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Advanced Writing Project By M. G. F.
Preface Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game I wish to begin this paper with a few explanations. I want the reader to know why I am writing this. I love music, always have and will for the rest of my life. I believe music shapes an individual’s understanding of life and helps everyone make sense of this fucked up world. I understand the fact that many different people enjoy all different types of music, it just depends on your level of stupidity. If you like a particular form of music that is great, more power to you. But it does become a problem when certain music becomes too mainstream. You can’t even listen to a radio station that doesn’t repeat songs every hour throughout the whole day. Also, there is no use in changing the channel because you will just hear the same shit. Everyone’s definition of music is different; I just want to discuss music I do not enjoy and deem worthless. I am not writing this paper to tell you what music to listen to; we have pop culture to thank for that. However, I do wish to uncover the ridiculous monetary-driven deception called pop music. I wish to analyze pop music and take a look at the positive aspects, if any. I hope listeners of rock n roll music will enjoy this paper, while pop listeners try to figure out why we, rock fans, are all laughing at them. Enjoy.
Pop Clarification: Rock Music Should Not Be Labeled “Pop” Before I discuss the many uses and abuses pop music, I will clarify my meaning of the term. Rock music should never be confused with pop music. All too often, rock critics, people at Billboard and the dumbasses at MTV use the term pop to describe any type of music that is poplar with the masses. If I were President, the term pop would only be used to describe the evil bubble gum “slurp my puke back up from the ground and spit it back out at you for another one of your dollar bills” music. Real musicians get together, write songs and play their own instruments. Pop groups get together, have their producer make some music for them and let every other corporate cookie cutter poke, prod, shape, polish, fine tune, and tinker with every possible aspect of their lives. To make it clear, any the use of the term “pop” within this paper will be directed at these money grubbing untalented forms of music. The use of the term “pop” stated within this paper should not be confused with those rock n roll bands who create real music. Categorizing Music: Why do we do it? I do not believe in categorizing music, who has the right to label art. There are some bands, which are truly categorically challenged. This idea extends into all forms of art, how can you categorize ideas that are not universal and unique to everyone? It is all a matter of interpretation and what the piece of art, whatever it may be, means to you. As humans, we love to categorize everything. Sorting out differences, putting them into little boxes and then labeling them, somehow makes us feel better. I think art, especially in musical form should not be so carefully and unjustly categorized.
It is just impossible to categorize some bands. Bands such as: U2, Phish, Ben Harper, Grateful Dead, String Cheese Incident, Jimi Hendrix and many others. These bands have adopted such various forms of musical styles and influences that it is impossible to sum up their music with one word. Again, I absolutely hate the fact that some good bands are blatantly mixed up with pop music. I understand that good bands, because of their exceptional talents, are often absorbed into pop culture and become described as “pop” bands. This horribly insults the intelligence of hard working musicians. For instance, U2 is often described as a “pop” band. I think this is wrong, to categorize U2 within the same type of music as Britney Spears or Nsync. It would be similar to trying to categorize meat as a vegetable, it is not right. However there is nothing anyone can do about it, and my only wish is to point out the stupidity of others. Taking a Walk in Pop’s Shoes It is at this point in time that while reading this next section, one should try to lower their IQ for better understanding. Any great deal of thought or reflection of this passage would be a complete waste of time. Some pop fanatics may ask, “like who the hell are you to like diss my music? You are just like like my parents, you like totally don’t like really have no clue.” To which I would reply, “shut the fuck up.” I have taken some precious time out of my busy schedule to research and analyze the colorful pre-determined world of pop. I shed all previous prejudice and hatred about pop music and decided to take a closer look. First, I decided to do what every pop fan does, watch a lot of MTV, read teeny bop magazines, and listen to my new Britney Spears record.
