August 01, 2012

Time to Face the Music

First off, I need to apologize. I realize I have not really written much and lately I have been kinda MIA. I started my sophomore year about a month ago and it has not been too friendly. Anyways, onto my topic for today. 

All throughout history, art has been a major part of expression and society. It was the way people communicated, progressed, and made statements. Today, we study and learn about art throughout history and the world. How it changed people and religion, how it mattered, and how heavily people depended on it. Artists not only demonstrate their ideals, they also would push society into new eras. They managed to be sarcastic, slap largely political figures in the face, and inspire revolutions.

Some styles of art (like Mannerism, for example) were heavily symbolic. They reflected the problems and world powers at that current time and revealed the issues and hypocrisy in religion and government.
(Tintoretto, Presentation of the Virgin, Right)

Baroque art was often a sarcastic slap in the face to society 
and the classes. It was a free-spirit kind of art and architecture. Each piece not only had different messages, they also were made with different techniques. 
(Fra Andrea Pozzo, The Entrance of St. Ignatius into Paradise, Above)

A style following Baroque art is Rococo, a very care-free art. It left behind the heavy meaning of Baroque and Mannerism and depicted the simple and luxurious life of the wealthy. Although it had the similar swift brush strokes and light color pallet of Baroque, its meaning was very different.  
(Jean-Honore Fragonard, The Swing, Right)

These arts are only a few among the countless styles of art in the past centuries. Today, people realize that art is not just in the painted form. Today, it is a very broad term covering from paintings to sculptures, literature to architecture, photography to music, dancing to fashion. Art is a form of self expression. What was so very influential a mere 200 years ago is near meaningless now to the vast crowd? What today has replaced the painted messages? Two things come to the top of my mind. What are those you may ask? Music and fashion. Years ago, fashion was a way to state your class and music was a lovely pass-time. Other than the welfare of your social standing, nothing relied heavily on those two things. Nowadays though, they are the easiest and most influential ways to reach society. What then floods our ears today when we turn on our radio?

Look at today's pop artists. Normal dinner-table topics, singers that everyone knows about. Who do you think of? Lady Gaga? Justin Beiber? Nicki Minaj? Taylor Swift? Kanye West? There are artists in each genre that have a different effect on its listeners. Different artists that are vastly know (not all liked, but known). Think now of the topics that are sung about 99.9% of the time. What do you think of? I know what I am always hearing then sing about is individuality, your girlfriend/boyfriend, your tragic break up, or sex. Each song is a different variation of the same old topics. Rather repetitive really. Now yes, each person is in a way talented, I will give them that. Today though we have no originality. Nothing new. Instead we have songs that promote sex, drugs, and alcohol.

Has music always been like this? Lord, no! Think back just in the last fifty years! Music has gone down at a drastic rate. Without annotating each and every meaningful song, let's sum it up and think of some individual artists or bands, ones that made an impact and in their own way inspired revolutions for the decade? Just a few that come to my mind are The Beatles, Queen, Elvis Presley. Now, I know you can probably think of dozens more, those are just three I can think of off the top of my head. Each decade is known for its fashion, the world at the time, and music. Music was a large influence and moved society to do great things. Today, what has our music pushed us to do? What will our decade be remembered for? Other than pregnant 13-year-old's, idiotic governmental debates, and the crime-and-violence rate rising each and every day, we don't have much to show for ourselves.

Now, I know this post may seem long and somewhat meaningless but it was a topic that has been on my mind. I am currently studying Art History (a subject I recommend to all High School and College students) and I have stayed up many nights, had countless debates with family and friends about this. Now, I decided to come here and pose the same questions to you all that have wondered many times.

What do you think influences society and individuals today? 
How have people been effected in the past by art and music? 
Has it affected you personally in any way? 
And finally, what do you think our current generation will be able to provide to future generations? What contributions have we made?

And now I draw this long post to a close and bid you all adieu.


  1. I think music these days isn't shit, just lazy. As said above, it's all just the same old stuff, loud beats, drinks and sex.

    The old music was so much more experimental and soul catching. It was actually about real stuff, the pain artists went through, burning stuff they had to get out and share with the world. Music used to be feeling, and now the majority is basically for commercial gain.

    I love that Lady Gaga has started pushing her own stories through the hype that surrounds her, and 'Marry the Night', 'Speechless', 'You and I' and 'The Edge of Glory' are my favourite songs of hers.

    They're authentic. And that's what the old music is. Not the regurgitated stuff so common today.

  2. (You spelled The Beatles wrong. :)

    I agree. Most of the artists produce the rely don't like rap for that reason, since it seems like that is the most repetitive genre of them all.

    I agree with aymethestmist on Lady Gaga. Her songs have meaning. So does Taylor Swift's (although the duet with Pitbull is really odd).

  3. I tend to only listen to a bit industrial, harsh emb which are not popular forms of music (most people haven't even heard of it, which kinda surprises me a bit) and metal, which is what I tend to listen to the majority of the time. I have no idea what's going on in the mainstream music world at all... (this is coming from a 15 year old by the way ;) ) I guess some metals bands have really gone down hill I.e morbid angel, whose recent albums seem to go off track of deathmetal and into industrial metal which is waay more popular sub-genre of metal. Also emo/scene children have destroyed hardcore music with their whiny vocals and stupid haircuts (just listen to the older hardcore bands and compare with the new ones...) and decided to pretty much try and rape metalcore and deathcore. I also hear good bands beginning to in-cooperate those stupid as hell emo kid vocals in their songs (*cough shadow falls *cough) If you love metal, you'll get what I'm trying to say... Luckily there's still good newer bands out their like gojira, evile and so on.

    ^(my tumblr speaks for itself)

    I'm too mainstream for my own good, but most of the mainstream-ness probably results from One direction and stuff. I am a huge fan of renaissance and baroque art. Loved Romanticism. Today's music doesn't have a lot of depth. Artists may seem to do so, but their meaning of depth is something people have been singing for much too long.

    Lady GaGa gets on my nerves, Nicki Minaj...don't get me started. Taylor swift is alright, I'd prefer if she moved away from what is her comfort topic. Justin Bieber is progressing, and I'd be the first person to tell you he can't rap: But he's getting there.

    I hope Music starts to evolve from this dinosaur-like stage...

    Enjoyed this post ^.^

  5. Every generation has terrible music; our generation just has easier access to it thanks to companies like iTunes -- it's amazing how much the music industry has changed so much since iTunes was introduced. Music production is now much more rushed and there haven't been many particularly innovative tracks in ages (and the late '70s was the golden age for that, in my opinion). We've got fast food and fast fashion, so it's not surprising that we've now got fast music. The good music is there, you just have to look around for it, as it has been for decades (though there's a fair amount of crappy "underground" music. It's not just mainstream music that's the issue).
    However, I must admit that we are not attentive listeners. We're the ones who are consuming this music, and we've got more power to change it than we think.


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