Modern music doesn’t tell stories like old music does


I believe the art of making music has become too commercial. Everything is about maintaining an image and matching what is currently trending.

I’ve grown up listening to many different types of music, but in my household, there has always been a primary focus on 60’s, 70’s and 80’s music.

My parents introduced me to some of the greatest country stars like Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash and Alan Jackson. At home, we also listen to a lot of rock, with some of our favorite artists being ACDC, Poison, and Guns n’ Roses.

As I got older, I was exposed to modern music by my friends. Occasionally, my parents would turn on a new country station in the car instead of listening to older music.

The one thing I have to say about modern music is this: artists no longer tell stories.

This is a general statement that has its exceptions. I would never argue that the new songs of Taylor Swift or Eric Church don’t tell stories. But as a whole, music has made a decline from its previous glory.

Many of the new songs I hear coming out across multiple genres are centered around shallow topics such as drinking and partying. Most of the attention of the song is given to the chorus, and then the verses are neglected and don’t elevate the song.

But it’s not just the lyrics that are coming up short. The music itself isn’t composed in as thoughtful of a manner. Most of the new songs on the radio consist of one sound being repeated over and over again.

As a result, recent music hasn’t been coming from the heart of artists; rather, it is being made to be used as a sound on TikTok or in an Instagram story.

Some of the number one songs in the 80’s included “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper, “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” by Whitney Houston, “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds and “Sweet Child o’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses.

These songs tell the stories of self-worth, the human need and desire for love and nostalgia that people find in others. “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” is also featured in the movie “The Breakfast Club,” which brings up the topics of individuality and inclusion.

Over 30 years later, the top songs are “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X, “Sucker” by The Jonas Brothers, “Cheerleader” by Omi, and “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor. Though these songs are catchy, they don’t tell the stories of important topics, and they don’t hold the heart of the artist.

In order for us to get back to listening to music that is real, we as listeners need to be more critical. Instead of listening to what is trendy, we should be turning on songs that resonate with us.

However, there is hope in this situation. Music coming out after the pandemic has been much more connected to the artists and their roots. This is because everyone was forced to quarantine at home, something touring musicians do not often experience.

If this trend can continue, modern songs could even overtake some of the classics.