A Look at Teeny Bop Magazines I lost any drop of manhood or pride at County Market as I shelled out fifteen bucks for latest editions of Teen Beat, M, and J-14. These magazines were great, lots of pictures, images, and plenty of posters to hang on my wall. All of the information and articles provided intelligent insight into today’s hardships of being a teen in the 21st Century. For example, Teen Beat taught me that black is back. Black is now the latest fashion craze for the winter season. Wearing black makes one “sophisticated, mysterious, and full of intrigue.” I thought my glasses made me look sophisticated, I am glad to find out that I only have to put on a black shirt. Another useful piece of information included the analyzing of Justin Timberlakes different hats that he has worn. The article was so exciting that I had to go to the bathroom three times before I could finish reading. A cartoon named Braceface that airs on ABC provides advice for teens in her monthly column. This was probably the best source of information from the whole issue. I found out what to do when a friend and I have the same “crushes”, and my friend always flirts with the girls I like. Crushes are boys or girls that someone likes and consistently flirts with them. Braceface stated, “It can be hard to remember to put friendship first when you’re really into a girl. Tell your friend how you feel and ask him to step back sometimes. It’s only fair! If he knows you like her and he still pounces, you might want to rethink your friendship.” I was glad to finally realize what to do in that situation. I only wish I could have found out about this sooner. Overall, it was very comforting for me to get such inspiring advice from a freaking cartoon. After reading over Teen Beat, I realized that I could have been doing a million other things that were
more productive. Things such as: watching grass grow or singing 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall to myself only I would start at 1000. M magazine was also very helpful, it addressed many current rumors and set them straight. One rumor was “Did Eminem like making the movie?” If anyone had a half of a brain they might think that even if Eminem didn’t like making the movie, he still made a couple million dollars. Another rumor, which I was glad to find out that it was false, was whether Kelly Osbourne really hates Jack Osbourne. It was a relief to find out that two spoiled kids with a multimillion dollar rock star dad, still found it in their hearts to get along. M’s article, “Your Cell Phone Says A Lot About You”, was very helpful in making sure I had the right cell phone that fit my personality. The article profiled four cell phones and the characteristics of their users. Judging by my cell phone I am, “Sweet & Simple”, and enjoy the simple things in life. Does the simple life include cell phones? Before reading the last magazine, I realized that nothing in these magazines had anything to do with music. There was a lot of talk about those supposed “musicians”, but no talk of their actual music. This will be explained further later in the paper. I also realized something else, I had purchased three magazines with all of the same content. In fact, all three of the magazines were created by the same publisher. Every magazine only recycled the same old junk from the other magazines. Even though the magazines were supposed to be targeted to different age groups, there was no real difference except for a few different articles. Instead of reading more of the same recycled junk I decided to move on to a different media; television.
Music Television… without the Music I then decided to take a gander at MTV and further my complete waste time as I educated myself on all things pop. After viewing several programs on MTV, I wanted to have sex. Every show I viewed and every five second clip of music video I saw featured half naked people indulging in half brained activities. With such stimulating shows such as: The Real World, Sorority Life, Undressed, and Road Rules; I had a hard time suppressing my need to fornicate. So, I decided to call my girlfriend. Some time passed, and then finally, after my girlfriend left, I decided to process my research. An average porno movie contains about one or two total minutes, of horrible plot structures and uninteresting story lines. These few scenes exist only to provide transition, obviously the main focus of a porno does not derive around a well thought out story. MTV seems to have taken all of those rare non-sexual moments from every porn movie and turn them into a show called Undressed. The show is really bad, but hey it’s like a televised version of a Victoria Secret magazine. Once again, my internal male instincts told me it was time for my girlfriend and I to engage in some happy-time activities. Since this show has nothing to do with pop music or any actual intelligible content worth reviewing, I will move on. MTV has outdone itself with the genius of a show called The Real World. The Real World was a very excellent, eye opening experience. I was relieved at the fact that I don’t have to get a real job. I can just live in a house with a bunch of people, get drunk, and try to have sex with all of them. Wow, why did I even go to college, what a waste of time. I thought people had to have responsibility and scramble to find decent careers. MTV taught me that, the “real world” is just something adults joke about. They only use
the term as a form of trickery to motivate us and make us do things that are important and morally right. I just cannot believe I fell for that shit after all these years. Um…there was something I was trying to look for…uh…oh yeah. Sorry, I forgot that I was trying to analyze pop music. I think that I heard some music during the Real World but I’m not sure. I better call up my girlfriend, tell her all about this, and then celebrate our newfound knowledge. The show Sorority Life takes an interesting look at a real sorority and what happens behind the scenes. It features many gorgeous, low IQ, females trying to get along with each other while giving someone the ability to write volumes on what it means to be a bitch. Still, some of the girls were hot and there is nothing better than watching hot drunk chicks getting into catfights. Once again, I had to make a call to my girlfriend and take a “study break” before further research. Wow, after all this research, I’m pretty worn out. However, after the numbing effects of MTV wore off on my brain I realized something. My research is worthless, I’ve been watching MTV for twenty hours now and haven’t seen one music video. What does this all mean? Do pop fans not like to watch music videos and drool over the latest flavor of the month? One would think if someone were interested in history, they would watch the History Channel. In addition, someone interested in animals would watch the Animal Channel. It appears that someone interested in pop music enjoys watching the lives of severally disturbed individuals whom allow MTV to slap cameras in their face and perform grade school-type science experiments with their lives and reputations. Even more disgusting is the fact that some people actually enjoy watching this filth, and can’t help but tickle themselves in anticipation.
