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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Beware the ‘Bieberization’ of America

    The past three years of the music industry have seen a dramatic change — record sales have slumped, label giants like Tower Records have gone under, artist profits and popularity are now measured in digital downloads, and most importantly, we’ve seen the rise of the Bieber.

    I cannot stress how radical Justin Bieber’s rise has been, as pop has now been given a gigantic makeover, ushering in an era of Autotune, image gimmicks and tabloid fodder.

    This seems to be common knowledge already, which leads me to my conclusion: This is America’s fault.

    We are under a spell, cast by the sheer musical ignorance of a generation. This is what being raised on Bon Jovi, Nickelback, Kenny G and roughly anything from the ‘80s has done to us.
    We have succumbed to the Bieberization of America (and a big thank you to “Modern Family” for this pop culture gem).

    As a whole, we cannot lay blame on our parents. Some of us were raised on Joy Division, Bowie, Guns N’ Roses (Use Your Illusion I and prior, of course), and in the rare and divine case, Nirvana. Some of the change can be attributed to the advent of staff writers in songwriting, who craft tunes targeted at a specific audience. The scary truth is, however, that the majority of raw talent has been glazed over by shock value and dance floor tunes.

    I’ve bitten my tongue for a long time, brooding in a corner as listeners have become radio-driven zombies, but when Lance Bass’ new atrocity Heart2Heart dropped a single labeled “Facebook Official,” I snapped — I mean, the boy band’s frontman goes by the moniker Chad Future, for God’s sake.

    Heavily infuenced by Korean pop and eyeliner, hooks like “girl I don’t wanna play Farmville, I just wanna play for real” shouldn’t be OK.

    Maybe band members are wisely playing the viral marketing card á la Rebecca Black, or on a more frightening note, they’re being serious.

    Heart2Heart and its media buzz wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for mass-produced pop hits being churned out by more notable influences. Granted, it takes initial talent to get noticed, but it makes me cringe to think of what brought these guys into Lance Bass’ office, as it sure wasn’t a 12-year-old’s Youtube videos.

    We need a change. We need to recognize talent by a songwriter’s ability, by their ability to make an arena feel like a club and to make a club feel like a party. We need to keep our thumbs on the pulses of independent labels and back their artists.

    I’m not going to scream about vinyl, or about recycled paper covers with local artwork, but I’ll say that there needs to be a shift of mindset toward the raw talent in teeth-cutting artistry and away from artists who rely on 30-some songwriters and excessive Pro Tools doctoring to create an album. Content should rein king, and image should serve as image appeal instead of a foundation.

    Now please excuse my unwashed Modest Mouse shirt, while I sip my soy latte and listen to Miniature Tigers, because let’s be honest, you’ve probably never heard of them.

    — K.C. Libman is senior studying ecology and evolutionary biology. He can be reached at arts@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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