Monday, 17 October 2011

A wee rant

In a moment I'm going to post a link to an article I read in the Guide section of The Guardian. I feel it wonderfully illustrates two (amongst many) problems with the current state of pop music in the UK. I've had this angry feeling inside me for a while now but I don't think I was really able to articulate it in till I read this piece. The problems can be seen as this; 

The fad of boring, boring artists who wait, get this, write their own material! As if this is some kind of new, magical development in the world of music, pop acts who are able to write there own material are heralded as innovators. The mere fact that they've been able to pen a song themselves or even play their own instruments (wow), seems to earn them airplay without questions over the actual merits of the songs being raised. Don't worry if the track is as dull as listening to James Corden talk about James Corden, he wrote it himself on a guitar he can play god dam it!

These records are so overly polished that any of that rustic, 'acoustic' charm that it claims to have, has been worn away to leave a safe, dull, egg-wash finish. Its like replacing a leather ball for fear the rough stitching might hurt a child, with one of those horrible, cheap plastic ones that when you kick just floats off mindlessly into the air.

These artists see themselves as poets, heartfelt romantics, spokespeople of the everyman. Err no, don't think so. By the time the song is finished, you feel absolutely no affinity with the mug who sang it, they haven't said anything profound, moving, expressive, poetic, or even funny; with crass, excruciatingly twee lyrics, he or she has achieved nothing. The only thing I do end up feeling is rage, I dream of ripping out the car stereo and repeatedly smashing it against the artist's head in-till any notion of 'songwriting' is dislodged from their brain and we are spared another three and half minutes of pure dull mystery.

It is the terrible radio in the UK that is responsible for insighting this anger, they provide these artists with the promotion and accolades, it is they who tell us that this is fantastic and that they really are so clever being able to write their own songs and all. What's worse is that during the day time, we are forced (well we could turn it off but that ain't the point) to listen to these songs over and over again thanks to the dreaded 'playlist'.

Who ever came up with the playlist format should be placed against a wall whilst we all repaetedly kick the aforementioned plastic footballs at them just so they understand what it's like listening to their invention; a painful barrage of cheep, identical, lightweight sacks of air. One of the greatest things about music is that there is so much of it, so why have a system where only the same twenty song are played? What is worse is that every commercial radio station in the UK has adopted this unimaginative practice, as if the playlist alone is the secret to success. I remember my time on which labelled itself as 'Leeds's alternative radio satiation,' and thinking that was quite a claim considering, them, like everyone else, had a playlist (as well as 'breakfast' and 'drive'; do students even drive let alone at normal working hours?!).

In my opinion, which may well be wrong and I'd be welcoming in hearing the truth behind the playlist reasoning, is that some sort of sickly, creepy arrangement has been established between the record companies and the radio stations. That is, certain labels will get their artists tracks on the playlist, with no vetting what so ever, in return for interviews, live performances etc. The playlist is therefore one long, constant advert for the record companies, providing their artists with constant exposure and a steady source of royalty payments. This seems particularly perverse when the worst offender, Radio 1, is paid for by public money. 

It may be slanderous to suggest that this system exists and I admit I am heavily speculating, however it can't be denied that playlists are just adverts for the those artists chosen to be on it. It also can not be denied that the content of the playlists are often terrible. Considering these two facts it seems suspicious that for no apparent reason bad tracks from established artists who hail from established imprints, seem to get president over actual quality releases.

What I suggest is someone have the balls to scrap this system. By all means play a track if it's good but not solely because the artist is either from a certain label or established. This may mean more work in terms of research and production but so be it if that's what quality radio requires. No need to play tracks all day everyday either, sure you can play it more than once but try a bit of variety. If radio fails to do this than they threaten to loose listeners to the internet which does provide us with variety and spares us from having to listen to Fern Cotton and Co talk about themselves all day.

With the rant over here is the piece, well worth a read as it's funny as well as truthful. Sorry adele, but Someone Like You ushered in The New Boring. 

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