Okay. So a couple of nights ago I went to a Yellowcard show. The Pink (somethings) and Acceptance opened for them. It was actually a decent show.
For anyone who knows me recently, you understand that I have kind of become, for lack of a better word, a “music nazi”. I like to say that I am only one in the laziest, weakest of forms, but non the less, still a “music nazi”. For anyone who doesn’t know, that is someone who is very particular as to what is considered “good” music and what isn’t.
I imagine this is a non-issue for most people, probably even most people that are going to read this post (of the 4 or 5 that do… haha), and I sympathize with that notion; whatever sounds good, is good. However I also feel that music is something that should be reserved for artistic expression. My largest problem with corporate music has been it’s ‘dumbing down the listener’ movement. It often seems to promote the lack of attention that is needed for listening to honest artistic expression and just caters to what people want to hear. I see this as a problem because then when an artist does want to use music as artistic expression it gets washed down the drain with all of the other wannamakemoney garbage. People eventually don’t even notice what the song is saying, simply “how fun it is”, or “how it makes me feel”.
Corporate music is often focused, not on the art, but on the money that can be produced from faking the art. They take the money and opportunity away from the ones that are trying to be meaningful and give the money and opportunity to the ones that will follow the script and die their hair black because they are “rebellious teenagers”.
I am being very cynical and most of it probably isn’t necessary but hopefully I am getting some kind of point across.
So here we are. This is my issue with corporate music. Yellowcard falls deeply into that category. I was watching it and so much of it seemed scripted: verse, bridge, refrain, verse, bridge, refrain, interlude, quited bridge, heavy refrain 2X, end… “this is what you do to make money”. Now that may not be true, but it not being true brings me to my next point. I was sitting there, definitely condemning the other people, who were standing around me, for loving the music that they were singing so much, music that supported nothing substantial, asked no honest questions, used the most horrible imagery possible (but rhymed) and was as predictable as 3 follows 2. But through my contempt for these people I realized something:
There was such great community in the room. It dawned on me that even though all of these people were singing lyrics that really meant nothing, they were all singing the lyrics together, and were leaning against each other, meeting others, sharing, exiting their suberban bubble. There has to be something good that can be said about that right? I mean, if our common goal is community (from my earlier post), there was definitely something community about everyone in there with the same passion for the same (crappy) band.
It brought deep shame upon me. How could I be the only one in the room wishing death on all of these people? Who am I to sit here and think myself better? I still buy from the mall, put gas in my car, and do all sorts of things that is just as bad as pay $15 to support “the machine”. Hell, Death Cab for Cutie, one of my most respected bands has completely sold out to big business commercialism, and are now making millions. I have a problem with that, but isn’t that their opportunity? Does this mean that their music is any crappier? Aren’t the truly amazing bands not the Yellowcards but the Nirvana’s and the Wilco’s anyways? (take that Death Cab)
I was greatly humbled, especially when explaining how I was going to the concert some of my friends laughed at me and gave me a rough time. Well screw that, isn’t that in a way just as much of a machine? I hated that it was ‘me’ who was laughing at me.
I am not at all advocating not being critical of the music that we listen too, in fact I believe that we should be critical more than ever. I think that I just have to remember not to look less upon people with different opinions, focuses, or goals than I do. I was disgusted by my own behavior and greatly humbled. Who knows maybe I will write a song about it that no one will pay attention to… *sigh*