First off, I must forewarn readers (if you are out there) that I may inadvertently offend you, especially those devout and steadfast Justin Bieber fans. It is not my intent to criticize or attack the integrity of said artists but rather to assess the current state of the music industry with regard to pop stardom and the “indie” revolution that has drastically progressed throughout the last decade. With that out of the way I shall proceed as originally intended. I must blame, or credit shall I say, the recent Grammy awards for my proposed interest on the genetic makeup of the music industry. Frankly, I have always found the Grammy’s to be trite, a tad inconsistent, and rather inaccurate. By no means do I possess the solemn authority to utter such conclusion, but this year in particular proved to be rather eclectic and surprising. The nominees for best new artist are what initially grabbed my attention, sending me into a pensive, musical disposition. The list in itself was diverse including the likes of Esperanza Spalding, Drake, Justin Bieber, Mumford and Sons, and Florence the Machine. Now, upon first glance, these artists appear drastically different (pardon my alliteration), with the exception perhaps of Mumford and Florence and maybe Drake and Bieber, if I am permitted, momentarily, to very loosely categorize these artists. Portland native, Esperanza Spalding, ultimately took home the prize for deserved reasons. At such a young age, she possesses a musical versatility and gifting that alludes to past musical geniuses. She is a real life August Rush, only in a more darker and female form (that is not a racist or sexist comment, I am just stating the obvious for differentiation purposes). Perhaps my bias opinion convolutes the reality. As a Portlander I applaud her recognition and success, but I must also say that part of me was left disappointed when Mumford and Sons missed out on the award. I state this because very few bands successfully articulate such poetic lyrics and poignant music to a worldwide audience. To be honest I was shocked when I discovered their nomination for best new artists, especially after reviewing the other nominees. Again, I am not here to bash on Drake or Bieber, or the trendiness of teeny bop pop music. Admittedly so, pop music possesses an inherent quality that perpetuates its widespread accessibility. Albeit a driving beat, an unforgettable melody that gets lodged into your brain…an iPod stuck on replay what have you. What frustrated me was the ridiculous backlash and outrage Beiber fans expressed towards Esperanza Spalding for “stealing” his award. For starters, auto tune and the producers should have been awarded the prize. If the nominee had read “Best New Stage Performer,” then undeniably, Bieber deserved a better chance. Therefore, the venting and verbal criticisms appear to lack credibility and authority. Not to mention he lost to an artist that plays four instruments, learned to play the violin at age five, graduated from the prestigious Berkley College of Music at age 20, and then proceeded to become the youngest professor in the institution’s history (so don’t feel so bad Justin, you lost to a brilliant musician). Granted, not all brilliant musicians attended, or have to attend a prestigious institution or conservatory to obtain such magnificent heights. I realize the music industry has shifted over the years and that radio-friendly pop dominates the airwaves, but I am thrilled that on several occasions this year, the Grammy’s correctly awarded the victors.
As far as “Indie” goes, I was rather shocked to see that Arcade Fire won “Best Album of the Year.” For a band that started out humbly by paying their dues and learning the art of patience, an award of such calibre seems rather fair. Undoubtedly, Arcade Fire started out “Indie,” maybe not indie enough for some, but nevertheless, they forged a way through the music scene and eventually found themselves at a place of unbridled success, amassing a following of fans, who not only understand, but, connect with the music and the band, despite their gradual and recent worldwide success, uncharacteristic of an “Indie” band. This leads me to question the motives behind “Indie” music lovers. Is it merely all about discovering the next group that plays in a small coffee shop paying homage to the humble days of Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, or Joni Mitchell? Is it about the quirky instruments utilized, which were either discovered in some quaint vintage store or fashioned out of the remnants of household items and second hand stores? Or is it simply about keeping “Indie” just that: “Indie?” Thus, I pose the following question (pardon my successive line of questioning). “Does a band, artist, group, whatever—lose their credibility and authenticity as a humble and distinct creative entity by gaining fame, recognition, or God forbid, a following outside the confines of the “Indie” world? Analyzing Arcade Fire’s journey, I submit that they did not. I’m sick of hearing the rhetoric and arguments that “big” bands sold out and no longer care about the artistic integrity of their music. I guarantee you that if you truly sit and listen, or stand for that matter, be it live or intimately, to “big” bands such as Arcade Fire, Mumford and Sons, the Boxer Rebellion, Muse, or whatever “big” band you choose to insert, you will discover a commonality: restlessness. Let me explain. Humour me by allowing me to hypothesize. Could it be that in efforts to discover themselves as musicians and as individuals, these artists strive and struggle to avoid complacency and mediocrity, which ultimately propels them to the forefront of the musical scene? Perhaps their endless obsession to create something unique enables them to connect with a wider audience, desperately longing for a musical breath of fresh air. Therefore, if that means losing their “Indie” membership, then so be it. Regardless of current trends and fads, music will continue to evolve, and hopefully the Grammy’s as well as the world for that matter, will not only recognize genuine talent, but also champion that talent. But for now, we’ve still got that fever…
tumblrbot asked: WHERE WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO VISIT ON YOUR PLANET?
Iceland or Cuba