A Word from an Old Fart

Creativity, in the artistic sense, has taken a dump – and I feel absolutely ancient for pointing that out, but it has to be said.

I spent some time over the last few days adding some music to my ipod. It’s all stuff I bought several years ago in a desire to get more of the music I listened to as a teenager and young adult on CD. To add to my dinosaur image, I confess that I first owned this music not on cassette, not on 8 Track, but (God forbid!) vinyl. You know, records. You probably have only seen them at the museum, but I actually owned them. Lots of them. Music has always been the thing that has gotten me through the roughest periods in my life, accompanied me in the ordinary, and helped me celebrate the joyful occasions as well. As I have been taking this trip down memory lane, it has occurred to me that things have changed – a lot.

It’s not that I don’t like contemporary music, because I do like quite a bit of it. However, it has become so narrow both in content and style that it seems more like the result of a factory than an artistic process. What’s more, lyrically it’s all the same. All you need to do is find some words that rhyme with “ho” and “duck”, and suddenly you are rewarded with sales of your crap. In pop music all you need to do is sing about love, preferably in the most superficial way imaginable, and sales are off the charts. Maybe, though, instead of being the problem music is just symptomatic of the larger issue.

In our busy-ness and our focus on production we have come to the place where we have no time for feelings, no time for creativity that doesn’t lead to a concrete result, and certainly no time to sit together and talk about emotion – largely because our emotions will only make us (in our minds) less productive. Nothing could be farther from the truth, because it is our emotions that inspire our most creative moments in every area of life, and if we are detached from them we end up worrying about words that rhyme with duck….

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