American Music Awards – A Night Of Cynicism and Reflection

The greatest musical generation, since the classical composers is getting older and won’t be around forever.  I suppose that’s why many of us spent big money on Rolling Stones tickets for their concert at the Barclay’s Center.  As the Stones and other iconic bands get older and no longer make new music, what will we have to look forward to?  If last night’s American Music Awards are an indication, we can look forward to Taylor Swift’s melodramatic, break-up songs that are difficult to listen to, no matter how hard of hearing.  Her best attributes are of course her tall stature, blond hair and blue eyes.  But then again, her record label is more interested in Swift the product, than Swift, the musician anyway.  Her looks sell her records, as much as her talent.  Katy Perry is an act that won’t have lasting appeal because, quite frankly, her music is terrible.  The songs she sings take a few hours to pen and that’s a sad commentary.  Lady Gaga has some talent but that misfit image will grow tiresome, just as Prince’s Purple jacket grew threadbare.  To be fair, there are some excellent musicians out there, Usher, Maroon 5, Bruno Mars and Beyoncé, but they are few and far between.  Music has gone the way of everything else in this country.  The goal is stardom, and fortune, not becoming the next Eric Clapton.  How else could one explain a horrible song about Friday sung by a girl with a terrible voice having a viral hit record.  The music is no longer the most important thing.  Perhaps it’s the reason the American Music Awards 40th Anniversary show had the smallest television audience since the shows inception.  Yes, artists still get up there and talk the talk but it just isn’t real.  The Beastie Boys were just three Jewish kids from Brooklyn having a fun and rebellious time and they happened to become famous along the way.  If you want to see great guitar playing you still need to watch Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton and although they’re gone, Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn.  But nothing makes the point better than the artist of the year, Justin Bieber.  I’m sure he’s a nice kid, but other than little girls, who’s listening to his music?  Obviously his mother.  He said he wants to be the next Michael Jackson.  Unfortunately, for him, he’s no Michael Jackson and there is no next Michael Jackson,  just like there’s no next Muhammad Ali.  As I continued to watch the show with terrible cynicism, something occurred to me.  Perhaps my problem was the realization that we’ve seen the best music has to offer.  Maybe it’s enough that we have memories and videos of the greatest rock groups, guitarists and drummers.  There won’t be another Jay Z or Run DMC but that’s ok.  Afterall, there are still people composing classical music, but there will never again be a Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Brahms or Liszt.  Just as there will never again be a Beatles, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd.  Perhaps I need to simply accept that and listen to whatever new music is available, while at the same time, listening to the classics.  So I don’t know if I’ll be watching the AMAs next year, but I will certainly be less critical with the realization that music and musicians don’t have to improve, they just have to be entertaining.

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