So I was one of the millions of viewers watching BET 2010 Awards last night. Unfortunately, I was torn between watching “True Blood.” Then something came to me. I wasn’t really looking forward to seeing any of the marquee performers. The only thing I was looking to was the Prince tribute and the MJ tribute. I just wasn’t invested in that world anymore. Trends come and go, but good, quality music lasts forever.
I guess you reach an age where salacious trends can’t satisfy your need for transformative musical sustenance. The greats did that – Teddy Pendergrass, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Patti LaBelle, Berry Gordy’s Motown artists. The true entertainers were students of this discipline. I think that is why the passing of Michael Jackson hurt so much. He bridged the generations with his understanding of music that created pathos in his audiences. But who will do that now?
I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be music for young people to dance to. We all need that kind of escapism at weddings, dances, family reunions. But when the radio becomes saturated with the same kind of music all day, every day, you wonder what the kids are really learning about music. Is Auto-Tune the new standard? Is sampling the new hook? Does a “tight jam” trump powerful lyrics?
And then you wonder why new artists coming out lack substance? Where are the apprentices to the rhythm and blues that my parents listened to? Until young consumers value themselves the same way record executives do when it comes to their spending power, the status quo will remain. What do you think?