Amber Alert: Timeless Music (Part 1)

March 31, 2016
March 31, 2016 Jason

I was mid-way thru creating my Michael Jackson/Jackson 5 Spotify playlist (which is fire by the way), and I found myself listening to the instrumentation of some of the Jackson 5 songs. Then it dawned on me…I may have figured out THE reason why there aren’t a lot of timeless music today. Ok, ok…maybe A reason.

We don’t have to go back too far in history. In fact, if you were born before the mid-90s, you might remember life without the internet, and humongous computers with like 32 MB hard drives.

What’s your point? 

Relax, I’m getting there.

Ok, so with limited computers and no internet life, it would be pretty hard to whip out a mixtape and flood everyone’s timeline with it, right? In fact, the mixtape era would be subjected to physically pressing up CDs (or cassettes) and selling them out of your trunk, right? Ahhh…the good ol days. Any who, that was then and this is now.

We live in a day and age where every millisecond, a “rapper” is born. That said rapper doesn’t feel the need to work on an album. Why? Well, because albums cost money, and unless they’re signed to an actual record label, who has a budget for creating albums, you gon get deez singles…and like it! But wait! Said rapper probably can’t afford beats, so they most likely will search for popular instrumentals or beg local producers for throwaway beats, and ta da! Mixtape. But wait! Even though said rapper is intelligent and articulate, his lyrics sure sounds dumb. Well, that’s because the only way to grow your fanbase is to hit up these clubs. Duh! I have yet to meet a person who goes to the clubs to specifically listen for similes and metaphors. Concept songs and alcohol is like oil and water. Bottom line, hip hop…no, sorry…MUSIC is over-saturated and almost void of quality.

*steps off soapbox*

Believe it or not folks, that wasn’t even my point. Now I’m not completely naive, ok? We can complain all day long about the music of today, but we grew up on some pretty dumb songs too. Ol Dirty Bastard and Vanilla Ice weren’t what I would call “musical geniuses”. Not even the production of Timbaland could save Magoo from being wack. (Ah, production…that’s what I want to talk about. Bare with me, it’s 2am.)

When I listened to the Jackson 5’s discography, and heck, even Mike’s solo stuff, I noticed things like guitar solos, trumpets, horn solos, jam sessions in the middle of songs!! Let’s take “Beat It“, for example. Sure, you remember the dance moves, and hook, but I’m sure you also remember that Eddie Van Halen guitar solo. (Watch this entire video if you have time. It’s dope. If you don’t have time, fast forward to 3:05 for Eddie’s part):

Even the beginning of “Billie Jean” is just as important (if not more) than the actual song. Special techniques were used to play the drums. You even had one cat on a lyricon! Heck, it was mixed 91 times! It’s a rarity these days that an artist would take that much time and care over ONE song! (Now, it’s “whip me up a beat real quick so I can freestyle and post it on my SoundCloud”) Throw any timeless song out there and I bet you that a high percentage of those songs will have some sort of organic, humanistic instrumentation to it. On Stevie Wonder’s “Part Time Lover“, he’s scatting through some of it because the groove is so freakin’ good! One of the greatest songwriters of all time is SCATTING! Why? Let me start a new paragraph and really break this down.

We live in the age of super-producers. We live in the age of advance technology. No more composing. Heck, I’m willing to bet that your favorite trap-beat producer doesn’t know how to read sheet music. And why should they? All they have to do is get a drum kit, get a sample (which is most likely from a song that actually HAD a humanistic vibe session), loop it after 4 or 8 bars, and BOOM! Radio hit. In fact, if you’re really feeling “full of swag”, you can drop your name at the beginning of the beat and BAM! Super producer. (This is not a knock on all producers) And to keep this thing going, just copy and paste that template of a beat. I mean all the brand new “rappers” (who were born a millisecond ago) are gonna want to have that sound, right? Why? Because that’s what the clubs want? Sure. That’s an easy answer, but let’s expose something else. Clubs have DJs. Wait…I forgot my quotation marks. Clubs have “DJs”. Not many are scratching anymore. The majority aren’t manually controlling the pace of music. It’s all digital. Mixing becomes easier if all the songs are the same tempo and sound. BOOM. That’s a key reason why all the songs sound the same.

