Small Minds Only Go in One Direction

Tonight, I was supposed to be posting a review of Alice in Chains, it was pretty much finished when I decided to have a cup of tea and browse through Facebook. Somebody from a band I have reviewed a few times posted a link to a blog speaking about ‘music in this day and age’. This is where I should have carried on scrolling because as soon as people say in this day and age, I groan. It means they’re either going to romanticise the past or say something vague and ill-informed about today’s world. This was a little bit of both, I thought.

I’m writing in response to this because it irritated me and because it’s the kind of opinion I’ve been meaning to tackle on here for a long time. I don’t know the author of this website and I wish them no harm whatsoever. Reaction pieces like this are common within the blogosphere (yes, I did vomit in my mouth after using that dreaded word) and are for nothing but debate. I know people will be pissed off regardless but at least now I’ve made my intentions clear.

I’ll be going through the blog post pretty much point  by point but if you’d like to read it, click here.

You can point to the economy or the ease of illegally downloading for the downfall in sales but it has been fucked by the people sitting at the very top of the industry.The people who decide what music is advertised to you on a torturous basis. The people who would rather use a TV talent show to find “THE NEXT BIG THING” than in a sold out pub. The people who use fashion, film, TV, sponsorships, newspapers, magazines, etc to tell you what’s COOL to listen to and if you don’t you’re socially inept. Today’s chart toppers are all guilty of this. You’ll find their faces on anything from Coke cans to condoms. You open a paper and they’re pictured falling out of a nightclub or having an affair. Do people actually buy things simply because it’s got some pre-pubescent, preening boyband’s name on it? Are people really interested in seeing a photo of someone they don’t know getting into a taxi after a night out?

First of all, you absolutely must point to the economy for decline in sales of a lot of things but especially relatively trivial things like albums. Some people can barely afford to feed themselves, never-mind buy an album or two. Secondly, a lot of people don’t know about local gigs and when was the last time you saw The Next Big Thing in a pub? As someone who has been going to local gigs very regularly for 5 years, I have seen The Next Big Thing or what I thought would be probably only around 3 times. Out of hundreds of acts. Also, like I said, people do not have a lot of money to pay to get into gigs, then pay for drinks etc. I really feel I need to also point out that One Direction are adults. Tabloid culture is a completely different matter and seeing these acts falling out of taxis etc has very little to do with the music industry and everything to do with our country’s bizarre focus on celebrities. Did you know America laughs at us because we’re so obsessed with even d-listers? Sad, eh?

The X Factor and other programmes like this are also to blame. A whole generation of kids now think that the only way to become successful musicians is through a TV talent show. It also gives the impression that the average length of a career in the music industry is roughly 18 months. The X Factor is one of the most watched TV shows in British TV history. It brings in millions of pounds each week and offers the winner a £1,000,000 record deal. Win-win at it’s best? Bullshit. Go onto YouTube and watch these brainless morons audition. The people who get through tend to sing the same shitey safe songs and the muppet audience just fucking love it. However if you sing a song that isn’t elevator music or maybe unheard you tend to not be seen as favourably.

I’m not going to defend X Factor- I think it’s exploitative and disgusting. I agree that it gives people an unrealistic idea of how easy it is to become famous and I’m also aware that people enter it specifically to become famous with no real musical interest. As for the auditions themselves- when I auditioned for theatre school (and then later for theatre productions) I didn’t use ‘unknown’ songs or elevator music, I used songs from musicals. I auditioned in context. As most people do in auditions. X Factor is for people who want to be pop stars therefore they sing pop music. It makes a lot of sense and singing Mariah Carey etc may not be up your street but it is a fantastic  way to express your vocal range.

I remember years ago on X Factor, there was a woman who sung a “metal medley” which included pig squealing. To be fair to the X Factor “judges”, she wasn’t very good but it was the humiliation they tried to implement on her simply for singing a metal song which makes your blood boil. They laughed at her and acted in a way that was to say “Metal? Here at The X Factor? That’s not music it’s just a load of ruddy noise. Please come back when you have picked one of the approved Mariah Carey or Celine Dion songs.” She then went on to mention that she worked with Bullet for My Valentine to which the judges again have a good laugh. Even a well established band like Bullet for My Valentine aren’t good enough for The X Factor. So you’re saying I shouldn’t listen to metal but instead listen to………G4?……..oh wait………..Leon Jackson?………..can’t seem to find any of that….emm………….Darius?………….One True Voice?…………..Shane Ward?……………..JLS?……….Rhidian?…………….Same Difference?…………Steve Brookstein? I’ve had a look but can’t seem to find any of their work or any of their upcoming concerts. Hmm… I think I’ll stick to Bullet for My Valentine seeing as I can get my hands on more than one album.

