Couch Time: What’s Wrong With The Music Of Today?

What’s Wrong With The Music Of Today?

By Terrance Moore.


Before anyone wastes their time and energy attempting to pull me into a debate over what is considered to be “real” music, don’t bother, because the topic is not open for debate. I’ve had this argument far too many times to care what the “purists” have to say on the matter. The “purists” believe if they’re not feeling it, it’s not “real”. Let’s take Jazz for instance. The purists believe if it doesn’t have a Miles Davis feel to it, it’s not Jazz, it’s a instrumental. One of my best friends is a purist from New Orleans. The “real” New Orleans as he puts it, not the suburbs. He grew up playing the trombone, and he had an early exposure to what is considered traditional Jazz. In his mind, there is no such thing as “traditional” Jazz or “contemporary” Jazz or “acid” Jazz or any other category of Jazz. There’s just Jazz. Period. End of discussion. And if it’s not Jazz, then it’s just an instrumental with a horn section. But this is the same person who loved Notorious B.I.G.’s Hypnotize but hated Herb Alpert’s Rise, the song  sampled to create the track. This is when I realized just how biased he was, and that his argument was not based on logic, just preference.

This debate is very similar to the “real” hip hop versus rap debate. I’ve never really allowed myself to get caught up in this debate because I really don’t see the point. Every musical genre has evolved in one way or another, for better or for worse. But there’s no clear cut answer to which style is better. Beauty is in the ear of the beholder. © (I’m not sure if that expression has ever been used, and since I’ve never heard it before, I’ll take credit for it. Thank You, Thank You.) Jazz, like every other genre of music, has evolved. I’m a huge fan of contemporary Jazz, and I hate that the corporations removed the “Smooth Jazz” format from radio. Many complained this format included a lot of music that fell under the Pop and R&B genre, but so what? I felt the “other” music fit right in with the contemporary Jazz vibe. The “Smooth Jazz” format introduced us to numerous artists we never would have been exposed to, including a few artists who considered themselves to be “traditional” Jazz musicians. It always amazes and amuses me when people complain about a musical style. If you don’t like it, don’t listen to it. I’m not a big fan of most of the music being played on the radio, but I don’t spend a lot of time complaining. That’s where satellite radio and cable music channels (e.g. Music Choice) fill the void. This is now where I get my “Smooth Jazz” fix.

Every genre of music has their purists who believe the current style is not a true representation of that genre. There are Rock enthusiasts who believe grunge ruined the genre. Prior to grunge, the “hair” bands ruled the Rock scene, and I’ll be the first to admit I’m a big fan of 80s Rock. But I won’t discriminate against the current style just because my ear failed to evolve with the sound. There are some current bands I really enjoy, such as Evanescence. I think they do a great job of balancing the old and the new.

My theory is people lean more towards the soundtrack of their childhood. We tend to have a fondness for the style of music we are exposed to during our formative years, the years where we are trying to figure out who we are and what we want to become. Our emotions are all over the place, and music feeds those emotions. As we get older, life takes a toll, and we tend to harden emotionally. So the music doesn’t have quite the same effect as it did during our childhood. It’s harder to feel the music because it has gotten harder to feel. We have a tendency to long for our childhood. We long for a time when life was much simpler. We long for a time most of us took for granted.

So what’s the point of this article? I’m really not sure. I guess if I wanted you to take anything away from this, it would be to enjoy what you enjoy, and stop complaining about the soundtrack for today’s youth. You had your moment. Let them have there’s. If it’s any consolation, one day they’ll feel exactly what you’re feeling at this moment. So take solace in that.