Sunday, April 8, 2012

Why do I hate everything mainstream? Q and A.

This post was made from my personal experience and some research from the Internet.

Why do people hate Justin Bieber, mainstream K-pop, Glee, Lady Gaga, Filipinos with too much pride over their overseas superstars, Manny Pacquiao, and many more mainstream acts? I have proposed two theories:

1. These people are open-minded people who have a bigger sense of art.
2. These people long for the music/culture of the era they grew up in, and feel alienated of the new era.

Let's focus on the second one, since the first one is...pretty much self-explanatory and we've discussed it so many times already.

When we play our music to our parents or grandparents, their natural reaction is to, of course, cover their ears and say "what the hell kind of a devilish music is that?". Of course, we are downhearted. But look at us today: we say the same arrangement of words towards "tweenagers" who are obsessed with auto-tuned pop stars.

What I am trying to say is that maybe, hating mainstream is part of growing up. It tells us that we are looking for the music of the past, particularly of the era we were children or teenagers like them. In my example, I am a 90's - 2000's kid. Whenever I hear stuff from Westlife, Boyzone, Vengaboys, (the old) Britney Spears, (the old) Avril Lavigne, and a bunch of Playstation dance game music (such as DDR soundtracks), I am definitely floating on cloud nine. Whereas when I hear SuperJunior, Girls' Generation, Akon, Ne-yo, Glee music, and many others, my face squirms like a screeching sound of a piece of chalk on the board.

The same is true for all our elders. For example, our grandparents may have been in the era of Elvis Presley, The Lettermen, Matt Monro, and many others. They will not be accustomed to livelier music such as ahead of the Michael Jackson era. Their culture is subtle, quiet, peaceful, and grandiose. On the other hand, our parents, who might have been fans of Air Supply, Michael Jackson, or Michael Learns to Rock, will probably bash dance crazes and semi-electronic music, even (of course) punk rock.

But if we do look at the evolution of music from afar, there is a degradation of everything. Here is what I have noticed of each era of music (as far as I can tell).

60's era
Top Genres: Oldies, Boogie, Jazz, Ballad, Rock N Roll
Overall Culture: Slow-paced. People like to relax and be noble, like the aristocrats in Europe. Think of the music and culture from Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story and many other movies/stories that incorporate the 1950's and 1960's.
Prominent People: Elvis Presley, Matt Monro, The Lettermen, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra (the guy who sang My Way a.k.a. the videoke murderer song in the Philippines)
Common themes of songs: Romance...and that's pretty much it. But the romance in this era is very simple and sometimes, quite abstract.
Overall romantic line: "You are my everything."
General perspective of people: "This is a beautiful world and I love it."

70's era
Top Genres: Disco, Soul
Overall Culture: Slightly livelier than the 60's era. This is when electronic music begins to take shape, in the form of disco music. People are starting to learn to use good synthesizers and be more creative in their clothes.
Prominent People: Earth, Wind and Fire, and many other disco artists

Common themes of songs: Partying with an occasional incorporation of romance and love affairs. 70's people love to dance the night away, even on cheap disco instruments and keyboards.
Overall romantic line: "You set my soul on fire." or something like that.
General perspective of people: "I wanna keep on livin' in this world."

80's era
Top Genres: New Wave, Slow Rock, Pop (as in MJ)
Overall Culture: Revolutionary. And it's not just the Philippines, but also in foreign acts. Many new wave artists have emerged and thus begin to build the electronic music scene. It's like a break out from a quiet room to a noisy guitar-riff rich stadium.
Prominent People: Michael Jackson, Michael Learns to Rock (though I think that's a bit 90's too), Aerosmith, Air Supply, and a lot of one-hit New Wave artists

Common themes of songs: Revolution and the passion for dreams. Romance isn't really much present, if you're not paying attention to some of MJ's hits. After all, not all of his hits are about romance; some are
Overall romantic line: "I need you in my arms."
General perspective of people: "The world may start to crumble but we won't give up!"

