The Grammy’s and the dire straits music is in today

It was indeed a stunning night at the Grammy’s. Even though I haven’t been following it lately, I think it’s safe to say that Sunday night’s ceremony was one of the better ones. Great entertainment without over the top and shocking adult-only stunts. With exception of the last song where three great rappers got the censor’s salary worth, the show was at a classy level not often seen on stage.

Yet, music lovers should really be sad and concerned. Music itself is in peril.

Let’s stop for a minute and think about what we saw on this show.

Legends. Mostly from the past. From Elton John to Bon Jovi, from Lil Wayne to Beyonce (yep, she’s been there for quite awhile), from the Dave Matthews Band to Slash.

Not that Taylor Swift doesn’t have good songs (I really like her songs, actually), but she is not Stevie Nicks, she is not Roberta Flack, she is not Dolly Parton, neither is she Reba McEntire, nor is she LeAnne Rhymes. Well, she could be, one day, you could say. Sure, she could, but not with the sweet and devoid of much of anything, sweet, simple and cheesy (there, I said it) music that she writes and sings.

Where are the Lionel Richie’s of today, the Stevie Wonder’s, the Rolling Stone’s, the Michael Jackson’s, the Nirvana’s, the Metallica’s, the Mary J Blige’s, Method Man’s, Dr. Dre’s and the Guns’n’Roses’s of today. These are only a fraction of the performers that moved generations, that really put a stamp on culture and society itself.

And again, I’ve been thinking if this is just a perspective. If today’s youth would one day take today’s Taylor Swift’s of the world and make them legends. And the more I think, the more I can’t see this happening. Music’s role in our society seems to have shifted from a powerful force that started revolutions to a background noise coming from the mobile player of the day.

There have always been one-hit wonders (The Bird is the Word, anyone?), songs that are just that, songs. But for decades, among the sea of tunes out there, there have always been legends that moved the masses, ignited passion, created ideas with a force, incomparable to almost anything else. And all that has been going on since well before the time of Elvis Presley.

Today, it’s different. Many would be quick to blame it on progress – technological or otherwise. The proliferation of listening devices and audio carriers alike could possibly be the culprit that makes the market inundated with pseudo artists with mediocre vision and inability to see past the commercial value of their craft. While this could be true, I myself always try to consider progress as an opportunity, rather than a black whole that sucks in everything around it making it uniform and faceless. Progress is not an excuse for degraded quality and lost values.

Will music recover? I am confident it will, but I am not sure that the problem is with the music industry itself. It’s with us, as consumers and as a society. We are so preoccupied with our daily lives that have no time to stop and… listen to the music. It’s when we do that, when we start consuming songs and tunes a little slower and with indulgence that we will start demanding nothing but the best.

It’s like food.  If you have time to sit down and enjoy a nice meal in a restaurant you might get the nicest fillet mignon (or succulent tofu, for all vegetarians). Otherwise, running to your next appointment, you will probably opt in for the fast food greasy burger at a cookie-cutter fast food joint down the street instead. 

Bon appétit!

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