Saturday, April 08, 2006

Just Say...Yes?

Ray Charles
David Ruffin
Mary J. Blige
Frankie Lymon
Rick James
George Clinton
Billie Holiday
The Beatles

Do you see a pattern?

All of these people were great artists who were addicted to drugs. I know, I know drugs are bad. I am not condoning drug use in any way. Drug free is the way to be. However, some of the greatest music of all time was created by people who had serious issues. Some of them died before they were actually recognized for their talent and hard work. Ray and Mary were able to recover and get their lives back on track, but some say their music suffered. Is that what's missing from our music today? Would songs be more meaningful and sang more soulfully if Beyonce was on crack or Chris Brown was addicted to heroine? Perhaps, older artists turned to drugs because they didn't know how to handle the demons of their past, the blatant racism, and the huge responsibility that was placed on their shoulders. They were not afforded the option of a therapist or reality show. They chose the only way they knew how to escape. Perhaps, the artists of today don't have anything heavy to write or sing about because they just haven't experienced anything.

Once again, I am not saying that anyone should use drugs for any reason. I just wanted to point out how the quality of music has changed. Maybe it was just a coincidence that the greatest music was created by people who were on something. A more important question might be why we as consumers allowed the bastardization of our music to occur and we continue to buy it.

Strange Fruit

Southern trees bear strange fruit
Blood on the leaves
Blood at the root
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees
Pastoral scene of the gallant south
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth
The scent of magnolia sweet and fresh
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh
Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck
for the rain to gather
for the wind to suck
for the sun to rot
for the tree to drop
Here is a strange and bitter crop
-Billie Holiday


Post a Comment

<< Home