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20170717

Music Monday - Art Form or Cash Cow with Planned Obsolescence?


I felt badly about not caring for rap performance because it destroyed my status of being able to enjoy and appreciate all forms of music. I finally rationalized, “How can anything be music if it is not musical?”

Most (and I feel safe in saying “most”) rap performance is merely inflammatory, profanity-filled, roughly rhyming couplets, set to a rhythmic background of raucous and thumping sounds. It is seldom musical.

How can that which is not musical be termed “music”? Simply put, rap is not music.

I don’t know what it is. Some kind of performance art I suppose.

And there’s something else that worries me: We hum and whistle the songs and music of our youth. That’s what makes them so eternal, so legendary to us. Just what are people going to be humming 20 years from now? It’ll be slim pickings surely. Will it be “bomtiddy bomtiddy bomtiddy bom”? Or perhaps a string of unsavory obscenities and profanity.

I have pawed through the cut-out bins, the pawn shops and the abundant thrift stores for cast out and cast away recordings, 8 track, cassette, 45rpm, LP and now CD. Years of doing this taught me (among many other things) that the music that is temporary and disappointing in our lives ends up there in the discard bins, reverting to dust.

Sometimes it was heart-throb entries like David Cassidy or Michael Parks there in the bins. Or maybe classical albums like Ravel’s Bolero or Handel’s Messiah orchestrated and played by small town bands in Europe or Alabama somewhere and bought from magazine ads. There were stacks of stand-up comedy albums, played once and never touched again. I found lots of vanity albums from show-biz personalities hoping to supplement their income in the music business. But, “William Shatner Sings?” or Robert Mitchum’s “Calypso is Like So” although treasures to the collector now, were turkeys when released. The used boxes contained albums by one hit wonders and head bangers. Never a Sinatra, never a Brubeck. It was seldom any jazz album would appear in the charity shop or garage sale. A used Charlie Parker album? Get real.

Today what do you find? Rap CDs. Lots of them. LOTS of them. It seems they do not stand up to repeat plays. The rap protagonists listen to the recording once and then move on. They must. Apparently there is not enough pith in the helmet to wear it repeatedly.

Of course in any art there are exceptions to every premise and medium. I make no judgments here; it’s only an observation.

Since the advent of recordings, one generation of parents grew up listening to jazz and show tunes. That was the popular music of their time. They listened to songs with fine poetry and indelible melodies. They also carry the guilt of the “Charleston” and the “Lindy Hop” and other dances of that ilk.

Along came Bill Haley and Little Richard. Parents were wary because they couldn’t understand the lyrics and thought the dances too sexually symbolic. Turns out they were right and well … wrong. Rock didn’t promote sexual activity any more than the crooners and the snuggle dances of the ‘40’s.

Rap is not the same story. The older generation may just be completely right. The current denizens of the younger generation may just be the victims of the emperor’s new clothes. The next BIG Thing might just be the cash-cow of corporations, eager to exploit the markets with a product that is transitional and must be replaced often; another edition of the planned obsolescence ploy, geared to selling the same product over and over.

The jury is still sequestered on that and ordered Gulf Shrimp today. It's going to be a long session.



David McCallum Sings

Jack Palance Sings

Vince Edwards Sings

Telly Savalas Sings


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