Ben’s World- On Music

First off, I recommend all inflexible rap, rock, and metal lovers not read this article.

See, I’m a musician. I have played pianoforte for seven years, violin for about two and I’m learning French horn.

In short, I am quite competent in the fields of musical performance and critiquing. And I have [almost] every right to be judgmental. So if anyone wishes to remark upon my lack of a right to bash contemporary music, I advise them to hold their tongue.

I usually am quite tolerant, and most of the time I won’t lose my temper. But I really can’t stand arrogant jerks who criticize my ability as an author because of what I write about. Or criticize what I write about because of my ability as an author.

Or in fact, anybody who criticizes me without a reason I deem acceptable. I simply can’t stand it. I will shout, I will be profane, and will, in short lose my temper utterly. So if you people want to abuse the comment board and say that because of your warped musical preferences, I am a poor author and uneducated brute, you will be hated my the Ben.

That out of the way, I proceed to the article.

Contemporary music of any genre is almost invariably bad. In fact music took a steep dive in the quality sector around ’42.

Jazz stopped being instrumental and started emphasizing vocals. Classical music had all but disappeared.

Rock was born, and the number of songs about drugs and sex skyrocketed. By the beginning of this century, music had just about stopped deserving that name.

One thing I have noticed as a pianist is that modern music requires close to no ability to play most of the time. I can hop onto a piano bench and play by ear whatever piece I have just heard with an improvised bass line.

Interesting fact of the day- I have yet to see a piece of pop music that goes through more than a I, V, V7 and IV chord. If you look at Beethoven, you see minor thirds galore. You see Augmented sixths every third note. Your see transposition, rhythmic variety, and accidentals all over the place.

In short, you see music. Now look at rock, metal and pop. You see I, V, IV, V7, I with an unoriginal bass line and loud, obnoxious, even painful chords and some drunk singer shouting about death, drugs and sex. In short, you see garbage.

Not only do I mind the musical (if it can be called that) aspects of contemporary music, I loathe the content. Drugs, Sex, more Sex, Alcohol, More Drugs, Drugs Sex and Alcohol combined, and the occasional swearword.

Admittedly, one does occasionally find a piece of modern music that is merely another genre, that is to say it is merely a melodious, creative and relatively interesting work of art that merely doesn’t appeal to me. But such a happenstance is rare, if not unheard of.

I am painfully aware that a single page article by a melodramatic, satirical seventh grader attending an obscure school in an insignificant city on a small blue planet orbiting a non-noteworthy yellow main-sequence star in the unfashionable quadrant of the galaxy is infinitely improbably going to change the world in the slightest.

But at least my thoughts are out in the world. And perhaps we’ll develop an infinite improbability drive in the next century. But how infinitely improbable would that be, hmm?

Zzzz… 3,072 to the 79th:1 against…


22 thoughts on “Ben’s World- On Music

  1. Okay,
    First of all, what difference do the words, the lyrics, make? You said yourself that it’s all about the music so what difference does it make if it’s about something like drugs or alcohol or whatever it’s about. If it’s a good song then it’s a good song. The words shouldn’t matter.
    Second, music, like all other art, is meant as a way for the performer or the creator to express oneself. Hopefully you’ve noticed the the today world is filled with all the stuff you said modern musicians (yes musicians) sing about so why shouldn’t they sing about them? Why shouldn’t they express themselves.
    And finally, it is NOT true that ALL of modern music is how you describe it.
    Anyway, I think you are being a little disrespectful to modern-day musicians and just because their music is not exactly the way you like it does not mean that it’s bad or that its not, well, music.

    • You two dimensional, transparent editors. Perhaps you labor under the misimpression that your comments actually appear on the left side of the page. NOPE! Your comments appear differently from ours. JMS student? PFT.

      Secondly, modern music of the sort I am ranting about is not an attempt to express yourself, unless all modern composers are drug obsesses alcoholic perverts. It is an attempt to make money of random sounds you can make by pressing a button.

