Look, I know that this has always been a thing. For every wide-eyed kid picking up a future classic record for the first time, there’s some neckbearded asshole whining to whoever he can about how much better music was before the internet, or whatever. Hell, I’ll bet there was some prick with a huge forehead and a stupid white wig sitting at the back of the theater while Beethoven performed his first recital, whispering obnoxiously that music was much better when everything was just chanting.
Yeah. Music history. I’m familiar with it.
Here’s the thing, though. It is literally impossible for music to not be the best it has ever been. Right now. Today. In 2020. Thanks to the internet, there is a clear, crisp, quality record tailor-made to cater to literally any taste in music, no matter how weird or specific. Wanna hear a household pet sing death metal? How about three adorable Japanese tweens singing bubbly Jpop melodies over prog metal riffs? Or hey, what about literally the sound of people just eating Reese’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups™? All of these things exist.
“But Syd, all of the music on top 40 radio still sucks.”
Wrong, motherfucker. Pop music is more interesting than it’s ever been. We’ve got this 18-year-old kid named Billie Eilish who has already put out a record that, I shit you not, is fucking flawless. She just won 5 Grammys for singing about suicide and refusing to take a Xanax. It was probably the first thing the Grammys have ever done right. Legend. Lana Del Rey just hit it out of the park with Norman Fucking Rockwell. (For those of you who may be unfamiliar with it, I didn’t use the f-word for emphasis that time, it’s literally part of the title.) Lizzo? Mark Ronson? Beyonce? Do I need to keep going?
“Ok, but rap still sucks. All they talk about is money and bitches, and it’s all anyone listens to.”
What? Shut up. Anderson Paak exists. The man is a musical wunderkind masquerading as a rapper. Kendrick Lamar is out here doing his thing. Less than two years ago, J. Cole literally changed the way the world sees diss tracks with “1985.” Not only that, but hip hop song structures are reaching almost prog territory. Look at people like Tyler, The Creator, Brockhampton, Griselda, the list literally goes on and on and on. If you have not listened to these artists, and you’re complaining about the state of hip hop, you’re either an ignorant asshole or you’re Eminem. If you’re Eminem, I forgive you because you make me laugh and you’re still the GOAT. (Arguably. See my next rant.) Otherwise, fuck off.
“But major labels still suck the life out of anything beautiful.”
Have you not been listening? Major labels are so irrelevant today that they might as well all declare bankruptcy now. Nobody needs a major label anymore. Hell, the very definition of the word label has changed dramatically since the end of the ‘90s. I literally meet 3 “label owners” every single time I go to a local show. These people are “signing artists” from their bedrooms because they’re taking a business management class and they bought themselves a fancy soundcard last week. Fuck a label, nobody needs it. Buy a used cell phone and go record something. It’ll be a hit on Soundcloud in a month if you do it right. Need a blueprint? I will once again refer you to Billie Eilish.
We are living through an incredible period of musical renaissance that is being criminally underappreciated, and I’m fucking fed up with it. If all you want to do is sit in your room, smoke a joint, and listen to Pink Floyd, then do that. Nobody’s stopping you. But if I hear one more motherfucker whining about how “there’s no good music out there today”, I will literally slap the stupid right out of your face. Rant over.
Written by Syd Ghan
*Edited by Dominic Abate