What’s really in your ear buds

By Susan Mulla U-Wire

When it comes to popular music, we need to take a closer look at some song lyrics, because I think the words pretty much speak for themselves. In the song “Soul Survivor” Akon and Young Jeezy sing, “‘Cuz if you lookin’ for me you can find me on the block disobeyin’ the law.” In the hit song “There it go [The Whistle Song]” the words go, “Hey girl, you make my whistle blow.”

Now, take a minute and think of this being the music you will one day play for your kids and tell them it used to be what you listened to back in the day.

Will you be ashamed? Proud? Ask what were you thinking back then?

Sure, these songs have catchy beats, lyrics drenched in sexual innuendo and serve as the perfect excuse to be able to bump and grind wherever you want. Personally, it makes me sad that this is what music has turned into.

These songs are the reason I dread listening to the “top 40” stations on the radio. Since when can noise be passed off as good music? And since when is a person whistling considered a musical instrument?

First of all, let’s state the obvious. We live in an iPod nation. It has become the social norm to walk around with white ear buds in listening to whatever music you want.

That’s the beauty of it, we can listen to whatever we want, customize playlists and most importantly guys don’t have to let anyone know that they have the guilty pleasure of listening to Kelly Clarkson.

I respect that. Everyone has his or her own music tastes and we have the freedom to listen to just that, but when it comes to what is considered popular, whether it’s on the radio or on MTV, there doesn’t seem to be any criteria for what makes a song good.

I would be naive to think that everyone likes the same type of music, but shouldn’t there be some type of boundaries as to what can be considered to be on the most requested list?

This all struck me when I was searching through my basement over break and found our old record player and my parents’ records, which brought back memories of my childhood and more importantly the remembrance of music that didn’t make me feel dirty after listening to it. Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, Michael Jackson (before he got weird), the “Flashdance” soundtrack and Weird Al Yankovic’s greatest hits could sum up my early childhood.

These were the records I can remember growing up listening to. There is something gratifying about putting a record on yourself, setting the needle and listening to a song, but we have all seemed to have forgotten that.

So press the pause button on your iPod for a second and listen to me.

Consider the musicians that have been deemed “popular” by today’s standards. Thirty years from now when your kids find your old iPod and listen to the music on it, what are they going to say?

Think about the song that you will dance to your wedding. I can picture it now, my kids coming to me and asking, “Mom, why was your wedding song called ‘Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me?'” How am I supposed to answer that?

Is it my fault that popular music when I was growing up was tainted with gross lyrics that really made no sense?

I feel that when it comes to music tastes there are two extremes to the spectrum. There are the people who listen to the songs that we all hear repetitively on the radio, which I guess could be classified as pop or rap, or let’s just call it crap. And then there’s the other side of the spectrum.

This is where you will find music snobbery at it’s finest. Music snobbery? I can almost assure you that you know a snob or two.

These are the people who only like a band or musician for the sole reason that they can say they are original in being one of the few who listen to them.

The best way to catch a music snob is to make up a band name and ask them if they listen to them. If they say they do, then you’ve caught a snob.

If the music we pollute the radio waves with continues on the path it is going right now, maybe our next generations will just be happy listening to white noise.

It’s time to really reconsider the meaning of good music, because I don’t know about you but there’s no way I’m going to let my wedding song be by some group called The Pussycat Dolls.