The World Beyond Mainstream Music

I won’t deny the fact that I am guilty of bobbing my head up and down to “rockstar” by Post Malone, formed of a repeating beat and lyrics that makes no sense, but the fact is that mainstream music is emotionless. Songs like “rockstar” leave me empty, make me feel nothing and think of nothing when I listen to them. Skipping through the songs of the Top 40 (because I couldn’t bear to finish listening to at least one), I realized the lack of meaning in these songs. I listened closely, but there was nothing to be heard.

Mainstream songs will almost always come from a major record label that limits the artist’s creative process, in order to assure maximum profit. The whole existence of a mainstream song is impersonal, from the moment when it is first thought of and recorded, until it is listened and sung by the general public. It is written by a paid writer that focuses all his attention on making the song catchy rather than making it thoughtful. Even when the artist has a true and powerful purpose for his or her song, the basic melody and song construction limit its potential. There are no rules in music, that’s the beauty of it! But mainstream music makes you believe that you need a combination of verses, a pre-chorus, and a chorus in order to create a composition of sounds of an average of 3 minutes in order to be called a song. It is the establishment of such rules that I believe rob the song from its essence.

Songs are then recorded and then altered to the extent that when artists perform live, they make you doubt if it is truly their voice. If there are no vocals involved, a mainstream artist can rarely present without the aid of playback. This has even made me regret using the term ‘artists’ for such members of the mainstream music community. Evidently, they would be better rewarded for their skillful presence in the E! News page, with their publicized drama and unconventional fashion, rather than being recognized for their artistic ability, which many times is nonexistent (and when existing, it’s either overrated or unfulfilled). And the saddest part of this, I think, is that these songs are consumed and played by listeners afraid of going out of their comfort zone. I do not wish to attack or diminish anyone who is a fan of the mainstream hits, I just want to make sure you understand there are greater and more powerful songs waiting to be listened to. While listening to mainstream playlists is easy and convenient, I think we all deserve something better.

Out there, far from Spotify’s trending lists and Youtube’s recommended music videos,  songs exist that are written from the heart and soul of its artist, produced with care, meant to express something that cannot be communicated in any other way than through soundwaves. We can find authenticity in music belonging to ‘low-key’ artists. This time, I will use the term ‘artists’ with confidence, knowing that there are people that produce sounds with the end goal of expressing love and lovesickness, nostalgia and regret, happiness and anger, and to say little and a lot. Their goal is not to gain fame nor fortune, but to connect. You do not need to search for “indie” or “underrated” to find meaningful music, all you have to do is to go beyond what is advertised to you.

To begin, here are some personal favorites that I hope you enjoy:
Be – Tonia Victoria
Love Like – Peter Collins
Time Moves Slow – BADBADNOTGOOD ft. Sam Herring