Author: Adrian Hairapetian
Recently, Mumford & Sons, an English folk-rock band formed in 2007, released their long-awaited, second studio album “Babel.” The 12-track record sold 600,000 copies in the first week of release, according to Billboard.com. At the pace it’s on, the album could potentially be certified platinum by the end of this week. Compared to other records, Babel had an impressive opening, out-selling Justin Bieber’s “Believe”, which contains singles like “Boyfriend” and “As Long As You Love Me,” in record sales, which sold 347,000 copies in its first week of release. Mumford & Sons, nonetheless, cannot be the lone exception in today’s disappointing musical environment.
Mumford & Sons did well with “Babel” saleswise, especially in today’s world where music isn’t bought by most. According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry reports, 95 percent of music downloads worldwide were done illegally in 2008. Mumford & Sons may be an exception to this, but overall, the music industry has been heading in a negative direction as far as its substance is concerned. Today’s lyrics in hip-hop/rap and pop don’t even compare to the ones in that genre playing on the radio during the 1990s.
One example is 2 Chainz, a breakthrough rapper now signed to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music record label, who dumbs down his vocabulary to appeal to certain audiences. These audiences, consequently, guide the fate of the music industry. We promote this music by bumping it in the car and favoring certain stations on Pandora.com, demonstrating the power that this music has to enter into our daily lives.
And what do the executives think? They continue to put this music on the radio because they know it will sell.
Not only does 2 Chainz produce meaningless, mainstream songs, but Tyga - a YMCMB rap artist who made it in the game with his hit single “Rack City” – also embarrasses the music industry. Tyga debuted under Young Money Entertainment with “Careless World: Rise of the Last King,” which includes tracks like “Rack City” and “Faded.” These songs include a repetitive and thus annoying chorus – saying the same word who knows how many times – and a simple instrumental that lacks quality production. Tyga’s record and 2 Chainz’s debut “Based On a T.R.U. Story” have been selling, and the record sales signify that society considers them talented and their songs purchasable.
Although many have praised Kanye West for his talent and the numerous hit records he’s released – including “Late Registration,” “Graduation” and “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” – his latest G.O.O.D. Music compilation record Cruel Summer included tracks like Tyga’s “Rack City” and 2 Chainz’s “Birthday Song” (which, in fact, featured Kanye West). Tracks like “Mercy” and “I Don’t Like,” for instance, lacked meaning and disappointed fans.
Ultimately, with the release of tracks from artists signed to Birdman’s Young Money Entertainment, it is evident that the music industry is headed toward a direction that lacks integrity and innovation. Mumford & Sons may be the recent exception, but they cannot be alone. Other artists need to release music that is a pure and honest representation of their own, original talent.
Adrian Hairapetian is an undeclared first-year. He can be reached at [email protected]
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