Darn you, soapbox! Let me bottom-line this so these people can go.

Obviously I have many gripes, but the one point I want to drive home is composing. It’s hard to debate with young folks nowadays about the lyrics, because again…no one is listening to wordplay in the clubs. That’s fine. Ok. Whatever. BUT for those (like myself) who is yearning for timeless music again, let’s start with the production. Looping is fine (I guess), but let’s start having jam sessions again. Have more than one producer working on a song. Think about a possible orchestra wanting to play their version of your song. Let the drummer or trumpet player have a 16 bar freestyle, instead of another stank rapper. That’s all I’m saying. Perhaps that will give that particular song a longer life span.

That’s just my two cents. I may revisit this with another perspective (because there are many).

Comments (35)

  1. Читателям предоставляется возможность ознакомиться с фактами и самостоятельно сделать выводы.

  2. I have been surfing online more than 3 hours today yet I never found any interesting article like yours It is pretty worth enough for me In my opinion if all web owners and bloggers made good content as you did the web will be much more useful than ever before

  3. Мне понравилась объективность автора и его стремление представить все стороны вопроса.

  4. Nice blog here Also your site loads up fast What host are you using Can I get your affiliate link to your host I wish my web site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

  5. Hi Neat post There is a problem along with your website in internet explorer would test this IE still is the market chief and a good section of other folks will pass over your magnificent writing due to this problem

  6. Я хотел бы выразить свою восторженность этой статьей! Она не только информативна, но и вдохновляет меня на дальнейшее изучение темы. Автор сумел передать свою страсть и знания, что делает эту статью поистине уникальной.

  7. Надеюсь, что эти комментарии добавят ещё больше позитива и поддержки к информационной статье!

  8. You’re so interesting! I do not suppose I’ve read through anything like that before. So great to discover another person with original thoughts on this subject. Seriously.. thanks for starting this up. This site is one thing that is required on the web, someone with a bit of originality!

  9. Автор статьи представляет факты и аргументы, обеспечивая читателей нейтральной информацией для дальнейшего обсуждения и рассмотрения.

  10. Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Many thanks, However I am experiencing issues with your RSS. I don’t know the reason why I can’t subscribe to it. Is there anybody having the same RSS problems? Anyone who knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanx!!

  11. Автор представил четкую и структурированную статью, основанную на фактах и статистике.

  12. Howdy! I simply wish to give you a huge thumbs up for your great info you have right here on this post. I am returning to your website for more soon.

  13. Have you ever considered creating an e-book or guest authoring on other blogs? I have a blog centered on the same ideas you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information. I know my audience would appreciate your work. If you are even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an email.

  14. Очень хорошо организованная статья! Автор умело структурировал информацию, что помогло мне легко следовать за ней. Я ценю его усилия в создании такого четкого и информативного материала.

  15. Hi, i believe that i saw you visited my blog so i came to return the choose?.I’m attempting to to find things to improve my website!I assume its adequate to make use of some of your ideas!!

  16. Greetings from Ohio! I’m bored to tears at work so I decided to browse your site on my iphone during lunch break. I love the info you present here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m surprised at how fast your blog loaded on my phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, fantastic blog!

  17. Важно отметить, что автор статьи предоставляет информацию с разных сторон и не принимает определенной позиции.

  18. Статья охватывает различные аспекты обсуждаемой темы и представляет аргументы с обеих сторон.

  19. Очень понятная и информативная статья! Автор сумел объяснить сложные понятия простым и доступным языком, что помогло мне лучше усвоить материал. Огромное спасибо за такое ясное изложение! Это сообщение отправлено с сайта

  20. Hey there! I’ve been following your site for a long time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Kingwood Texas! Just wanted to mention keep up the excellent job!

  21. Автор предлагает дополнительные ресурсы, которые помогут читателю углубиться в тему и расширить свои знания.

  22. Hi there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and found that it’s really informative. I’m going to watch out for brussels. I’ll be grateful if you continue this in future. A lot of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  23. Очень понятная и информативная статья! Автор сумел объяснить сложные понятия простым и доступным языком, что помогло мне лучше усвоить материал. Огромное спасибо за такое ясное изложение!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *