Is Music Out Of Touch With America?

“Don’t help elect Trump, you egotistical, billionaire assshole! Go back to getting ratioed on Twitter. Go back to Davos with other billionaire elites who think they know how to run the world.”

A protester to Howard Schultz at a book signing event last night.

Howard Schultz Against the Hecklers

For two years we’ve been hearing about the disillusioned and downtrodden who voted for Trump. The media has been flagellating itself, bending over backward to atone for completely missing the 2016 election. But is this same media now missing the concomitant beliefs of the younger generation and dispossessed on the left?

Actually, it’s kind of funny, the left wing press is the left wing candidates’ worst enemy. The mainstream media does not stop looking for gotcha moments with Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Conventional wisdom is we need a centrist to bring us all together, is this right?

Music was the anti in the sixties. Led by the biggest group ever, the Beatles.

The seventies were a victory lap.

The eighties were about MTV and the ability to reach more people and make more money than ever.

The nineties were about hip-hop, learning that everything N.W.A. and Ice-T said on their albums was true.

The aughts were about disruption, the mainstream’s inability to cope with the internet. It was about tech more than music.

In the teens, the tech wars are over and it’s all about money. There’s supposedly not enough in recordings, so ticket prices are exorbitant and acts are in bed with corporations. That’s the goal, to get some of that deep-pocketed money and ultimately become a brand yourself.

The end result has been the marginalization of music, the content is no different from the superhero/cartoon movies, and its impact on the culture is even less. Oh, you’ll see financial stories, but doesn’t that prove the point?

There’s an incredible backlash against billionaires and corporations, but musicians don’t stop cozying up to them, and don’t stop lauding them.

Meanwhile, concerts are productions, material, whereas music at best is ethereal. Music is secondary to the total effect, which is why so often it’s on hard drive.

I’d say we need a reset, and we’re gonna get one.

The unrest is palpable. The public is underserved. The music industry believes as long as there’s a hit parade, that something is moving/selling/streaming, it’s healthy. But this is untrue. It’s ultimately about resonance. And the Beatles and the British Invasion turned the music industry into a cash tsunami because of the tunes, not because of the demo, not because of some technical revolution. Albums had been around for a while, the Beatles, et al, finally found a use for them.

So most people feel shut out of the music industry. It’s impenetrable, and when you listen to the “hits” you find them unappealing.

So you watch television and listen to the oldies.

Speaking of which, the Eagles own the biggest selling album of all time, and they’ve never done a sponsorship deal, they’ve never sold out, and today, decades later, they play stadiums!

There’s this myth that today’s younger generation is not offended by having acts sell out. This is patently wrong. First and foremost they want someone to identify with, screw aspirations, they’re just trying to put food on the table and pay down their student loans. And yes, pre-teens may still be mindless, but not those who’ve hit puberty. David Hogg is a bigger star, a guiding light brighter than any musician. Sure, some hate him, but isn’t that the point, wasn’t that the effect of the rockers of yore? Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath were disdained with vigor before being seen as warm and fuzzy years later. They didn’t bend to be accepted. As for the theatrics of Alice Cooper, it was all in service to the youngsters’ outlook, ever hear “Generation Landslide”?

The labels are asleep. The musicians are asleep. The talk is of television and competition shows. The number of followers, the number of likes. Whereas sheer honesty shines through.

But slower than ever.

But someone who breaks all the rules will be accepted. Someone who doesn’t dress up, doesn’t depend on big production in the studio or on stage. Someone whose resonance radiates.

Sounds like Bob Dylan. Sounds like Peter, Paul & Mary. Sounds like the rest of the folkies.

But if you look back, you can see that folk era led to not only the music of the sixties, but the cultural changes of the sixties.

We’re at that moment right now.

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