So I was taking this magical little stroll through a trendy fashion store, sifting through the lace section (the lace section has a special place in my heart) when I started listening to the music over the speakers. Something dawned on me.
Now, this goes for all art mediums but music is going to be what I focus on. Just so we’re clear here. Also, I write this as a pretty mainstream music fan. I like my obscure little musicians and bands, but my car’s radio is usually tuned into Top 40 and I’ll sing all the songs loudly as I drive. There is very little I don’t enjoy. (Bieber, I don’t enjoy you.) Onto the purpose of this here novel.
Do you guys have any idea why Top 40 songs achieve that status? Not to leave you scratching your head for too long, it’s because they appeal to the widest range of people (in terms of requests to play, publicity, star persona, and marketing). But let’s just focus on the overall concept of popularity through these factors. The songs that make it are the ones that appeal to the widest range of people. They don’t have to be groundbreaking or culturally/mentally enriching, no. They just have to be catchy, pretty, dance-inducing, emotionally-relatable, or memorable enough to recognize (depending on the genre of the song in question).
It’s not that more obscure music does not have its following. In fact, a lot of obscure little artists such as Kerli or Emilie Autumn have pretty devote fans who keep them afloat and attend their concerts as religiously as any Little Monster or Belieber. The point I am making though, is that these artists have a very small chance of getting one of their songs on the radio or into the mainstream American iPod without an act of God guiding it there. Here is a curious case, actually;
You guys all know the song “Skyscraper”, I assume. You know, the one former Disney Channel sweetheart Demi Lovato sings with her admittedly powerful voice while braving the Salt Flats of Utah (the music video if you’ve seen it). Here is a little known fact; that song was not an original piece performed and written by Ms. Lovato at all. It was actually written by a small-time Estonian artist named Kerli, who is friends with Demi Lovato. I am not undermining the great friendship these two artists share and the covering of songs between them, but here is an interesting point regarding the song in question. Skyscraper did not become a mainstream song until covered by Demi Lovato, compared to if it had stayed a work under Kerli’s name alone.
Kerli, a small-time singer/songwriter known for her gothic, underground style of singing and performing is an artist who appeals to a small demographic of listeners who seek out that style specifically. Compare this to a more mainstream singer whose voice appeals to a broader audience and reaches out via radio and television to draw in listeners (not factoring in star power either, mind you). Once again, I have no issue with Demi or Kerli on this, they’re both way talented and I think the friendship they share is pretty awesome. What I am pointing out, however, is that the song itself plays a backseat to the audience the artist has to appeal to in order to get a smash hit on the charts. Demi Lovato is mainstream, Kerli is not. Demi’s cover of the song makes it on the radio and tops charts, Kerli’s did not make such a splash. There are other factors at play, I did my research, but hopefully you get the point I am trying to make here.
So here it is, the reason you’re not getting popular by being obscure. You won’t get any publicity. On the other hand, I don’t want you conforming to a style you dislike or giving in to “the man” because you read my blog, cried, and took my words to heart. This is true in all art forms, and we notice it too. Ever noticed how some art classes criticize and cast out any form that isn’t strict realism as a failure or inadequate? Ever notice how alternative musicians seem to struggle to get a foothold in the business moreso than somebody with a mainstream bombshell of a voice and catchy beat? Art isn’t something that has to be groundbreaking to get the masses to like it, unfortunately. It just has to have the most appeal.
A few days ago, a really good friend of mine had a rant about the song Party Rock Anthem. He talked about how the song is not anything unique about it and musicians do that sort of song all the time. Yeah, this is true. But Party Rock Anthem appealed to the masses. It didn’t have to be unique to seem unique to the average listener on the radio. It was a catchy and memorable song that made you want to move, and that’s all it aspired and needed to ever be.
It’s sad news for some artists to look at this reality. When it doesn’t even have to be groundbreaking to make a splash, how are you expected to draw attention to your revolutionary idea? Welcome to Mainstream. It’s a bitch to the obscure little artist, but damn is it catchy.
I hear guys always complaining about women and how they are never comfortable in their own skin. We have damn good reasons, and part of the issue is them. Now I know that there are guys out there who are good and reasonable and love a girl for who they are, but unfortunately your whole sex can be generalized by the actions of the douchebags. But before I get into that, let me get into society a little bit.
Everywhere you look, you’re going to see pictures of models, beautiful blondes with long lashes and perfectly pursed lips. They have their little hourglass waists, perky boobs and rounded hips. I know what you’re thinking. You are thinking, “Oh but Koko, they’re photoshopped, everyone knows that. It’s not real.” And I am telling you now, it doesn’t matter. Magazines, ads, movies, everywhere around the average girl is a picture or example of what they should grow up to be. If you don’t grow up to be that, well then you’re definitely not going to get a happy ending. And whether or not you care about a happy ending, you’re bound to notice the girls around you who do accomplish those standards society set on them and you are bound to feel sub-par next to them. And those girls are everywhere. After a while, some of those sub-par girls may feel like the only one who is not perfect, blonde, and thin. The littlest insecurities linger on the front of their minds, they look at their arms in the mirror, their stomachs, their faces. I am not calling these girls out or criticizing them. Hell, I am one of them.
Now lets look at the whole guy aspect of things. Majority, generalized guy aspect. I know, I know, there are the ones out there who are not like this, but understand where I am coming from before you gripe. The mainstream guy knows what he likes, and society plays a role in that. So when the mainstream guy is presented with two girls, one thinner bombshell is more than likely to get a second glance.
tl;dr: Girls think they’re inadequate because society makes them that way. And you’re not helping.
Peace out I am sauntering back to my vegetarian blog account for a while.