By Cory McCullough
March 12, 2009
The year was 1970, the place was a dairy farm located in the rural
town of Bethel, New York- the festival was called Woodstock.
A man named Jimi Hendrix took the stage with a head full of acid in
front of nearly half a million rain soaked concertgoers, ready to
send the positive reverberations of his very own rendition of the
Star Spangled Banner through the very souls of all those in
attendance. For that, nearly half a million and all those who
performed, Woodstock was far more than just a music festival it was
a message of the people, for the people, by the people.
The counter culture was notorious for it's explosion of music, art
and messages of peace. This was when music meant far more than just a
paycheck it represented its people and their voices.
I argue that music has lost its way in the abysmal depths of American
materialistic, consumer based society. Long gone are the days of
socially aware music; instead, we usher in redundant to ringtone rap
and high school "booty shaking" music.
As a society we have waved farewell to the intellectual singer
songwriters of music, such as Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix
and the Beatles to name a few. Instead, we are bombarded with
conjurers of "music," with their dollar sign sights set on the
unaware popular culture. Little do they care what the music
represents, so long as it puts a pretty million or two into their
designer jeans and maybe a contract for their very own line of
clothing. A collaboration of people with Ph.D.'s in music, a writer
or two, a studio equipped with the latest in voice altering, sound
recording, auto-tuning technology available and a 16-year-old girl to
throw her voice over a beat and you got a couple million dollars.
Perhaps if the so called "artist" laying down the tracks gains enough
popularity in the popular culture, her manager can exploit her and
the public even more, via clothing lines, backpacks or perfume.
The so-called music industry has lost touch with the people, and thus
the people have lost their voice. However, instead of losing our
voice by screaming for causes, it was taken from us. Taken by the
pirates of today's music industry and replaced with the voice of some
16-year-old girl singing about love or some guy with a synthesized
voice ranting about all of the beautiful women in some club somewhere
that I will never get into.
Give me Bob. Give me Janis. Give me Jimi. Give me a voice.