I don’t pretend to know much about music. In fact, most debates about it confuse me. It seems like most arguments about why one artist sucks are only backed up by “because she sucks, that’s why!”
I think I can see a trend running through popular songs, though. Doesn’t it seem like break out hit songs have really clear, easy to understand vocals? Here’s what I mean. “The 10 Dumbest Ke$ha Lyrics” is an article that’s gone viral on buzzfeed. Would this article be funny without anyone knowing that she “brushes her teeth with a bottle of Jack?”
High-pitched, well enunciated vocals seem to be the common thread here. You’ve got the same thing going with Eminem, Michael Jackson, Motley Crue, and especially the Beatles. Is there anyone out there who doesn’t at least have one Beatles chorus stuck in their head as they read this sentence? I’m not saying the high tenor is the key to musical success, but at least it’s part of the formula.
I caught up with the passionate Eye on CBC Newsworld the other night. The feature for the evening was “How the Beatles Rocked the Kremlin”, the story of the effect of the Beatles on Cold war-era Russia. The songs were first smuggled in by recording broadcasts from Radio Luxembourg using cannibalized X-ray prints as records. The bootlegs turned out to be one of the factors in inspiring the movements that eventually toppled the iron curtain.
This got me to thinking. There is now an entire generation of a civilization that owes their political freedom to piracy. The music and movies that they copied gave them the chance to dream of the better life that they now have. The oppressed peoples of the world may continue wrest control of their own destinies this way in Iran, Burma, Zimbabwe, and even North Korea. Russia and other former communist countries still have music industries despite this prevailing attitude against copyright. It looks like the battle to label piracy as theft may already be lost.