FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE

Friday

The Future of Music

Since I was old enough to appreciate music, I remember being very concerned about the state of the music industry (and music, in general). When I first started listening to good music, I was listening to bands like Van Halen, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Aerosmith, and classics like Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and The Beatles. My musical tastes even began to branch out into genres like Classical, Jazz, and Blues.

However, you have to keep in mind that, while I was listening to this kind of music, another genre was gaining popularity, and it seemed unstoppable. The early 80’s gave rise to Rap and Hip-hop. Music, it seemed, would never be the same. And, that isn’t a compliment.

Let me state this right up front. Rap and Hip-hop, for the most part, suck. It is awful, awful stuff. I can scarcely bring myself to attach the word “music” to it.

As if Rap and Hip-hop music weren’t bad enough, the larger problem with these genres is the world in which they exist. It is commonly referred to as the “Hip-hop culture.” It is a culture which idolizes criminals and thugs and boosts them to god-like stature. I would dare to say that it even glorifies the lifestyles and behaviors of pimps. But, in fact, Rap and Hip-hop songs use the word “Pimp” so often, and in so many contexts, that they have virtually redefined the word.

That is another common trend found in Rap and Hip-hop music…the butchering of the English language. These "artists" mispronounce words so badly, and use them in improper contexts, that they have essentially created a new language. In a lot of cases, they will even intentionally change the spelling and pronunciation of a word and create a completely new word (i.e. the word “Soldier” is now “Soulja” and its meaning is completely different.)

Despite the faults of Rap and Hip-hop, and their incomprehensible natures, they have become a powerhouse in the music world. Today, Rappers and Hip-hop "artists" are at the top of the charts. It’s sad. But, it’s true. And, it makes me that much more concerned for the future of music.

But, even now, they are a few glimmers of hope out there. There are still artists who take a lot of pride in their craft, and work very hard to create good music.

There is hope for the future of music. And, it is stories like this that prove it:

Overall music sales during the Christmas shopping season were down an astounding 21% from last year. From the week of Thanksgiving up through the day before Christmas Eve, 83.9 million albums were sold, a decrease of 21.38 million from 2006's 105.28 million.

With the kind of crap that the music industry is producing, this is welcomed news. Perhaps people are starting to catch on that the music industry, which is dominated by Rap and Hip-hop "artists," is not doing its job. They are not producing music.

So, sales were down this Christmas. But, who was the top-selling artist of the Holiday season? That should give us a glimpse into the type of music people are interested in:


Josh Groban is the rare person in the music industry singing a happy jolly tune this holiday season…

Groban's "Noel" has crossed 3.5 million in sales to become the top-selling disc of the year.

Groban's holiday album claimed its fifth straight week at No. 1, selling 757,000 copies to trump the debut session of Mary J. Blige's "Growing Pains" (Geffen), which sold 629,000 copies, according to Nielsen Soundscan. "Noel" is the first Christmas album ever to hold the top spot for five consecutive weeks.

When I spoke of glimmers of hope in the music industry, Groban is definitely one of those. If you haven’t heard of him, look him up. He is one of the most talented male vocalists…and I don’t just mean of the ones recording today. He may be one of the most talented singers of all time. In no way am I exaggerating. He is a true musician.

It's very good to hear that Groban is outselling the overrated hacks of Rap and Hip-hop. It seems, for the time being, that people are appreciating good music.

I truly look forward to the day when people remember their love for talented musicians. That will be the day when people stop funding the thugs who are destroying music, and start supporting artists who take pride in their craft and the art of song.

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