It was a Tuesday evening, and a late night jaunt to Tesco with the Beau resulted in a (not-so-new) revelation – what has happened to music in recent years?
Having a browse of the CD charts, I looked at Adele’s album cover. A beautiful monochrome shot of the supremely talented Miss Adkins. Plain, but elegant, I thought. Classic beauty – a rarity nowadays, I’m sure you will agree.
My eyes glanced to the left. I clock Rihanna, on the cover of her new album, with come-to-bed eyes, her mouth open and licking her lips. I look right and Katy Perry is lying sprawled out on a cloud, completely nude, with just a puff of pink cloud covering her modesty.
Honestly, what is the need of this? It serves no purpose in the music industry. What it does is appease to the simplest level of human nature – not to mention serving to inflate the individual’s already oversized ego. It is fact – sex is the most powerful marketing tool of all.
Truly talented artists, few and far between in recent years, are literally surrounded by this, in reality and on the shelves. Music is becoming so clouded by sexuality that it can be difficult to spot real talent.
So I’m just going to go ahead and say it. Katy Perry is not talented. Beautiful, yes – but not talented whatsoever in her chosen career. Yet a successful career nonetheless, that she has built through overt sexuality, needless nudity and smutty suggestion: just listen to ‘Peacock’.
Call me a prude but I find these sort of lyrics in these songs not only disgusting but very unnecessary. Whatever happened to songs about love? I’m sure you didn’t know that she began her ‘career’ as a Christian music artist. But surprisingly, that didn’t work out (maybe if she could sing?), so where did she go next? ‘I Kissed a Girl’ – appeasing to the simplest and cheapest way to find popularity, particularly with men.
Her music videos are also very unsavoury. Which one to exemplify with? I’m really spoiled for choice. I’ll opt for ‘California Gurls’, basically a song about how pretty she is. Just one of the tasteless elements in the video (again, spoiled for choice) is Katy spraying squirty cream from her bra – and this is who kids have to look up to.
Children cannot be shielded from this – it saturates society. Have you ever heard an eight-year-old girl referring to Justin Bieber as ‘sexy’? And singing ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but whips and chains excite me’? It’s unsettling, to say the very least.
Rihanna is a talented woman, but has succumbed to what seems to be a new rule of thumb in the music industry. A steady degeneration over the years, she once smiled sweetly, dressed appropriately and had quirky dance routines. Now all one has to do is watch a few minutes of her music video ‘We Found Love’ – everything that’s wrong with society is in there. Drug-fuelled parties, violence, abuse… all while she is cavorting in suspenders or topless (of course). And needless to say, explicit sex scenes (…of course).
Her behaviour and image has become so cheap and sleazy, despite having the talent – she doesn’t NEED to writh around in leather and sing about her fetishes. But she does it anyway, on what I imagine is largely reasoned on major ego indulgence.
And is it any wonder how artists like these make young – and impressionable, vulnerable – adolescent girls feel insecure in themselves? Katy Perry’s video for ‘Last Friday Night’ ridicules geeks. And the definition of ‘geeks’, if going by the video, is anyone who has an interest in astronomy/wears braces/has glasses/reads/doesn’t get drunk/is a virgin.
Social outcasts are made fun of, and what is defined as cool and the route to popularity is drinking to the point of passing out and waking up with ‘a stranger in [your] bed’, a hicky and a pounding hangover. ‘Last Friday Night/We went streaking in the park/Skinny dipping in the dark/Then had a ménage à trios/Last Friday Night’. I’ll say it again – she is a role model to children. What sort of message is this to be sending?
Originality in music is a fleeting thing. Want to make it big? You will need the following. Knockout figure – check. Lyrics steeped in innuendo – check. Revealing clothes (if you must wear clothes at all) – check. And of course auto-tune is a necessity. It has worked for Perry, Nicki Minaj, Ke$ha… I could go on.
They try to be original and quirky through their outfits and hair, which only serves to prove that it’s all about image. How can anyone who sings about ‘all that ass hanging out’, or loving the smell of sex ever possibly claim that it’s ‘all about the music’? Yet it is the claim they all stake.
Adele’s music is heartfelt, powerful and clever. There is no selling of sexuality. Her music videos and performances may not cause sexual arousal but they personally give me goosebumps every time. And that should be what music is about.
Hopefully the new upcoming BBC programme ‘The Voice’, in which the judging panel have their backs to the singers during auditions, can make some small inroads into changing this unsavoury trend.