I thought I’d move away from political topics because a) I can’t be arsed and b) current politics can be pretty much summed up with the words “shit’s fucked, yo”.
Now if you’re confused about the title, you’re probably asking how music can be “too well made”.
Well let me explain rather than interrupting me. God. So rude. Learn some manners. Especially you. Yes, you in the corner. Don’t act all shocked. Where are you going with this James just get on with it you nob.
Today’s music is very well produced. We’ve made huge leaps in technology and you can definitely hear the difference that it’s made. The instruments are perfectly clear, with no faults or distortion to be found. The vocals are perfect, crystal clear, hitting every note with perfection. At the moment, the top two singles on the UK singles chart are 1) Cold Water by Major Lazer with appearances from Justin Bieber and MØ (of Lean On fame), and 2) Perfect Strangers (unfortunately not the brilliant song of the same name by Deep Purple) by Jonas Blue (yeah I’ve never heard of him either). These are both perfect examples of what I mean. Produced to oblivion with angelic vocals and squeaky clean beats. They are, technically, musical perfection.
However, they’re both shit songs.
The only word I can think of to describe them is ‘soulless’. Actually ‘generic’ fits quite well. Also ‘passionless’. ‘Garbage’ is another one. But the main term I’d use is soulless. These songs have no character, no life. If they were a living thing, they’d be a shark. Efficient and tuned to perfection, but with a tendency to eat baby seals a ruthless killing machine. In that they will make a killing commercially. Yes I know this metaphor is a stretch, fight me about it.
I can just imagine it now, the producer making the beat at their workstation, dollar signs flashing in their eyes as they know their song will have so much mass appeal and be so inoffensively mediocre that it’s bound to make a killing. The singers standing behind the microphone in the studio, drugged up to their eyeballs and…wait a minute what am I on about, if they were on drugs the songs might actually attain some level of character. Let’s change that to sedated up to their eyeballs, practically reading off a script written for them by some nob in a business suit who thinks he’s all that. Either that or they wrote it themselves, but whilst they were half-asleep and losing the will to live. Even though the video for Perfect Strangers shows two young people travelling about the world, falling in love, etc., they still manage to make that generic as fuck. To be fair though, it’s so overdone that probably wasn’t a hard thing to do.
I just cannot imagine a different creative process for these kinds of songs. You can’t imagine the artists doing anything that involves some sort of character or creativity. They weren’t all sitting about in the same room, brainstorming ideas, engaging with each other, using their souls (“Oi, James, stop writing like a ponce” Oi, you, stop interrupting me). For God’s sake, this music could’ve been produced in a factory, it certainly feels like it was.
Some may disagree with me. And I wouldn’t blame them, I’m probably quite the music supremacist when I think about it, but when I listen to songs like Cold Water, something just feels off. It’s too well made. It’s too perfect. The subject matter is too vague and generic. You just know it was made to cater to the largest audience possible, and thus get the largest amount of revenue as possible.
This doesn’t necessarily go for every mainstream artist. Let’s take Miley Cyrus for example. This argument could be quite a challenging one to try and put forward because her music is, to put it politely, fucking awful, but hear me out.
You could perhaps levy the same accusations about Miley’s music being too well produced, but there is some sort of bizarre character to the vocals at least. She’s not the best singer, in fact, she sounds like a running washing machine with a brick inside of it, but hey, it’s better than sounding like a machine that was specifically designed to be absolutely pitch perfect. And she chooses topics that would not necessarily be chosen by a soulless producer looking for a quick buck, mostly involving sex and the like. I mean, it does come off as rather try-hard but she is trying. Bless her little, slightly completely mental heart.
I know the above argument isn’t the strongest, but what can I say, I like a challenge.
Of course, you can listen to whatever you want, I ain’t gonna stop you, but I feel like this is the way mainstream music has been going for a while now, towards this huge, black, abyss of nothingness, blandness, and Major Lazer. And I don’t want it to carry on going down this path, because then more and more people will only hear this overproduced tripe, and will only find out about good, soulful music by actually having to search for it, which, to be honest, most people do already. So that’s kind of a null point. But you catch my drift yeah? Good.
I could go on but that’ll probably suffice. I might do more stuff on this topic. I’m definitely gonna do more music stuff. I like music. It’s great. Sounds ‘n’ shit. Top notch.
I bid ye, adieu.