Musical taste clashes with popular culture

By Amelia Kurk


On the night of August 15, 1998, my mom found that it was particularly hard to fit her favorite Queensrÿche T-shirt over her seven-month pregnant stomach. It was heavy-metal-date-night, and I was along for the ride. My dad’s ten-year obsession with the band fired up again when they went on an unannounced tour to Texas. Eating the festival hotdog she’d been craving and dancing in the mosh pit with me in her stomach, my mom introduced me to the music scene.

Growing up five minutes away from Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, most of my Friday nights were spent sitting on the back porch listening to concerts. I heard performances from Steely Dan and The Eagles to Sheryl Crow and James Taylor. And every time, my mom never failed to say, “Put your hands up to your heart. You can feel the music beat there.”

So, I did exactly that. I put my hands up to my heart and haven’t put them down since.

Music is something that understands me better than my own mind. The soul crushing melodies and poetic words that I immersed myself in became things that I couldn’t focus on without.

I surrounded myself with music like the Beach Boys and the Hollies and wondered why people looked at me funny when I said the 60s was my favorite music decade. I tried to get into the music my friends listened to, but couldn’t find any meaning behind the egotistical lyrics and the same chord repeating over and over again.

The more I looked into the music from my generation, the louder I turned up the music I enjoyed. Today’s bands completely change their genre when a new producer tells them “what’s hot,” and artists in our talent show nation often compromise their own integrity for better pay.

The music from our generation focuses on now, and appeals to a mass number of people, but will these bands have any lasting power?

Words from Justin Bieber that we hear in the hallways and the annoyingly catchy tunes of One Direction that play in every public location entertain people for the moment but don’t have the musicality or lyricism to make an enduring impact on future generations.

Where are the singer-songwriters that could move us, and the bands who are creatively genius enough to invent whole new genres that last?

Today’s “popular” music lacks the appropriate note values and ability to invoke deep emotion. It’s too hidden behind the bubblegum sound and fame-fueled values.

Let’s hope artists will return to the basics of music and produce sounds that are nothing but passionate, profound and genuine, music that makes people want to put their hands up to their hearts, and keep them there.