Thursday, September 22, 2005


i need music to move me. i have a certain song stuck in my head, and i know why it's there. it moves me. it compels me to sing along. when i hear it, my mind goes from where my reality is to where the reality of the song is, and whether i'm in broad daylight in the grocery store parking lot or whether i'm on my living room couch in the dark just sitting and listening as i am likely to do, i get lost in the song. the lyrics, the instrumentation, the passion of the vocalist, the story line all get me where it counts, stroking my imagination and soothing some need i have to express some energy and vibrate in tune with something outside myself in such a way that the music isn't coming from outside of me, but really it's inside me and surrounding me, coming out of my vocal cords, and rocking my torso and nodding my head for me. that's not just the particular song i have stuck in my head this morning, there are plenty of songs that do this for me.

what concerns me is that lots of songs like this are over ten years old. a significant percentage of them are in their twenties, or knocking on thirty. and the ones that are relatively recent have gotten little to no radio play. i feel like a victim of the four minute format, like a victim of videos that are killing radio stars. i feel like major radio station conglomerates and record companies all have gotten together in a room full of cigar smoke and have plotted to band together to make me miserable.

there's a saying that i've heard christian pastors use often enough for me to think it may be universal. "i'm not up here preaching to you to tickle your ears." meaning, their job isn't to ignore the life changing substance of the word of God just so that people hear what they want to hear. i love that attitude, because that means that somebody is putting some thought into what comes out of their mouth, because they are mindful of the fact that people need substance. people deserve substance. may i ask why so many radio stations, advertisers, radio "personalities," and worse yet, radio listeners, are content to listen to songs that have no power and no real energy, songs that merely tickle our ears, offer no substance, and then fade into the obscurity that they should never have been able to escape in the first place?

people should be banging down the doors of the radio stations, demanding to hear a variety of music. demanding to hear real instruments sometimes and not just the electronic beats some dude beatboxed one night in the john and turned the next morning into a four minute "hit" song for some beauty who was too short to be a supermodel, too inarticulate to act in Hollywood, and too tone deaf to perform on or off-broadway. it makes me think of clips shown on tv of people revolting against disco music because it didn't speak to their souls, and because it was getting too much attention up against the funk and the punk rock and it was taking over the pop and even the commercials, and the scent was jamming up peoples nostrils to the point where they just got sick and they took their disco albums out into the streets, into stadiums, and they wasted that wax - broke countless LPs and 45s into pieces.

can we do that? please? i know i'm not the only one who feels this way, because nobody is buying CDs anymore. it's not just cause we have CD burners now - it's just, who wants to pay for 16 tracks when you only like three of them? who wants the liner notes for an artist you'll forget about after their song is dropped from the playlist? i know i'm not alone because the internet is so full of radio stations and music sharing sites that celebrate artistry in music. there is a market for good music, if they would just recognize that we're here. can we tell the world that we want music to move us, to stir our souls and our imaginations and take us places? can we burn towers of CDs made by one-hit wonders, and bubble-gum lyrics, no-skill-having wannabe lyricists, gimmicks, novelty acts, and people who sing with no passion and no imagination? can we change the world? can we give music critics something to really debate about and get rid of all the "this one's a no-brainer, this sucks" reviews? can we?