May 20, 2011
In a recent flash of nostalgia, I headed over to iTunes to re-purchase (10-15 years later) the albums of Fiona Apple, Tori Amos Liz Phair. Sure, I’ve moved on, I told myself, to becoming a elite fan of 60 &70’s rebel country, velvet underground Rock n Roll and Montreal indie superstars in the making. But that day I was feeling the need for a litlle female emotionalism, courtesy of my teen idols. And then I looked around. iTunes I mean. If I were an angsty smart teenage girl in need of an identity today, who would I cling to? Miley Cyrus the Disney rebel? Ingrid Michaelson the co-ed who cooed for a car commercial?Adele the imitative balladeer?Katy Perry and co?
My teen idols taught me, just like my parents did, that being smart is better. Those girls displayed their anger and hurt with real heart and expressive, poetic lyrics. They took care in crafting records that were thoughtful in their production. They had messages to share, they wanted you by their side because you could understand them, not because they wanted to sell you their walmart merchandise. Or it at least felt that way. They inspired me to be artistic, to develop my art on the side of brains, not beauty. And this even though their beauty was utmost, and their poise uplifting, even in their darker hours.
The intelligo-female singer songwriter up until the early 21st century was a super idol worth looking up to. Another coincidence well timed with the decline of the music industry, perhaps one the effect of the other and vice versa.
Intelligent music used to sell. Now we are dumbing it down further every minute. It has NEVER been this bad.This is across the board to be sure- but for the purpose of this discourse, consider the effects only on the new generations of women from their peers. Music has always and continues to be an impacting force on how our young chose to grow old. In those formative years of confusion and tough new decisions, I just don’t see the point for parents, and all members of society to keep supporting “art” that will churn out dumb girls. Cultural education today is so important in shaping of our future citizen humans (yes pop music can educate), and if they all start to intellectually resemble Kesha, I guess I’ll just be ….embarrassed to be a girl. That should be Miley’s next album title.