      And thirdly, why the heck to you think this piece is in the SATIRE section?

      Oh yes…

      I am a modern-musician. I do not disrespect myself, as I am far to narcissistic to even consider that level of introspection. I merely criticize the meth addicts who call themselves Composers but are really just people looking to make a buck off of bandwagon.

      • the placing of the comments is completely random. We did not say that. No one likes generalizations.

    • Oh, and one other thing. If I were to play Bach Cello Suite 1 i, prelude, and were to shout **** over and over while it played, would you consider it the same music? Or if I were to remove the lyrics from the Beatles and just play a simplistic harmony, would you react the same way?

      Super-secret hint- your answer, as well as the answer of any sane person, is NO.

  2. Ben, Ben, Ben! It says in your article that you will become very angry and will be PROFANE! But as I recall, only a short while ago you wrote an article about profanity, saying it was, and I quote, “…distracting from schoolwork, as well as offensive in the extreme.” What have you got to say for yourself?

    • That profanity is justified in certain select situations, as being offensive in the extreme is sometimes a good thing when you have a point to communicate. And I don’t use profanity in situations pertaining remotely to schoolwork.

  3. I, for one, agree with Ben to the extreme. The words make all the difference: e.g., almost nobody I know knows how the tune to the Beatles song “I am the Walrus” goes but they all know the words.

  4. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, at one point in his life, became incredibly depressed. Insanely depressed. So depressed in fact that it boggles the mind. So what did he do to express his depression? He wrote an opera. What was the subject of the opera? Not sex, drugs nor violence. He had dangerous, unhealthy habits and no medicine to treat the depression and yet somehow managed to restrain himself from losing all hope and concluding that the answer was to yell profane things into a microphone (or whatever he would use to amplify his voice). So sure express yourselves that way morons, you are the lesser of will.

  5. I do agree that alot of music has become a cliche, like vampires and trends, but I also disagree that all musicians are screaming into a microphone. There actually are a few decent musicians out there. Look up the dresden dolls, or amanda palmer, or kiss kiss(though the singer does scream a little), or Loop!Station. Also, if you looke up the origanal music of alot of famous musicians, you will see that they sound alot different and actually had a point to prove until they became famous. It is unfortunate that most musicians are on drugs or were on drugs when they were most successful, but that’s what fame will do to the weak. Take for instance, My Chemical Romance (yes, they scream alot). THeir first two albums had to be their most origanal albums with actually meaningfull lyrics. The lead singer at the time was addicted to lots of prescription drugs, and I think cocain.

    My friend is trying to eat my shirt and I lost my train of thought. I am in class write now too. it is very awkward.

    Also, it is hard to write poems that arent about the problems of the world. I am a singer myself and most of my songs are about drug addicts and criminals and death. I am not any of these, but I write about them. I also write about hypocracy (which, Ben, you do too, just not in poems.) and other issues in my poems and stories and articles.

    I do agree that music wise, there is very little origanality, especially in bass lines. I am in Rock and Rhythm and I like to play the bass. The bass lines we learn are practically the same in every song. Most are played on the same string with very chang even when we switch from the verses to the chorus. The only song that isn’t played on the same string that I am playing in rock and rhythm is Hello Goodbye, which is overly simple both lyric wise and music wise.

    Yep I think I covered all I had to say

    • Hmm. I shall have to look at Mr. Janov’s bass music. You’d think that with 4 strings and 22 frets, as well as single string/fret chords as well as multistring/fret chords, you’d be able to play something on more than one string.

      • I have a question. Are you referring to Mr. Janov’s class bassists in this quote?
        If so I regret to inform you in most of Rock and Rythm Band sheet music bassists do play using more than one string.
        As well as the fact that “

  6. Also, not all rock songs are about sex and death and Drugs. I shall list some:

    Machines by Kiss Kiss
    Take A Bow: Muse
    Everybodies Fool:Evanesscence
    Fight Song: Marilyn Manson
    Viva La Gloria (little girl): Green Day
    Fully ALive: FLyleaf (I might be have gotten the title mixed up with a different song of theirs)
    and many more!

