The Death Of Authenticity In Music

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Most dream getaways consist of a tropical island while sipping on dry martinis or meditating in the quiet sounds of nature in their backyard. Sadly, for the majority of people, it consists of something like putting in your headphones as you put Mariah Carey on shuffle.

Music plays a huge role in our lives, whether it’s used as a getaway, a coping mechanism, or even just background noise for when you’re doing work. The BBC, a website about ancient humans, stated that the earliest known musical instruments are just 40,000 years old”. It’s hard to believe that music has been around for so long, and it’s fascinating to see just how it has changed over the past years. However, we have to ask ourselves: how has music evolved? For the better or the worse?

In today’s world, finding songs on the radio with meaningful lyrics or ethics is difficult. Although they exist, you rarely hear them play on the radio, let alone dominate the charts. As of October 2019, the number one hit single on Billboard Hot 100 is “Highest In The Room” by Travis Scott.

By looking at the context, you can get a sense of just what the song might be about. Justrandomthings.com stated: “In the first verse, Travis further elaborates on his druggie status and how it affects his life with his lover”. It’s no secret that drug use and smoking have become a norm in society, especially in regards to a younger audience.
Around the same time of the year in 1980, “Women in Love” by Barbara Streisand hit number 1, winning 5 awards and receiving 17 nominations. Analyzing what once topped the charts, we certainly have downgraded in the authenticity of our music. With lyrics like “Life is a moment in space, when the dream is gone it’s a lonelier place. I kiss the morning goodbye, but down inside you know. We never know why. The road is narrow and long, when eyes meet eyes” compared to “I got room in my fumes (Yeah). She fills my mind up with ideas. I’m the highest in the room (it’s lit). Hope I make it outta here (Let’s go)”.

Now I’m not trying to sound like the grumpy old relative who complains about how the younger generation has failed the world, or “back in my day music actually meant something”. Like I stated earlier, meaningful tunes or lyrics still exist in modern music, they simply do not receive enough recognition by the general audience or make it on the top charts.

Some may argue that music isn’t about the lyrics or its message, but rather the melody or catchy beat. Of course, we all have that one song we play just for a good time. We all have that one song we cry to, laugh to, dance to and so on. However, not only did music’s authenticity die but also its melodies’ authenticity, with each song that’s played on the radio sounding so repetitive.

This leads to numerous lawsuits and allegations, made from artist to artist, claiming that one stole the tune of the other’s song. Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke had a copyright infringement lawsuit against their song, “Blurred Lines”. The Rolling Stones stated: “A judge has entered a nearly $5 million judgment against Robin Thicke and Pharrel Williams in favor of Marvin Gaye’s family in the long-running lawsuit involving copyright infringement surrounding Thicke and Williams’ song ‘Blurred Lines’ and Gaye’s 1977 hit “Got to Give It Up”. Although there are instances where artists do plagiarize their work, most of the time that is not the case. Music has become so generic and monotonous that it wouldn’t come as a surprise to hear similar songs on the radio. Despite its current state, music is still evolving just like everything else and I still have hope that the music industry will be saved. I hope that we will discover authenticity in music again. I hope that teenagers will stop praising another monotone artist for hit songs about drugs and interpreting it like it has a deep meaning, even if it’s just about getting high.

BBC.com: http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20140907-does-music-pre-date-modern-man
Billboard Hot 100: https://www.billboard.com/charts/hot-100
Rolling Stones: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/robin-thicke-pharrell-williams-blurred-lines-copyright-suit-final-5-million-dollar-judgment-768508/