While watching MTV, I realized that this channel should not be called Music Television. I couldn’t help but ask myself, “where are all the videos?” Then remembering that I have to think like a pop fan and therefore not think at all, I continued to process my research. I pretended to have the thought process of a circus midget named Walter, who has a hard time performing simple tasks like remembering his name and his gender. I guess the answer lies in technology, entertainment value, short attention spans, and the relief that other people’s lives are more messed up than your own. Well…I don’t want my MTV and believe that MTV could do one of two things. Either, stop broadcasting all together and sell the company to a one legged Chinese prostitute. Or, continue broadcasting and injecting our youth with ideas of a blissful world where everyone is famous and work is boring and unimportant. I would have to go with the Chinese prostitute on this one. Speaking of the Chinese here are some of my attempts at Chinese proverbs. If you don’t want to get your ass kicked, don’t show up at a feminist convention shouting “You should all be making my dinner, get back in the kitchen bitches.” If you don’t want to go to hell don’t show up drunk at Sunday mass shouting “I love the devil” as you urinate all over the place. Furthermore, if you don’t want to watch music videos, don’t turn on MTV. Analysis of Pop Music Shows…Absolutely Nothing What does this all mean? Why have I wasted my time talking about popular things, which have not real connection to music? I did this on purpose to show you how much pop music media actually cares about the music itself. I wrote some dragged out long passages of entertainment with no real insight into pop music. I did this to show the
reader that pop music is only a means of entertainment excluding any real form of musical appreciation. Pop music has nothing to do with the actual music it creates. Pop music is all about image and how people perceive pop stars. It is about how a person looks and silly rumors about who is hooking up with who. A reoccurring theme throughout the passage “Taking a Walk in Pop Shoes” includes the question of where is the music. None of the magazines provided information on how or why a person created a song only providing entertainment for an audience with a short attention span. Instead of reviewing albums and interviewing artists, there was just an abundance of useless information with no real intellectual content. I understand that some people like to be entertained ever once in a while, but this type of entertainment has no value or real substance. Everything is sugarcoated and polished to perfection. The risk of originality and artistic expression is sacrificed for recycled garbage that becomes a guarantee sale. All of the “research” that I did provided no information about pop music. Every television program and magazine article only contained information about pop culture as a whole. Pop culture has abused the industry of music in order to further influence the ideas of popular culture. Pop culture has used music as a vehicle for it ever-changing messages of what it means to be cool. Pop musicians and their executives do not care about where pop music is going, only that they keep up with your needs as a consumer. Playing OZ to Those Who Will Pay Rock n Roll music is very much alive despite the marketing domination of pop music. A few Rock n Roll bands in America remain loyal to the hard-core attitudes of true rockers. Many of these bands are overshadowed by names such as Brittany Spears,
N’Sync and Backstreet Boys all of which are products of marketing geniuses. They have been conveniently pre-packaged and tested to ensure high profits and plentiful panties of young girls. I am not saying the people who are pulling the strings behind pop music are brainless idiots who, one day, got lucky. The people behind pop music are very smart and savvy, they know their talent and their target. They probably know more about an average pop fan, than the average pop fan knows about themselves. They know what you eat, who you like, what type of toothpaste you use and even why tire companies put those little bits of rubber that stick out on new tires. It’s just a shame to see such talented and intelligent marketing strategies being used to deceive teenage girls and purge the wallets of many. Also, I am not necessarily bad mouthing the musicians themselves, however stupid they may be; they are merely puppets of the whole process. The artists of pop music truly posses a terrifically wasted talent, the problem is that it is being controlled and manipulated by motivation for profit. The fact that pop music can be broken down into a process for guaranteed profit is enough proof that it is fake. Structure, Perfection, and the Joy Imperfection Once again, I’m not trying to tell anyone what to listen to, I’m not saying that the music that I listen to is the best and everyone should listen to it. I’m just to open peoples eyes to the stupidity of pop music. Looking at the structure of pop music can show how evil the process is, and why girls should throw rocks instead of undergarments at their favorite pop stars. The structure of any type of music is important to look at in order to understand what it is you are listening to. For example, pop music has an incredible amount of