She wasn’t just a little bit bad, she was absolutely terrible. Seriously. I think they were laughing because they’d never heard anything like it and Bullet for My Valentine is a typically angsty band name (I like the band but seriously, it is). I think you’re forgetting how much of a niche metal music is. They probably were completely oblivious to not only the style of singing but the band she’d supposedly worked with. Nobody is saying you shouldn’t listen to metal but you do seem to be implying that if people don’t, they’re mindless. Do you see the hypocrisy? G4 were an incredibly talented act and JLS went on to do 5 albums- the same amount as Bullet for My Valentine.

It’s funny as well that a lot of these morons sitting and watching The X Factor will be wearing t-shirts from Topshop and Primark with bands they’ve never heard on them. Ramones, Motley Crue, Fleetwood Mac, Motorhead and more have sold their image to be used on t-shirts. You just want to run up to these people and ask them for their favourite Motley Crue song or favourite Ramones album. It’s a extra slap in the face to rock music. It’s not cool to listen to them but they have a pretty logo that would look good on our new range.

This is what I am super tired of people complaining about. You do not get to judge people just based on what they wear or where they shop. That is a load of fucking bollocks. You can be into fashion AND ‘alternative’ music. The two aren’t mutually exclusive. I shop in New Look and Primark because they’re cheap and I like their clothes. When band t-shirts came into fashion I was so relieved because it meant I could wear them without being too out of pocket. If you stopped and asked me to name 5 songs by whatever artist’s t-shirt I was wearing in the same judgemental tone you’ve written this in, I’d call you a colossal cunt and would refuse to explain myself to you despite Motorhead, Motley Crue and Fleetwood Mac being among some of my favourite acts. If these were used without the artist’s consent, there would be legal action taken so we can assume that these bands have allowed these t-shirts to be printed and are receiving money because of it! ALL GOOD.

Up until about 2005, it was no surprise to find rock bands, rappers, indie musicians and DJs in the charts. Now chart music is a barren land. Pop music has always been king, now it’s a dictatorship. Nothing that deviates from the trusted formula for us please, we are more than satisfied with this shite being jammed down our throats. As I type this, the top 10 songs in the singles chart include One Direction, Gary Barlow, Bastille, McFly and Ellie Goulding.

Eminem is currently in the top ten, Gary Barlow is one of the most important men in pop music and no matter how smug he may seem, he’s played a part in some of the best pop songs there have been in the past 20 years. I realise you don’t like pop music but that doesn’t make it irrelevant or ‘mindless crap’. It means it’s not your taste. McFly are a band that can all sing, play guitars and hark back to the origins of pop especially The Beach Boys. Again, maybe not your taste but certainly not without talent. Bastille are one of the best live acts I’ve ever seen but I’m not sure I’d call them pop music, really. ‘This shite’ doesn’t have to be jammed down your throat- I actually didn’t know the top 40 or who was in it until I looked it up to find rappers (I also found Drake…). If you don’t want to listen to this stuff, then don’t, but trends change and right now pop (you know the word ‘pop’ is short for ‘popular’ music?!) is prevailing. Are they all talentless? No. You’re incredibly small minded for somebody who writes about music.

Where is the diversity? This is all music aimed at children and housewives. Look at it for a second… Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, One Direction, McFly. Is this the fucking playlist for a Primary 4 disco?! Rock bands and rappers used to be the coolest bastards on the planet. Whether it was Liam Gallagher or Eminem, Axl Rose or Amy Winehouse, Pete Doherty or Ozzy Osbourne, these guys did insane things. None of it planned by PR companies or orchestrated by some fat cat from a record label. We all know what’s going to happen with these disgusting children, they’ll do drugs, get in a fight, go to rehab and come out just in time to release their new record. It’s all for show. But we all lap it up anyway because we have no choice. Harry Styles could single handedly bring down a Columbian drug cartel and he would still look like a wee posh child to me. I would love to see Miley Cyrus go for a night out with Lemmy, GG Allin and Amy Winehouse. Let’s see how fucking crazy you are hen. Try some heroin Miley, on you go. Hopefully it will speed up the contraction of inevitable aids.

