Before I get into the penultimate Nick’s Picks article about my least favorite parts of music, it would be wrong to dismiss the happenings in music of the past week. Prince has been an influential part of the music world for the last 40 years. The Purple One was one of the most talented musicians of all time and influenced the face of modern pop.
I would also like to recognize two fantastic releases this week: Beyonce’s Lemonade (8.3/10) and A$AP Ferg’s Always Strive And Prosper (7.2/10)
Now, let’s get on to hearing about music that would be likely considered the opposite of Prince.
Macklemore is problematic. He is pretentious, condescending, hypocritical, and overall not a very good rapper. I never heard a Macklemore song until I got to college, and then I couldn’t escape “Thrift Shop.” That was the house party song seniors remember from their first year at CC. “Thrift Shop” is troubling when you realize that while thrift shopping can be a great way to find quirky t-shirts, it is also a way some people afford clothes.
“Thrift Shop” is probably the least problematic Macklemore song, but I don’t know if I’m in the position to criticize “Same Love” and “White Privilege.” But Macklemore comes as an outsider to hip-hop and then takes it as his right to criticize it. If someone should be criticizing hip-hop on its rampant homophobia than maybe it shouldn’t be the guy from Seattle, but rather someone who is part of the establishment.
Overall, Macklemore’s biggest problem is that he showboats how humble he is. The rapper swept the 2014 Grammy Awards over Yeezus and Good kid, m.a.a.d city, two of the most revolutionary rap albums of the last 10 years. Then he showed off his apology message to Kendrick Lamar. Then, to top that off, he turned his performance at the show into a massive wedding for gay and lesbian couples. Maybe that’s making a statement for equality, or maybe it’s Macklemore showing off how gracious he is.
It should also be noted that while Macklemore talks about the issues facing America, he also has several songs that are filled with dick jokes.
This entire article could be about my problems with Macklemore. That’s how much I dislike the guy. (Despite this, I have to admit, I do enjoy his collaboration with Chance the Rapper, “Need to Know,” off his latest album)
This may be an attack on Colorado College, but I’m out of here in three weeks so deal with it: It’s time to let some songs die. One of the great things about music is that it changes faster than any art form. New music is a daily, if not hourly, surprise.
Why are we still listening to songs from the ‘90s and early 2000s?
In the past two weeks, I’ve heard The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside” five times involuntarily. That song isn’t that good, it’s not even the best Killers song. Blink-182 is not The Beatles of the late ‘90s, so stop playing “All The Small Things.”
R. Kelly’s “Ignition (Remix)” is an incredible song every once in a while, not every weekend. The same goes for Nelly’s “Hot in Here.”
The important thing about a throwback track is that it’s a surprise. It’s a song you hear the opening notes of and have this feeling of rediscovery. It’s not hearing the same song every weekend so it becomes as common as top-40 radio. If you’re going to put on throwbacks, play some Prince or you could even play “Thrift Shop” at this point and it’s a throwback.
There is a very bad song on the radio called “7 Years” by a band, not a person, called Lukas Graham. The song is faux-nostalgic and deceptively trying to tug on heartstrings.
Lukas Graham is just a continuation of Ed Sheeran, Jason Mraz, the Lumineers, and Mumford and Sons. It is a trend in pop music that continues to rear its ugly head every few months. The issue with this music is it is a strange homage to the past.
These artists are all failing miserably to be some sort of Bob Dylan, Jeff Buckley, or Tom Petty type of musician. It’s impossible and it’s making people musically dumber by going for these artists instead of looking to the massive streaming library in front of them.
While I thoroughly enjoy the forward progression of music with new genres and new sounds coming every year, I think manufactured nostalgia distracts from appreciation of the classics. Influence doesn’t have to be a carbon copy, but it can be drawn through the decades.