So, both Lady Gaga and Katy Perry have fallen victim to internet hackers at the first hurdle of their comeback marathons. Reviews are piling in thick and fast and there is a definite sense of excitement and anticipation surrounding the artist’s new albums. With these two new songs revealed for the world to hear, it’s really got me thinking about, and firmly appreciating, music.
Talking to my boyfriend about these pop deities has opened my eyes. Gaga and Perry write their own music and they take pride in it, they’re keen to tell stories through their songs and inevitably reach millions of people with their music. “But it’s just about the money, you’re thinking too much into it” but I really don’t think I am. I think there’s so much more to music than people realise or choose to notice. This isn’t to say I’m some sort of musical scholar, Christ, I like Stooshe, and not even ironically.
I’m not naive, I know there is unflinching attention paid to money, to the record labels and the promotion, the single pre-orders and releases as well as the video premieres: nowadays even the lyric videos seem more important than the music. This new fascination surrounding “tweeting to unlock” music and garnering enough of a following to ensure the album is successful is disheartening and steals focus from the importance of the songs. But that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the music itself, the nitty gritty, the raw noise – its power and effect, people’s reception of it and its undeniable importance in everyday life.
For example, Little Monsters’ attitude towards anything “anti-Gaga” is venomous and often pitiable but there’s a sense of empowerment and pride taken in their cult status. They band together to better understand the music of their idol, to share stories and experiences as well as their hopes for future efforts – to appreciate the music of an individual, somebody who is changing their life. From the outside looking in, it is riddled with a sense of daunting and intimidating mob mentality but from the opposite standpoint, I’ve no doubt it’s a wonderful place full of close friends and security. A place to be yourself, where people understand you and share your passion. To me, that sense of belonging is priceless.
Wholehearted and genuine appreciation of music can only be a positive thing. It can take people away, immerse and heal them. It’s a therapy of sorts. Even if it is a “club banger”, a team of dedicated individuals have spent time and effort crafting and creating these sounds for people to hear; the excitement and energy attached to and affiliated with house music is unmatched. After all, regardless of money and artistic direction, music is made for you – you are the one who will hear it, buy it, love it, understand it, analyse it, daydream to it, hate it, overplay it, share it, forget it and ultimately remember it again.
Previously, I would have said that I have never been one to indulge in musical snobbery for I find it to be a wholly unattractive trait in someone. However, after writing a rather dark and scathing review of Selena Gomez’ most recent album, I found myself tarred with that very same brush. There was a fury inside me, listening to those recycled chunks of pop cubic zirconium, and I couldn’t help it – I was disappointed and irritated that we are being offered such mindless music. That was my honest opinion, controversial and perhaps relatable, but at least I felt something. With the album reaching #1 in America, it’s been proof enough to me that, whilst there might not be as much thought or creativity instilled in her album in comparison to that of a more reputable artist, her music is well received and appreciated by many. If her fans can absorb a sense of excitement or catharsis from her music, then there really is a reason for it to be heard.
It’s no secret that my time at university was strained and brutal but for the whole journey, I had music to rely on. I knew it was always there, just a few feet away, an eternity of sound hidden inside my cherished iPod. I could take myself away from the painful reality of a life I wasn’t happy with or appreciative of, and escape to a place where only noise mattered. I could dance my troubles away to a shameless gay disco of Kylie, Madonna and co. Listening to my old favourites could transport me back to a time when my only concern was deciding on a new piercing, or I could get lost in Ellie Goulding’s whispers of heartbreak and lost love. It didn’t matter how I felt, I knew there would always be a song, perhaps an album, waiting, begging, to be heard, prepared to offer an all too metaphoric shoulder to “cry” on.
Music is always listening to you, ready to pull you up and away from your depths or perhaps even force you further into that abyss. It will always be ready and prepared to make you smile, cry, laugh, reflect, appreciate – just to feel.
Enough of this musical snobbery. Diversity is what makes this art so accessible. Try to understand the music, the melodies, the colours, the artist’s passion for their craft, their lyrics, be they thoughtfully rich or cleverly shallow, the all too often misconstrued musical irony, the pastiche and self-awareness of it all. You should strive to find new music every day, broaden your horizons and discuss your experiences with the ones you love: after all, as our own Goulden girl says, “anything could happen”.