90's era (the era I grew up in)

Top Genres: Dance, RNB (when it was still the original RNB without much electronic stuff), Hip-Hop/Rap (same as RNB description), Pop (especially boybands), Slow Rock (occasionally), some traces of early J-pop
Overall Culture: Cool, calm and standard. It's like the normal temperature of the weather. It's neither sunny nor rainy - it's just a fine weather. Or am I just being to biased? Anyway, in this era, people are getting ready for the upcoming digital age, which is the year 2000. Compared to the past eras, their music production is much more improved, almost the same as the quality today. Synthesizers and instruments are more realistic and more profound. And then...there was also the emerging of sample CD's being used by many game soundtrack producers (and even electronic producers). Good examples are Naoki Maeda of the DDR games and Kazuya Takase of I've Sound (they have both used samples from the Masterbits sound CD's). J-pop in this era was beautiful - simple lyrics but catchy melodies.
Prominent People: Britney Spears, Westlife, Boyzone, A1, Vengaboys, Toybox, Captain Jack (despite "Don't you just know it" only getting mainstreamed in the Philippines in the late 2000's)

Common themes of songs: Friendship, romance, and partying. In boybands of course, you hear a lot of romance songs.
Overall romantic line: "I love you." Simple as that.
General perspective of people: "Let's hold our hands together and face the future."

2000's era
Top Genres: Punk Rock, Pop, RNB and Hip-Hop (occasionally), Mandopop
Overall Culture: More fierce and livelier than 90's. The 2000's presented a heavier sound than all the past genres. The emerging of punk rock and heavier pop music made its way to the mainstream. In fact, the 2000's was the starting point of most acts today who have been "consumed by the Illuminati" as many others say. In the Philippines, this was the beginning era for singing champions and a new era of OPM, years away from Freddie Aguilar and Mike Hanopol. It was also the era of Meteor Garden and F4 (a Taiwanese boyband) and launched the mainstream success of Mandopop.
Prominent People: Simple Plan, Avril Lavigne, Evanescence, Britney Spears (has returned), Madonna (has returned), The Black Eyed Peas, Maroon 5, F4

Common themes of songs: Revolution and the call for peace. A lot of artists talk about the dangers and the beginning of life threatening tragedies that occur all over the world. One of them is "Where is the love?" by The Black Eyed Peas. A bit of romance can also be seen, and the emerging of the sexual and morbid culture. This is an era where the "disasters in the Bible" are starting to take place.
Overall romantic line: "I wanna make love to you."
General perspective of people: "I'm sad that the world has become a bad place."

2010's era (the present era)

Top Genres: Electronic, Dance, House, Eurodance, RNB, Hip-Hop, Club, K-pop, and of course, Dubstep
Overall Culture: Fast-paced and monotonous. Light-years away from our grandparents' era. The emerging of Facebook and Twitter has blurred the border between superstars and fans. Thousands of people die everyday due to calamities and disasters. People no longer fear God, Hell and religions. This somewhat the introductory era for the robotic age, as defined by the use of the VST plug-in called Autotune. Korea is getting the spotlight, ultimately overpowering J-pop and Mandopop. J-pop today is a bit more bland and non-catchy compared to the 90's J-pop. Many stuff from the old eras are constantly being resurrected in the hopes of bring the magic back...but they all failed.
Prominent People: Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, SuperJunior (and many other Korean mainstream acts), The Black Eyed Peas (genre switched from RNB to House), Katy Perry, Rihanna, Pitbull, Nicki Minaj

Common themes of songs: Overrated romance, violence and sex. Enough said.
Overall romantic line: "I wanna f*** you." says Akon.
General perspective of people: "I hate this world, and I don't give a damn anymore."

As you can see, the movement of the patterns is something to look at. Perhaps we may simply call it a part of human evolution. But are we really towards the path of advancement or deterioration? That is something we can only figure out when the end times come.

But for now, let's just relax, kick back, and go download or buy music from the era we are in, if we are too tormented with all the repetitive lyrics of today's hits.

There is actually a 3rd reason why people tend to hate mainstream. And it's only one word.


Self explanatory, right? :)


Birkfs said...

This was really cool an helpful. Thanks for the information!!! :-)

Kristel "Kazaki" Cuadra said...

You're welcome! :)