears than for the poor. The more perfect the voice, the less it usually has to say! If you listen to music through bad headphones, you never get to know how beautiful it really sounds. At the same time if you only listen to what they want you to buy you will never learn of music’s utter sublimity, you will remain deaf to how rich this thing can really be. Modern music has become a manufactured commodity; pop stars are just the peddlers of snake oil.
But defiant change is coming. Where our creativity is not blighted by the record corporation. I hear it now. Music is alive and inventive in cafes and clubs, on street corners and rooftops, online, deep in your hearts; in your head, on your lips, in the harmony and disharmony of lives and loves. Our musical presence is alive; it lives for us on the curves of her rhythm and the gravel of her voice. Let it be invented in bedrooms, in prison yards, with attitude and reason, released by those in love with music not money, make it without time signatures, dream it, live it, bend it and break it, offend god, don’t apologize, turn it up, record the cry of freedom and love, screw the control of commercialism, bang stuff, scream, sing, damn your soul and condemn your body to let your music be! Music really can set you free!
Make music, make new music, don’t allow the shallow marketers to robe you of your musical heritage or more importantly our musical future. Lose the label. Find the rebel. Lose the genre. Be free, not instructed nor frustrated. Let your prejudice go. Learn how to hear it again, listen to it all and throw the whole world at it.
Life is boring which is why we have art!