One of Tex Avery’s earliest cartoons for Warner Bros. (when Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes actually meant cartoon oriented music shorts rather than its established cast of slapstick animal characters with a few humans as we know it today) dealt with a Classical music loving owl named Fritz. He would teach voice, piano, and violin. But Fritz hated one of the most popular musical trends of the day…. Jazz. The year was 1936 and America was still in the middle of the great depression. Fritz and his wife have four sons, and three of them match up to the musical tastes of their father. The fourth will be the challenge, because that kid can perform Jazz better than Classical.
Naturally, the father tries to move Owl Jolson towards his preferred style of music. He can’t and Owl Jolson is evicted from the home. Jolson later enters a radio contest which he is the hands down winner…almost got stripped of it, however. By then Fritz had to accept the new art form and what this black sheep…I mean owl of the family can do and wants to do.
Well, Jazz is not as popular as it used to be for it planed seeds into newer popular musical forms, most notably Rock and Roll. And the Jazz people went up in arms (laughs). They defended Frank Sinatra (in spite of hanging out with gangsters) and then-newcomer Johnny Mathis as wholesome entertainment over Elvis Presley who would be crowned the “King of Rock and Roll.” On a side note, a young contralto made me less of an Elvis admire. Hey, she could not connect with any of the One Direction boys or Justin Beber, so I guess an artist before her time won her heart over. Oh well, other than Elvis I am impressed with her musical tastes. Elvis was never really my favorite.
Speaking of musical tastes I really despise what popular music for the most part has become. Taylor Swift’s current album reputation has a hold on the record-buying public (2 million copies to date) and in spite of her change from Country to Pop, her fan base stayed loyal. In this day and age, what Taylor Swift has done has bucked the streaming and downloading trends.
While I think she is better off in Pop over Country, that does not mean she ever did great music or wrote great lyrics because she never believed really did. She is not the problem, just the symptom of a greater machine. My mother’s love of classical music (she did enjoy Elvis before she really went into Classical music) is starting to rub on me…and then some. My first preference in Classical Music arts would be Choral/Sacred Music, but also like the Orchestra, piano, guitar. While I love certain arias, I am not the Opera production guy. I also enjoy progressive rock, 1970’s pop and soul (even disco), and even Hard Rock and Metal.
While popular electronic music goes back to the 1970’s with the likes the German group Kraftwerk and evolved in the 80’s with groups like Depeche Mode, New Order, Human League, and Pet Shop Boys these groups were yet able to write intelligent lyrics to their songs. Now today’s songs have lost that. It is all about sex, clubbing, and gossip for the most part with few exceptions. The music itself has become more soulless as its focused on how many beats per minute can be crammed in (coupled with the 4/4 time). Are we just doing what the Romans are doing? Or has today’s music become a drug of choice of sorts? Personally, I just see it as sour milk.
Would I disown a son or daughter if I had either one for the music I despise? I would be tempted to do so for a time, but eventually No. I think I would try to inject critical thinking skills based on my own understanding of culture. I would let them know why I can’t stand a Taylor Swift or a Bruno Mars. We should not isolate them from the popular culture but maybe explain why it’s not likely the best musical food to consume. Oh, and I would not want that music played around me for long periods of time in the house.