The Death of Music

Sell-out… Goulding’s earlier work is far more credible.

What is currently number-one in the UK? Ellie Goulding’s ‘Burn’. A dance-pop song that many will struggle to remember in a few years time. It’s not the same as the number ones of twenty or even ten years ago that are remembered now and identifiable after the first note is aired. No, now it will take a good 60 seconds of murmuring until you reach the chorus before you can be sure it’s ‘that song’ by ‘oh, what’s her name’.

It seems reaching the summit of any of the world’s major music charts has become easier and easier year on year, with that all too familiar formulaic drivel soaring to the top. And here is my handy guide on how to reach the top of any chart;

  • Make sure your song is of the ‘dance-pop’ genre.
  • Sing about the events of partying, drinking and/or having sex with strangers.
  • You must spend at least 30 seconds of the song making a generic noise such as ‘woah’, ‘la’ or ‘eh’.

Machine… Seriously, this woman never stops.

If we’re being honest, few artists around today will stand alongside the likes of Elvis, Michael and the Beatles as legends in music folklore. Most popular artists are now merely corporate hit-making monsters. For instance, Rihanna, who seems to drop a new album every time I blink, has accumulated seven number-one hits. This places her above Queen, but ‘RiRi’ will never have the impact on music that Freddie Mercury’s posse did because a number-one was harder to attain in their day. Equally, 18 Months, the latest album by Calvin Harris holds the record for the most top 10 hits from a single album. It is still unknown to me why the likes of Calvin Harris and David Guetta deem themselves better than other music producers and therefore need top billing on their work but that’s another story. The point is, these artists are determined to reel off throwaway hit after throwaway hit for one purpose – money. Let’s look at some of the songs that have topped the charts that meet the above criteria let’s say two years ago; Roll Deep – Good Times, JLS – The Club is Alive, Ke$ha – We R Who We R, Jason Derulo – Don’t Wanna Go Home. I bet there’s not many people listening to these songs now except maybe if you go out to a club. It’s like Beyoncé said in this year’s  V Festival programme, “People don’t make albums anymore. They just try to sell a bunch of really quick singles. People don’t ever listen to a body of work anymore.”

Aware… Beyoncé acknowledges that albums are mostly redundant.

In honesty, it’s near impossible to argue with Mrs. Carter. If we’re talking music that will be remembered it is the creators of works such as Adele’s ’21’, Frank Ocean’s ‘Channel Orange’ and Taylor Swift’s ‘Fearless’ that will be remembered from this era of music not Iyaz’s Replay. Remember that? You should, it was number one worldwide just three years ago.

Still, the cogs of the corporate music machine keep turning without executives realising the biggest selling hits of the last few years haven’t necessarily been of the dance-pop genre and the best selling albums certainly haven’t been. With the likes of Eminem’s ‘Love The Way You Lie’ and Gotye’s ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ topping end of year singles charts in recent years.

Unfortunately, the big wigs of music have cottoned on that making five or six throwaway hits that reach the top ten makes more money than one track of musical brilliance that reaches the summit – not that that’s really an honour anymore. Unfortunately, the fed up among us will have to wait patiently for this tedious trend of monotonous dance-pop to bow out. I for one, cannot pretend to like the same barely altered songs  every other week, any longer.

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6 comments

  1. The fact you’ve listed Ellie Goulding as an artist that will be forgotten and Adele/Taylor Swift as modern legends is laughable. This whole article stinks of musical snobbery.

    1. I never called Adele and Taylor Swift music legends. I said their work is more likely to be remembered than Goulding’s latest forgettable single. Ellie Goulding hasn’t come anywhere near the success of either Adele or Taylor Swift. That is simply a fact.

  2. Kind of agree with the last comment. Ellie Goulding is infact a very talented singer/musician/performer and it does seem like you have written her off as a “nothing artist” for want of a better word. Also, imo amount of #1 singles isn’t an accurate measure of success, but that’s a different debate.

    1. No, I haven’t.

      I think Ellie Goulding is talented and not as bad as ‘Burn’ suggests. Her earlier work such as ‘Under the Sheets’ and ‘Guns and Horses’ is far better. She is only listed because she is currently number one.

      I don’t think amount of number-ones is an accurate measure of success. That’s my point. Rihanna is by that logic better than Queen. Anything can get to number-one these days. ‘Burn’ is a case in point.

      Ellie Goulding is simply not comparable to Adele who’s last two albums have been unstoppable and Taylor Swift who has sold in excess of 100 million records worldwide.

  3. I agree with a lot of what is written here, not everything, but everyone has their own opinion. Right?
    You forgot to put in “Needs to be very attractive” as a rule for making it to number 1, also include words such as “Love, Dance or party” in every other lyric.

    Enjoyed the Article.

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