    • I have more songs!!!

      Most of Coldplay’s work, though they are considered by many to be alternate rock.
      How Far We’ve Come by Matchbox Twenty.
      Coming To Terms by Carolina Liar.
      A Manner To Act by Ra Ra Riot (A band that sounds a bit like a modern-day Beatles cover band- Kya, you might like them.)
      Holding On by Scary Kids Scaring Kids.
      As You Wish by Alesana (Really, anything on When Myth Fades To Legend)
      Send Me On My Way by Rusted Root
      Whoa Oh! by Forever The Sickest Kids
      Everything’s Magic by Angels and Airwaves
      My Own Worst Enemy by Lit.


      • gah, and more….

        Belle Of The Boulevard by Dashboard Confessional
        most of stereoskyline!’s work
        We Need Eachother by Sanctus Real
        Do Better by Say Anything
        Life IS Beautiful by Sixx:AM (although it could be interpreted to be about death, although that’s not what I get out of it)
        Something Good Can Work by Two Door Cinema Club
        Face Down by Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
        155 by +44
        Miami by Taking Back Sunday
        Bring Me To Life by Evanescence [ 😀 ]
        Halfway Gone by Lifehouse

        You may be able to tell that just dug through my iTunes library (of 792 songs) and found all those that could be considered rock and not drug-sex-death inspired.

  7. As well as Smile In Your Sleep by Silverstein and Godspeed by Anberlin, as well as 90% of the songs on Cities.

    And Kya- I just looked up Loop!Station on iTunes. Doesn’t sound like stuff you’d listen too. Ah, look who’s talking, considering I (yes, me, Raiza, self-proclaimed nerd and freak of nature as well as mild goody-two-shoes) listen to screamo.

  8. Yep, Eve K., got me into them. By the way, how the HECK did you find them because they are highly unknown? I actualy listen to a wide array of music, people just think that I only listen to things like Marilyn Manson, but I also listen to Kerli, Lilly Allen, and Fly Leaf, and all of those are nothing like manson.

    • My friend Ryan really likes them. I listened to one of their CDs, looked em up on iTunes, and I’m thoroughly addicted now.
      See, and I listen to stuff like Sixx:A.M. and A Skylit Drive and Alesana and Scary Kids Scaring Kids and As I Lay Dying and Silverstein. And Lily Allen and classical and just about every kind of music there is. Cept techno. I hate techno. Electronica, like daft punk and lucky twice, is cool.
      So yeah, try to pin down my musical tastes. Prepare to spend the rest of your life doing it.

  9. also Ben if you read this I have found a minor spelling error in the following sentance “So if you people want to abuse the comment board and say that because of your warped musical preferences, I am a poor author and uneducated brute, you will be hated my the Ben,”. The 32nd word, which should be “by”, becomes “my”.

  10. Dear Ben,
    I can’t say for sure that I’ll ever understand what you meant in writing this. Since I don’t want to picture you a sadist, I want to interpret your article as a call to change what we should value in music. I myself don’t enjoy the downward spiral music is heading down, but I enjoy listening to some current artists. I don’t mean Kanye West or any other rap group. I personally can’t bear that music, but I have the self-control to not bear down on it mercifully. As I see it, there are just too many artists out there to criticize all at once. I know about your tastes in classical music Ben, but this article was painful to read. I’m almost sure that’s what you meant it to do, but once again I am reluctant to think of you as some sort of sadistic monster feeding off of people’s embarassment for listening to artists they like. I know you and Ivan are just defending a point, there are better things to put your skills to. You don’t have to stoop to writing articles like this. I know since you were just a seventh grader at the time, you might have changed your mind. Nevertheless, I don’t comment on anything much ever, but an article like this does belong in satire. Instead of a review it has the classic elements of a satire: holding up human vices and follies to change human behavior. It certainly changed my mood.

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