I want to preface this by saying I do not consider myself to be a music elitist. I can enjoy the new Taylor Swift song as much as anyone, though it may not be my genre of choice.
But what has happened to the “musician” part of music?
Drum machines, samplers and synthesizers have taken over a once creative outlet. You are hard-pressed to hear a pop song on the radio that doesn’t have a sample in it. What angers me the most about this isn’t that Cardi-B’s new single is just someone rapping over a song from 1967, and the utter lack of originality; it’s that this so called “music” over-saturates the market so much that musicians – yes, the ones that play actual instruments – can’t break through.
Gone are the days of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, of Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd, of the Kinks. The days of killer guitar solos and wicked drum beats, played by actual, live humans. No, in order to make it big now, talent is not a requirement. Apparently all you need is a computer, autotune and drum samples.
To see musicians who have worked tirelessly to hone their craft having to work two or three jobs just to make ends meet breaks my heart. Especially when you look at who is making money off music. It’s the talentless hacks who think forcing their voice through a computer is synonymous with musical genius. Why are these the people we choose to idolize, to revere as musical gifts to the world, when there are phenomenal guitarists who practise hours on end just to play a crappy dive bar? When did talent become something that is just overlooked?
I’m the first to admit that I am biased. Being a drummer myself, drum machines kill me. I will never feel that drums are something that can be replaced by a machine. They’re too perfect. Part of music is the slight mistakes, the imperfections. It’s what makes it relatable. You will never achieve a sound from a machine that sounds like a real person – be it drums, vocals, or anything else. Using drum machines not only removes musicians from the equation; you also lose the heart and soul of the music. Something created by a computer will never match the passion that comes from a musician who’s worked their ass off just to play for a crowd of 20 people.
I’m not saying there aren’t any real musicians who have “made it” in recent years. I just think they’re way too few and far between. I want to hear that five piece band on the radio. Those full, rich vocals – the ones that don’t need autotune. The drums that might waver off beat every once-in-a-while. I just want musicians who can actually play instruments, and to stop making talentless people famous. Is that really too much to ask for?
Image courtesy of iStock