narrow-minded structure. Every song must possess the same sounds and features. The idea with pop music is to give the customer exactly what they want. I use the term customer because avid listeners of pop music become buyers instead of listeners. In the world of pop, it does not matter what you are listening to, as long as you will cough up the cash. Pop music kills any form of originality, because originality is a risky investment. Pop music sticks with what works and will stick with the same sound until the customer desires something else. Even when the customer desires something fresh and new they are deceived by careful regurgitation of old sounds. . For example, how many NSYNC or Backstreet Boys cds actually sound different? It’s as if all of their albums reflect the same musical style and structure. There’s no growth or development only mixture of old sounds and new technology to recycle the same money making single. Every beat is eloquently placed and digitally clean to provide the perfect song to sell. Ahmir Thompson, drummer of the Roots, was once asked what was missing from pop music. He replied, “Soul…Feeling…There’s a beauty in flaw.” I think Thompson is right, there is something pleasant about music that reflects the imperfection of humans. Technology and computers were a giant step in trying to make the world easier and more perfect. However, the irony is that we, as humans, continuously create technology. Therefore, technology is just an illusion of perfection. Perfection is something that is impossible to obtain unless your name is God, so why try. The essence of music derives from originality and the feeling a musician gets from the enjoyment felt by others while listening to their music.
To Sell Out or Not To Sell Out Many musicians are faced with a hard decision. “Do I sell my soul to the devil, or try to make it on my own?” The music industry is a tough business where enemies become friends, and friends will slit your throat any chance they get. The problem with music today not only concerns untalented marketing puppets but the way that the music industry operates. It is all about who you know, and how many sexual favors you can provide. Musicians want to be heard and must rely on the corruption of the music industry to provide airtime. Will the music industry ever change? Probably not, the music industry will always be motivated by profit whether it is about pop music or rock n roll. Some bands have been able to muscle a little control and avoid being labeled as “sell outs” while maintaining plenty of notoriety. There is hope, some bands have been able to completely crush the dominant force behind money driven music executives. One band in particular comes to mind, they are the four men behind the driving force of a band called Phish. Not only are these guys musical geniuses, they have spit in the face of corporate rock and did their way. The band gets almost no coverage from any mainstream television or magazine mediums. I can only remember one time in which Phish appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone and had an article written about them. The article emphasized the very fact of Phish’s selfdriven success. The band has not advertised or created any music videos, yet they continue to sell out stadiums and areas everywhere. Phish proves that bands, if good enough, can become popular and successful without selling out to mainstream. I cannot even think of another band that has been able to achieve success in the way that Phish has. Their music is a great example of musicians who truly love music
and sharing it with other people who love it. When a band can play music for the sole purpose of making music, instead of money, they have attained the nirvana of music making. Pop music follows the complete opposite formula, which a band like Phish has adopted. Most pop musicians only wish to see a big fat check on payday rather than enjoy the feeling of playing in front of thousands of people. Is Rock N Roll Dead? So, the million dollar question has been “is rock n roll dead?” When anyone ever asks me this question I respond; “Hell fuckin no, you just need to look harder to find it.” Some people would argue otherwise, they are full of shit and should be given a psychiatric examination. I would venture to say that rock n roll is very much alive and lurks behind the evil doings of pop music. There are good bands out there; bands that are trying to emerge through the mind controlling entity called pop music. Rockers just have to try harder to find them. Rock n roll is not dead and will never be dead. Rock may take on different forms and go through different stages throughout the years, but it will never die. As long as there are people who enjoy music and musicians who enjoy making music over money rock n roll is here to stay. Pop has gone through many shapes and forms as our culture yearns for the next
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