Obsession with the banal

October 23, 2017

 

Ed Sheeran throws the spotlight on a vacuous world where the only thing of any importance is your body. But I like this song. Goddammit.

 

 

 

Chart music and its constant obsession with "love"

 

I both marvel and despair at chart music and its constant obsession with "love". And let’s be clear here, it is not really love but fleeting passion. Lust.

 

A flow of words and beats slammed together by a producer. Not even a group of musicians anymore, just a single (often male and very young) producer, designed for the sole purpose of making money.

 

The most annoying thing is that I listen to it. I hate to admit it, but I quite like turning the radio up loud when I’m driving along the motorway to the syncopated beat of Ed Sheeran’s ‘A Shape of You’.

 

Yes, I know. “Where has your originality gone?” I hear you say. But my kids love it too, doing a strange, on-the-spot dancing in their seats, grinning from ear to ear, lurching backwards and forwards in a tribal body shake as the car speeds along.

 

Intellectually, though, I do not like Ed Sheeran’s ‘A Shape of You’. The lyrics are moronic. They do not inspire me to envisage the world as a better place, show me anything new, or make me feel as if I particularly like the human race (which is, I suppose, what I expect of art in some way).

 

Quite the opposite in fact. Ed Sheeran throws the spotlight on a vacuous world where the only thing of any importance is your body. But I like this song. Goddammit.

Your mind is numbed briefly, cocooned away from the harsh reality of the capitalist underbelly

After considerable thought, I’ve concluded that listening to chart music is like being anesthetised. A drug.

 

Chart music drowns everything else out, and whatever you happen to be feeling at that time — frustration, anger, discontent, tiredness — is squashed out of the way by the hurtling rhythms of lust that pick you up and throw you along with their primitive banging and delusory passion-fuelled words.

 

Your mind is numbed briefly, cocooned away from the harsh reality of the capitalist underbelly, and you float along in a false belief that there is a point to all of this other than lining Ed Sheeran’s pockets.

Why don’t people produce more songs about anger?

I apologise if this seems bleak. But this brings me to the other question I have been pondering recently. Why does nobody write music about anger anymore?

 

 

Surely, anger is an emotion most of us feel on a frequent basis that actually prompts us to act. Is it not anger that drives us to do bigger things, lets us dare to dream of a better world, and has not anger historically led people to free themselves from unspeakable regimes?

 

A host of inspiring images exists to talk about anger: spitting blood, seeing red, seething, fuming, raging, furious. The Catalans talk about shooting fire out of your teeth, having a fly up your nose and having a face like sour apples.

 

With all these creative images at our fingertips, why don’t people produce more songs about anger?

 

 

I imagine it has something to do with the numbing aspect of contemporary popular culture. Anger makes people too proactive.

 

After all, those who are making money don’t want to change the status quo, and it is better for industry (all kinds of industry) that people feel dulled and content listening to banal songs, pursuing carnal desires and ultimately spending money on buying things.

 

Instead, anger would encourage people to become proactive, to think, and to challenge the status quo. Heavens, they might even start a revolution. And who would spend all the money then?

 

 

I’m sure I have oversimplified this debate but I would be interested to know what you think about chart music and its obsession with the banal.

 

Genevieve Shaw és copywriter i traductora freelance en anglès amb més de 12 anys d'experiència. És especialitzada en màrqueting, cultura, turisme, salut & wellness.

 

 

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