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My ears hurt and it has nothing to do with the strange man at the bus stop yelling profanities at me, or my professors lecturing me on how poorly I did on my last assignment. Rather, it has everything to do with the current state of music.
Music is a constant in my life that helps get me out of bed and deal with the fact that there is a Major League Baseball off-season.
I have become so dependent on harmonious tones and syncopated word structures that I have turned into some kind of fiend. If music were an illegal substance, I would be considered some kind of junkie the way I wait in anticipation to tear the cover off of an album I just scored.
Unfortunately, the monotonous formulas of making popular music has made me exhausted and want to end all this noise by colliding a baseball bat into my radio. I don’t want to keep hearing Lady Gaga talking about taking a ride on my disco stick, whatever the hell that means.
The thing that frustrates me most about music, besides my thin wallet, is that there doesn’t seem to be many other addicts around to share my musical bliss with. For example, I was speaking with one of my classmates about music and I told her about all the new CDs I had purchased the day prior. She had a puzzled expression on her face and told me she didn’t know that stores still sold CDs.
After my brain aneurysm, I remembered to breathe and not yell out in class. Maybe this example is the exception, but after her response it became completely obvious why so many record stores cease to exist. What used to be so vital to the college experience has been forgotten for digital online music sources, legal or not.
Although a college is the best thing to have in a college town, a record store would be a not-so-distant component for creating a stronger community. It is imperative that you get in an argument with a store manager, that has more tattoos than Chris “Birdman” Anderson, about what comprises good music.
You will learn how to defend an argument quicker than you could in any public speaking class. You’re not going to be ‘right’ in your discussion, though, neither will the record-store owner. But that is the point: you’re going to gain another perspective. That is the whole reason for college right? I promise the experience will be more fulfilling than clicking the, meaningless at best, “I like this” thumbs-up button on everyone’s favorite social media site.
The closest I have come to finding a universal truth in my life is that everyone likes music. Not everyone likes the same genre, but even the world’s most notorious dictator, who didn’t enjoy happiness, enjoyed opera and classical music. So why is one of the most beautiful art forms being ignored?
Simply put, people aren’t inspired by the music anymore.
You are never going to be inspired walking down the street with those white, pathetic-excuses for ear buds. Sit on a stoop and drink a 40-Oz. (or Grape Kool-Aid for all the kids out there) with your closest friends and best speakers, and blare something that would never be accepted in a residential neighborhood. Sing in your off-key voice and scare some small children.
Switch it up from the 10 songs on the radio station and take a road trip to a record store. I promise they’re still around and you might just find a something you never knew existed. A great place to go in Boulder is Absolute Vinyl.
If you don’t have a record player, go down to Denver. Twist and Shout on Colfax and Second Spin off Colorado have enormous selections of CDs. Second Spin quite often has deals on used albums, including buying three and getting the fourth free. The other week I picked up four albums for $15. Trust me, I know buying albums can be expensive, but even just buying one is more rewarding than going to a bar and paying $15 for two drinks.
The popularity of music is shifting into shows like “Glee” and “American Idol,” both displaying extremely talented performers. The problem with these programs is that every week they are pushing out covers that don’t challenge any outdated formulas.
While this might be a good business model, it only drives music further into the ground. Some random show producers are telling us what to listen to. The creativity and individuality of the music is going away to please the masses, and in the process our selection of music is diminished. Besides, MTV constantly proves that television knows nothing about music.
I’m not asking you to abandon the awe inspiring pop classics of “I Kissed A Girl” and “I’m ‘n Luv (Wit a Stripper).” I don’t even expect that you will drop everything and go buy a bunch of albums. I do know something needs to change to bring back good music.
Don’t just listen to music because somebody ripped a few songs from the Internet for you. Know what is on your Ipod and take pride in what you listen to. Who cares if no one else likes what you’re jamming to. You’ll be surprised how much fun it is to be a loner too when you get down to a perfect gem that is uniquely your own. Forget the traditional methods of consuming music and come tap into addiction with me to start experiencing the music again.
Contact CU Independent Copy Editor Ben Macaluso at Ben.firstname.lastname@example.org.