2014. What a shitty year for music. Country is completely nonexistent, rock is headed straight in that same direction, and pop… well pop just lowers the bar every year so there’s really no surprise there. Actually there is. I’m surprised that the drooling masses didn’t buy up the shit at the rate that they used to. It’s because of this that NO albums have been certified platinum this year. Maybe there’s a small glimmer of hope for humanity after all.
[EDIT: Taylor Swift has sold a platinum album in 2014 since writing this. As if that says anything good for the industry.]
The RIAA blames streaming music services for the lack of sales. It couldn’t possibly be the fact that music just gets worse and worse every day. The South Park episode You’re Getting Old (Season 15 episode 7) did a great job pointing this out. There has been an obvious significant shift from traditional album sales (and even online album sales) towards streaming music and single song sales; 60 single songs were certified platinum (the soundtrack to Frozen was also certified platinum but doesn’t fall into the same category being that it’s not a single artist album) (1). Record companies need to realize though that these numbers don’t represent the cause of their financial problems; Independent labels have done better now than they have in the past decade (2). This shows that the quality of the music being released is still the primary downfall of major record labels this year.
So how is country music completely dead while so many country “artists” are still making music? They’re just simply not making country anymore. 19 out of 20 songs on country radio nowadays feature obvious uses of auto-tune, 808 or similar electronic drum sounds, and meaningless repetitive lyrics. There is no quality to the writing and no intent other than making money. This is pop music. It’s like they used to at least pretend they played real instruments and could actually sing, but then they just said “fuck it, the droolies will buy this shit regardless.”
Rock is absolutely following in country’s footsteps. Every song released this year sounds like they were recorded at the same place, by the same producers and all (regardless of band) written by the same writer. You know how Tom Cruise always plays Tom Cruise no matter what the role he’s supposed to play in a movie? It’s like this writer is stuck in the same talentless, unimaginative rut. I’ve only heard two rock songs on the radio this year that I’ve liked; Stardust by Gemini Syndrome, and My Demons by Starset (which has an incredibly television-sounding electronic intro that some producer should have said “nah, we shouldn’t put this in” but somehow it made it to radio). I’m not saying that these two songs don’t fall into the same category of sounding like every other song on the radio; they absolutely do. Seether’s Words As Weapons was decent too except that 1) the intro is just so stupid and lazy, and 2) it sounds just like Gary Jules’ Mad World (as well as most other rock songs that are on the radio this year).
Every song I hear on the radio that reminds me of an older song (which is at least 90% of them) had me thinking that I need to keep a list of songs that rip off other songs, but the problem with this is that there are just too many. And with judges now allowing plagiarism on the basis that “an ‘ordinary observer’ wouldn’t be able to tell that the songs are the same” (4),(5), well there’s just no point anymore. If you write a song, a major label can now make insignificant changes and call it their own. Kanye West did the same thing a few years before. And as we all know, try to stand up to the RIAA and they’ll sue the shit out of you (6).