Do you ever wake up, sit down at your computer with a fresh cup of coffee, crack your knuckles and say to yourself, out loud, “Now! Which of you internet users would like to explain music to me today?”
Get in line, idiot!
You’re not the only one who relishes starting the day with a proverbial turkey slap in the face from the pen of Steven Krage, titled 'I’m gonna tell you why modern ‘commercial’ music is shit.'
Behold: One man, selflessly taking the time to explain, to brainwashed philistines like you and me, the intricate and high-brow nature of — forgive me if I’m saying this incorrectly — …music?
Just in case you’re thinking about getting offended or something — because, I don’t know, maybe somebody didn’t raise you properly and show you The Beatles ever so you just went on listening to the radio thinking there was nothing wrong with you you pathetic excuse for a person with a brain — don’t get ahead of yourself, alright? You think Steven’s enjoying this? You think we’d be here if we all just listened to classic music and Fleetwood Mac like we were supposed to? This is literally all your fault.
“I usually don't like to be pedantic about these sort of things, but have you listened to the Top 40 stations on the radio lately?”
Good morning, Steven. Loving where this is going. Why yes, I have! In my car just yesterday!
“Gone are the strings of ELO, the innovative rhythm of Blondie, and the genius of The Beatles. Now we have the confused genre jumper Taylor Swift, the computer-generated talent of Maroon 5, and the melancholic warbling of Adele.”
That’s so true! Why on earth wasn’t Fox FM playing ELO? Wait, why are your artist names in italics? What are you inferring? Why am I such an idiot? Why didn’t I study classical music at university?
“We have been transported to a world where musicianship is an afterthought. If it has a good beat and you can turn it on while you're jogging, who cares? No layman will notice if the voices are autotuned.”
Ok I just looked up autotune and I am, quite honestly, fucking outraged. My fists are white. My blood is boiling. My mouth is all tight and small. Steven, how long has this been going on? Do people know about this? Next question: How is this goddamn sorcery legal?!
“What modern pop music has done is evade reality.”
You’re telling me! Sorry, wrong inflection. I mean: you’re telling me, Steven. I honestly had no idea!
“We are masking the fact that these people could never even attempt to replicate half the sound of the album. Taylor Swift is incredibly out of tune in person, despite pitch perfect accuracy on record.”
Don’t fucking tell me Taylor is using autotune, Steven. Not America’s Aryan It Girl!
“A lot of my argument comes from the fact that I'm a classical musician.”
Of course it does. I was wondering if your argument was coming just from your brain because you had thoughts about stuff like I sometimes do or if it was because of a skill you possess that I don’t understand because I’m an idiot. That answers that. But, still, don’t you think that sounds a little elitist?
“I don't say that to sound elitist, just to state a fact.”
Oh, okay! Pardon me. Carry on!
“When you heard a Leontyne Price or Maria Callas on record, they didn't have a safety net. The albums released on Callas' voice are just as good as her live performances.”
Um, Steven? Sorry, who are these people? Are they the members of Little Mix that aren’t Perrie Edwards?
“In the classical world,”
Oh, haha! Fuck me I’m so stupid.
“…as in any recording world, recordings are an idealized representation of a work.”
Ok, now you’ve lost me. I have no idea what we’re talking about. That’s okay though because I often don’t understand things. Who knows why… Maybe I was born stupid. Or maybe all that modern garbage I used to think was music made me this way. Thanks a fucking lot, Zayn.
“We have become a society that values the mediocre. Music is not bubble gum.”
I had my suspicions.
“Even the trite early songs of The Beatles show us brilliant harmonies and an evolving songwriting style. Now artists like Adele put out song after song, album after album on the same tired applesauce.”
Fuck Adele! If only everyone could appreciate the labyrinthine genius of The Beatles, a band whose every song definitely doesn’t sound the same at all! From “She Loves You” to “Love Me Do.” From “Can’t Buy Me Love” to “All My Loving.” What kind of self-respecting sentient being would sit around listening to songs that sound alike? Wake up, sheeple!
“And then there's the incessant drum beat in modern pop. Whoever invented the drum machine should be hung by his heels in the middle of Lake Shore Drive.”
Fake Drums??? They’re faking drums now? Jesus Christ.
“One only needs to listen to Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams" next to Beyonce's "Run the World (Girls)" to see the difference in maturity and message. (And notice the fact that Stevie's voice is raw and natural, not autotuned like the big B.)”
Wait, who is the big B?
“Music is an ever-changing forest, complete with roses and their corresponding thorns. I've studied, in my short twenty-four years, as large a spectrum as any and I have some strong opinions.”
You’re only twenty-four?! My god from the sounds of you — your refined musical palate to your aptitude for condescension — I would’ve guessed at least sixty!
“Give someone a puzzle already done for them and they can go have a beer and watch American Idol. But give them an opera or a musical that requires some research and concentration and they bark that it's "not my thing." We have such preconceived notions that we can't even hope to introduce a new generation to music of quality and substance.”
Wait, you’re saying there’s no hope? What’ll we do? Are we just gonna let the vile commercialism rot their teeny tiny brains and stand by in despair, sipping whiskey and twisting our moustache hairs? Actually that sounds quite good.
“I was in Fourth Grade when I discovered my love for classical music, and I took it upon myself to study and learn it. I didn't wait for someone to hand me the answers, I found them myself.”
But most kids are fucking numbskulls, Steven! Most kids are dirty little snot-nosed mouth-breathers with zero interest in educating themselves in classical music because they're obsessed with collecting Tazos and practicing their yo-yo skills!
“I listen to music constantly and, unlike a lot of critics, I have listened to every artist I describe in this article, and then some.”
Ugh, music critics! I hate the way they don’t listen to any music!
“I have digested it all objectively,”
“…Or as best I can,”
“…And have come to a reasoned, yet passionate, response.”
Can’t wait to hear it.
“I don't deny anyone the right to like modern music yet, like a pack of cigarettes, it must come with a warning label: ‘The Surgeon General would like to inform you that this music is vulgar, tepid, and harmful if taken in large doses.’”
Of course! It’s so simple! Put a label on every piece of music! Ads on Spotify, voiceovers on radio! It’s goddamn genius! Steven you intellectual mastermind. God bless your soul. So glad you decided to be uncharacteristically pedantic today.
Any last words about pop music while I’m here?
“In short, it's shit.”
Ha ha, totally! Love you, man.