Music, like all forms of expression and art, is subjective. What one finds offensive, another hangs in a museum. What one finds deep, another finds utterly worthless. The entire art genre, and all of its offshoots, is subjective to the ones subjecting themselves to it. I can look at Picasso’s "Three Musicians" and see a bunch of boxes and colors. Someone standing next to me can see the same piece and find it to be layered, exotic, exploratory, and yes, deep.
Why do we have a perception of music’s lack of depth? Is it the lack of political activism in the lyrics? Is it the birth of American Idol finalists laying down tracks on bubblegum pop and premeditated "safe" music for the masses who clammer for the winner’s debut CD regardless of depth? Could it be a lack of creativity and the deluge of remixing previously recorded songs? Could it be the lack of risks being taken by artists? Or, could it be that music has never lacked depth to those who found it so?
What is deep, as formed in my mind, differs just like the Picasso piece hanging on a wall in a museum somewhere. Kurt Cobain and Jim Morrison were two of the biggest drug-riddled musicians we have seen, and yet, their lyrics are considered groundbreaking, emotionally investing, and deep. Could it have been their mind-altering and life-ending drug use that infused their lyrics with a sense of depth? (By that theory, Amy Winehouse would be deeper than the Marinaras Trench.) Could it be that those two particular, yet not exclusive, artists recorded music capable of striking a chord (no pun intended) with their audiences that resonates long after their deaths?
Ask someone under the age of 18 about Mozart or Beethoven. Ask them about Dizzy Gillespie. See if they know Miles Davis. Does it come as any shock they have no idea who these musicians were? Does it minimize the impact and the depth at which their music captured the times in which they thrived? The music of today is just as deep as it was in the 1960s. However, the only difference is that the music is deep to a new sect of ears. My grandparents undoubtedly thought my parents Rolling Stones records lacked the musical integrity they had grown up with. My parents have thought the same about my music compared to the "oldies" they hold so fond. We invest ourselves into music. We define it as "our" music. We camp out waiting for concert tickets. Some of us seek careers in the "groupie" category. Whether it’s for the Beatles or the Jonas Brothers, we have a vested interest in the music we love. Obviously, we hear the depth of the music despite what anyone else claims.
The depth of music comes from its audience. It always has. Not chord progressions, rhythms, lyrics, tone. No matter if Amadeus, Glenn Miller, Jefferson Airplane, Madonna, or Katy Perry is belting out those melodies, the depth of the music shall be measured by those listening. Music isn’t losing its depth. It’s the people who defined a musical generation finally disappearing as the current generation of music parks itself firmly on our FM dials and digital downloads that redefine what is "deep." If you are unable to hear it, then either you are not listening closely enough or you may not be invested into the music deep enough.
About the Author
I am Matthew Evans and I want to show people how beautiful and interesting our world is. I am a business coach, spin palace games reviews writer, and blogger. In addition, I really like to read new information about psychology and world history. I am also fond of music. I started playing guitar when I was 16 years old.