Reassessing the state of the musical union

Zach Buckley, IV Leader Columnist

Music is near and dear to everyone’s heart.
It may not necessarily be the same type of music that somebody else loves – but it is music nonetheless.  And music can be nearly anything.  I’m not here to dispute nor confirm the credibility of any form of music.  If anything, I am more concerned with the current balance of the musical world.  It is not in a healthy place in any regard and I think the first step to fixing that is to address the problem at hand.
The musical world exists primarily on two levels: local and national.  An argument could be made for the regional level but most people simply care about what’s popular in the immediate area, just as well they only consider the immediate area around them – it’s largely the same for the international market.
For example, if someone from La Salle goes and sees a band from Chicago play in Chicago they more than likely will consider that band a part of the Chicago scene instead of a much larger Northern Midwest scene.
My concern with everything on the national level is more than likely the same concern everyone else has – it’s the same old worthless crap.
You would think that there could only be so many crappy songs about having gratuitous amounts of sex with people you know are probably very questionable in nature and drinking exorbitant amounts of alcohol but it would seem that I was wrong – very, very wrong.
What’s even worse is that it is all for the most part really crappy synth music.  You would think they could have chosen to rip off of Depeche Mode or even Duran Duran when it came to modeling synth sounds but instead it sounds like they all just grabbed the keyboard rigs from every 80’s hair metal band and went to town!  Raise your glass to that one, right?!
Understanding my distaste, you would not believe how excited I was at the emergence of Adele in the pop stratosphere.
It was a wonderful respite to hear tasteful music over the airwaves. I was stricken slack-jawed when I first heard “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye on commercial radio.  I had been in love with that song for about six months and I would’ve never imagined in my wildest dreams that it would make it to the upper echelons of the Billboard charts!
Hell, I’m even pleased with Rihanna’s “We Found Love” because while there’s that annoying, ascending cacophony in there – it’s still a generally overall good song that doesn’t talk about sex and drink!  Granted, the hopeless place in the song could very well be a bar or a club – it would make total sense – but I will allow myself to look past that and consider it a baby step in the right direction.  Maybe people are finally too hung over to listen to this kind of music ALL THE TIME.
One can dream, right?
Now, in regards to the local level I must first make a disclaimer: I do not in any way, shape, and/or form dislike, despise, hate, and/or loathe metal.  In fact, I am more concerned for the health and viability of metal.  There are simply too many metal bands on the local level and that is bad for quite a few reasons.
First of all, if there are too many metal bands, then that will result in too many metal shows which results in many metal bands fighting for people’s attention which results in the good metal bands going unnoticed and put upon the same level as the bad metal bands.
Nobody wins.  Everybody loses.
It would also seem that metal has in fact become the new punk in the sense that anybody feels like they can do it and everybody wants to try.  It would seem that it has become this way because the bad bands make it so.
When you grind on an open chord for three minutes and consider it a song you open the flood gates for any schmuck with dreams of down tuned glory.
If you notice, the good metal bands in your local scene have a sense of musicality that sets them apart.  That sense of musicality needs to be the standard across the board or else this genre will devolve and degrade and die out due to the sheer monotony of it.
Now, I am not saying that we should crush the hopes and dreams of the masses dying to be like their heroes.
What I am saying, though, is that anybody who wants to pick up an instrument and start playing needs to have a standard.  If musicians and fans alike do not have a standard for themselves then the next batch of up-and-coming musicians will be of a lower common denominator.
We set the bar for achievement and quality.
Hopefully, after reading this, some off-putting sense of indignation towards something that you think is wrong with the musical world around you will flare up within you!
Demand justice! If Batman wants it, you should too!
Send an email to the Leader or drop a comment on the Web site and tell me what you would like to hear different in the music you listen to or what trends you hope will pop up (or die)!
Keep your ears open, though.
Good music is everywhere – you just have to pick through the noise.

Comment on this column at