DISCLAIMER: MYP 4 students have submitted their Op-Eds to the St. Francis Post, below is one of the four chosen pieces that will be published. None of the opinions shared below reflect the beliefs of this newspaper and all articles have been edited for length and clarity.
Music, according to Britannica, is an art which uses sound for the portrayal of beauty, form, and emotion, following cultural standards of each musical element (rhythm, melody, and harmony). It is conceptual, meaning each person can have their own tastes, likes, and dislikes. The point of this column is not (entirely) to mock today’s musicians as they are, but rather to compare them to those of the past decades.
Being a music teacher is hard; simply learning all the music theory in order to make sure your students know all the ingredients for a masterpiece can prove to be quite the challenge. But it seems as though you, the music student/teacher, aren’t getting enough recognition. You applied all the effort possible, making sure there wasn’t one dissonant note or triad. If you know your history, you know about the Great Depression. Think of now as, at least in my eyes, the Great Depression of Music.
It should come to my attention that music has been around for almost all of recorded history, and has chronologically developed due to advancements in musical technology. With that being said, each generation enjoyed or listened to their own music: for example, the 20s were ruled over by jazz and blues, while the 60s and 70s by rock. Each time period also had their geniuses.
Every decade suffered some sort of reform in their music, like how Led Zeppelin innovated hard rock with their “Leviathan grooves” and rippling tunes, or Avenged Sevenfold whose sound “cut through the spectrum of heavy-metal”, according to Apple Music Reviews.
However, I can’t seem to find any of these in this decade. Maybe like in Judaism, our Messiah has yet to come, and every depression recovers. But today’s music has too many things in common: themes, beat (a new word for rhythm). As a matter of fact, most pop stars share the same two songwriters: Max Martin and Lukasz Gottwald, hence why everything is so familiar. Music is becoming less and less rich, take Billie Ellish for example; all it takes is a computer, vocalist, and occasionally a guitarist (in some cases, it’s the artist themselves - YAY, not a complete waste of brain tissue - who plays simple zombie chords).
If we also count in live performances (Lollapalooza 2019), rappers such as Post Malone and Kendrick Lamar seemed to be using playback devices.
This all obviously depends on the generation’s taste. Who can blame them for growing into these tastes? I can, because now, music is more discoverable than ever before. But it is a fact that, in other generations, the music from then we consider good today was frowned upon, like The Beatles or jazz in general. There are good artists today, like Greta Van Fleet (even considered to be the carriers of Led Zeppelin’s legacy), emerging Asian artists like Joji (I'm not even that much of a soul fan), Knower, and many more. It looks like there is still hope for music now.
Part of what makes a good musician is proper education on the subject (whether the artist is self-taught or not doesn’t matter, in fact, it may even turn out to be better), and artists today lack that golden trait: originality.