Looking Grim at the Grammys “The generally dismal quality of America’s mass-marketed pop music is an esthetic national emergency.” This person is looking in the wrong place. There’s plenty of great music coming out, but it’s not from a boy band or a teenage diva. Mass-marketed pop music has been bad for decades, maybe even forever. I’m finding solace primarily in the Turntablism movement and the Electronic music community currently. Bands like Gorrilaz are products of these movements without actually being a part of them. I’d trade fifty Britney’s for Dan the Automator any day. Some of the other music that has meant a lot to me are artists that have left or been forced out of major label America, like Aimee Mann. The bottom line is that music is art, it’s self expression, not just another product, not just another dishwashing liquid or pair of khakis. Without that self expression being genuine, there’s no emotion. Whether that emotion is torment or bliss, it’s the experience of it, and the story that it tells through words and emotions that make it so important to me. Most of the time when the majors luck into an artist like this, it’s because they threw a whole truckload of shit, and, while most of it sucked, one or two artists shone through. For every Jeff Buckley or Radiohead, there are a few hundred artists that were either mediocre or just plain sucked. Perhaps I am being an optimist, but that’s how things look from where I stand, and no amount of file swapping is going to change it.
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