I cannot stand electronic music. It’s a broad statement, to be sure, but the types of music that fall under the umbrella of “electronic”—dubstep, trap, house, EDM, etc.—bear no differences. To me, they represent little to no actual musical talent, and the whole enterprise comes off as artificial.
My taste in music, however, is also fair game for ridicule; I am an avid R&B aficionado, specifically for the classic works of Trey Songz, Justin Timberlake and Boyz II Men. So, in all respects, I’m obviously not the shining example of musical elitism. Yet the common factor among R&B, hip-hop, soul and other types of music is the vocal expression of emotions. The ability to sing well is a talent few are born with, and the ability to rap is just as admirable. Rap and R&B songs are anchored by the vocals that ground their tracks. They express feeling, thought and emotion, and they provide a base from which the song can build upon. Yet, in its simplest, most broken down form, electronic music is a few beats superimposed on one another and the producer layering and distorting the track in various ways to achieve different effects.
Almost everyone is guilty of, at some point in their lives, singing/lip-syncing/butchering various songs they have heard and liked. Yet, to do this, one needs lyrics. Trying to sing the latest Swedish House Mafia song would be akin to making clicking noises with your tongue—actually, I think it would literally be that. In addition, lyrics can tell a story, such as the classic hard-to-get routine this girl at the club is running on Mr. Songz, or portray a deeper message, like Frank Ocean questioning the meaning of life and positing the existence of extra-terrestrials in the same verse. To be fair, the use of lyrics doesn’t represent musical quality, but it provides people with, if nothing more, an avenue for spontaneous karaoke to their hearts’ content and a medium with which to explore more than just the notes.
Moreover, a huge aspect of a music artist’s career is live performances. We have heard of that time when Beyonce got caught lip-syncing at a concert. Yes, there are times when artists have been caught selling the hungry crowds an artificial performance, but there is nothing more artificial to me than an electronic concert. When your favorite singers take the stage and begin to belt out your cherished jams, you know they are genuine; they are performing music, doing what they—some, at least—were born to do in front of people who want to be there for them.
Yet, when an artist, using a laptop, turntable and flash drive, graces the stage and barely “performs,” the concert itself seems artificial and insincere. In my opinion, this ostensibly anticlimactic culture corrupts the whole enterprise of music, and that’s something I doubt I would pay for; what would be the difference between your favorite DJ and me performing a set at a concert off of a laptop? The same music would play, with maybe a few variations here and there, but the core performance would remain mostly the same.
Despite my objections to the entire spectrum of electronic music, I will concede that, in certain situations, some songs are definitely enjoyable. After all, there’s truly nothing to be gained by judging people based on what music they like. Unless they listen to electronic music. Then, judge them.
—Chollampat, a senior, is a News Editor.