I've had a wonderful evening enjoying some music of the finest quality. I just spent almost three hours watching Dream Theater Live At Budokan, which is a beautiful, incredibly well done DVD, and once I'd finished that, I brought up iTunes, selected some Crowded House, and was struck all over again by how Neil Finn crafted the most gorgeous melodies and sung them with one of the best voices ever in rock music. Two completely different bands, but both completely awesome and very talented at their respective crafts. I take comfort in the fact that while many of the bands I love no longer exist, three of my four favourites are currently active - out of U2, Porcupine Tree, Dream Theater, and Crowded House, only Crowded House have ceased to exist, and even then, the Finn Brothers are still performing. Though excluding the Finns, the odds of any of them touring down here range from uncertain to incredibly unlikely. At least they're continuing to create music to be savoured. Really, that's what's so great about it - it's not just mindless fluff for your ears, it actually contains thought, intelligence, and ability, and is put together to serve more than just commercial purposes. It's beautiful and extremely enjoyable art.
For that reason, I find much of today's popular Top 40 music to be not just rubbish but offensive. There is so much incredible music out there in the world, and yet record executives think they can suck people in to listening to soulless garbage just because it's got a mildly catchy beat or is sung by a woman who's willing to pose in degrading manners in music videos? That's plain offensive and insulting to my intelligence. What else is offensive is that record executives continue to promote and churn out these pop acts and wannabe bands that are clones of one another and make completely derivative, unimaginative music. It has no soul. It's just the same thing over and over again, a different face humming the same melody about typical cliches. Do they really think listening to the same thing over and over again is more healthy and preferable to expanding horizons and enjoying a diversity of music from all different creative places, drawing on multitudes of diverse inspirations? There's so much out there in the music world, from incredible improvisational abilities to insightful lyrics to meticulously crafted melodies, but if aliens came to earth and listened to our top forty charts, they'd write off our music as unimaginative noise.
I don't understand when people play it safe with their music, listening just to what the radio station plays for them. It's healthy to broaden your horizons and explore what the world has to offer, as you never know what you'll find. Exploration is an incredibly important part of growing as an individual. Personally, I love to challenge myself with music, as with anything else in life. Challenging myself can lead to amazing discoveries, and if nothing else, it is very educational. I very much believe in the value of education and learning about as much as possible - there's no such thing as too much knowledge. Ignorance is not beneficial, and the more it can be erased, the better. Music is an important part of culture, and such a valuable form of artistic expression. To degrade it to the level of this unimaginative dross thrust down the public's throat is a plain insult to both the art and to the intelligence of the listeners. I propose that we celebrate art and maximise its potential. There is very little more beautiful.