Oh sexism! Wonderful! Amy Winehouse was not a rock star by any measure. She sang Jazz, Blues and Pop. I don’t know why you’re equating doing a lot of drugs and drinking with being a good musician but as you pointed out earlier… You see these people falling out of cars. Justin Bieber and One Direction have been in the press a lot for their drug use. You’d love to see Miley Cyrus get Aids? What the fuck is wrong with you? Why would you even joke about a disease that literally kills people just because you don’t like the artist?! Lemmy would probably admire Miley’s spirit, to be honest. Amy Winehouse’s partying is what made her die so young. She wasn’t some glorified rock star, she was a heroin addict. The same kind of addict people ignore on the street only she was famous. There’s nothing good about that. Do you do a lot of hard drugs yourself? Also, while we’re on the subject- Lemmy’s first girlfriend died of heroin  (he’s been pretty much single ever since) and he resents Lou Reed for writing a song about the stuff. You’re not impressing anybody with this kind of talk, nor are you making Miley seem like an idiot… just yourself.

I think I just need to face the facts that rock music is dead. Well and truly. Who am I going to turn to for new rock music? Coldplay? Bastille? Ed Sheeren? Mumford & Sons? That’s just what I need when I’m rocking out; tweed jackets. All of the those artists are under the Rock category on iTunes. It’s fucked.

Use my blog! I promote new rock and metal acts quite a lot, you’re welcome! Use Facebook! Ask friends! For somebody putting others down for not finding The Next Big Thing in their local pub, you sure do have very little imagination as to where to find new music.

When David Bowie released his first album for over a decade earlier this year, it was at number one in the album chart for half a week and was knocked off by Justin Timberlake. God help us. David Bowie, outdone by the dancer from NSYNC.

He was actually the lead singer. I’m not sure Bowie would care… why do you? It’s not the seventies any more, David Bowie (while an absolute god of mine) is nowhere near as relevant as he was but I definitely would say a lot of his current and old music has many pop influences. It’s okay if it’s artists from the past though because they’re definitely the best, right?

I don’t know the cure. Can it be fixed? Or is it all completely finished? The only way I can see to save integrity in music is not to be sucked in by lazy PR. Just because someone is releasing a fragrance, a movie and a clothing range to coincide with their album, doesn’t mean they’re good at what they do. Always judge music to a high standard. Compare it to the best song you’ve ever heard. Look for the expression they are trying to convey not just that it’s cool to like them. Music is an artform that can change lives. It can change the world. It can give people hope. It can comfort people. It’s not to be pimped out so that businessmen can make millions. Go out to hear music. Listen to musicians with a story to tell. If someone tells you to buy an album because the artist is goodlooking, don’t. Buy a poster. Only give something money if it is deserved. Music must impress you. It should leave a lasting imprint in your mind. You wouldn’t pick a McDonald’s over a home cooked steak, would you?Maybe if we used our own creativeness and concious thought when buying music, we would realise that music today is factory-produced with the unenlightened in mind. Give them a challenge. Make them work for your money.

I have a great idea for a cure actually. Listen to whatever the fuck you like as it is down to taste and nobody else’s place to tell you what is and isn’t good. Just because somebody is lucky enough to have a demand for a documentary on their music… oh, hang on. Isn’t one of the most popular music documentaries ever Some Kind Of Monster… Metallica’s? Anyway, as I was saying, just because there is a demand for perfume and a film does not mean the artist is without talent. It means these are things that have been in demand.

I have never, ever been told to listen to music because somebody is good looking. Why do you think pop artists don’t have stories to tell? Do you really think they’re drones who go out, make music and come home? With no story behind or surrounding it? Come on. Do you really think only pop bands are manufactured? That there are no manufactured rock/metal bands? Here are some:

  • The Monkees
  • KISS, to an extent
  • Linkin Park
  • The Sex Pistols

Good music cannot die as long as people choose to be themselves.
Rock n roll is here to stay, it’s better to burn out than to fade away.

This was maybe the most annoying part of the whole article because whilst telling people to be themselves, you’re also saying their tastes have come from not being themselves. You’re suggesting that nobody enjoys pop acts, they’re just conditioned to. The Beatles were one of the most influential bands of all time, they were pop music. Are you really saying that people were conditioned to like them?

McFly have worked a lot with James Bourne who, like Gary Barlow, is quietly important in the pop music industry. These people have talent, and worth. A lot did work to get where they are and as you pointed out, most X Factor winners don’t work out so maybe that isn’t the problem? Maybe, just maybe, there is no problem and you are just elitist and small minded?

Music comes down to taste, like it or not. You liking metal music does not make you superior to those who like pop music. It doesn’t make you a better person when you put others down for having a different taste to you. It makes you seem ignorant.

The state of music today isn’t the problem. The state of your ego definitely is.
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