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Have We Lost the Edge? long blog post

October 30, 2007

I suppose it was coincidence or maybe fate, but the topics in the Streitmatter chapter presentations over the past week have coincided with a concert that I attended that got me thinking about political action and debate. The concert was of a band called Umphrey’s McGee (which I had never heard before the concert but decided to go anyways because lets be serious, concerts rock) who played mostly upbeat, jam-band, Phish-style, music and I must say I had a good time. What got me thinking about politics however was a comment that one of the singers made about the lack of political action in DC. It was an innocent comment which was basically a liberal-drenched cliche about Bush being a moron and that we should “Get out of Iraq” and that it was our responsibility based on our geographical position at the time. The comment would have typically rolled right off me, but our classes’ recent discussion of musicians as agents of political change got me thinking.

What Happened?

Where’s our generations Dylan?

Where’s our generations Hendrix?

What are our musicians singing about?

I must admit that I do not listen to much popular-mainstream music anymore (but honestly, does anybody else our age), but I can’t help hearing it in passing every once in a while. What I have heard lately doesn’t even compare to soulful and emotional rendition of “The Star-spangled Banner”, instead it sounds something like a broken synthesizer regurgitating 1980’s top forty hits. It is bothersome that our music has become commodified to the point that there is no longer room for politics or meaningful social issues.
Don’t get me wrong however, I might be blind to a sweeping political music scene that is prominent to everyone but me, but I simply just don’t see it. Sorry. Hear it. Maybe I’m tuning in to tune out, but I can’t see our musicians now-a-days taking a strong political stance on something (sans the Dixie Chicks). Maybe I’m just jaded because I happen to be a fan of classic rock, but I’d like to see our musicians shed their politically apathetic images and start talking to the youth like the musicians of the counterculture revolution on the 60’s.

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