It should have been the first indication, but I had thrown back one too many tequila shots the night before to be certain, however, I did find it somewhat strange when my alarm came on to the sound of news reporting. You see, I keep it set to KMLT and their slogan is “more music and less talk.” On this morning, it seemed like I couldn’t find the button on the alarm fast enough as I had fallen to sleep with the television on, as I so often do when inebriated and the combination of the alarm going off and the tequila wearing off was a bit much to bear. “Good Morning America” was coming over the t.v. and I could sense that the featured story might have been related the simultaneous newscast on KMLT, as they both had an air of emergency about them. What wasn’t quite apparent was why the strange-looking red-haired lady on the screen had the caption PETA under her. Certainly Michael Vick hadn’t relapsed, had he? As I struggled to focus, suddenly there was a member of Tree Huggers saying,
“It’s all about sustainability and it never seemed like anyone really cared. The first red flag should have been when they started cutting the programs out of the schools. It was just beyond our scope of focus, but really, someone had to have seen this coming.”
By now, I was sitting straight up in the bed and almost fully alert, although, I still struggled to focus through the crust and the dryness of my eyes. I could tell that something pretty serious was going on. Now what, a spokesperson from Save The Whales? “There’s a special interest group or community that focusses on bringing awareness and provide solutions for just about every ” at risk” entity in our society today” she said, “it’s deplorable that this slipped through the cracks” and thats when Diane Sawyer broke the news, music has died!“
This couldn’t be so! I reached for the radio, again, surely Tom Joyner would have music or ,at least, a good explanation. As I turned the dial, I noticed a slight tremble in my hand, I was panicked. I found TJMS and my fears became reality, no music and there was an air of eeriness over the airwaves; they were in mourning. I was in shock. Just last week, they had informed the listening audience that the supply of weave hair in the country had been depleted and all importation had ceased. The reason stated was something about the fact that most weave hair is made in China, and it had been hinted maybe that the Chinese were waging chemical warfare through the hair. It was found that some chemicals in some of the imported “hair” were linked to the actual disintegration and/or breakage of the wearer’s natural hair. In addition, the excessive wearing of artificial hair was linked to the formation of cysts, fibroid and other reproductive ailments that many African-American women were experiencing. A special interest group rose up from the dust with the quickness for that! Hair importation is back on! As much of a roll that music plays in the African-American culture, how could we have let this happen? Like the PETA lady said, “we wouldn’t let that happen to dogs.”
The previously mentioned course of events are not fictional; they really happened. The, only, twist that I’ve not mentioned to this point is that, they are not past events. They happened in the future. Yep, thats what happened, one day music simply didn’t exist anymore. It all started with the dying out of “bands”, the Earth Wind & Fire’s, the GAP Band’s, the Cameo’s, okay more recent, the Tony Toni Tone’s. The emphasis was totally taken out of the schools. I don’t even think kids can play instruments anymore. Then came the music video and we really began to experience the beginning of the end. I mean, like you could make a glossy video with a lot of skin and a bunch of asses shaking and it didn’t matter, if the musical content was “some ol’ bullshit.” Slowly but surely, after that, commercial radio began to condition us and our standards, day by day, they dropped lower and lower as to what we accepted as good music. After a while, after all the hip hop producers had sampled the last of all the viable good music and the overall quality of music had deteriorated so drastically, it was as if the music gods said “Why have thou forsaken us?” and music just rolled over and died and the earth was without melody. Folks in New Orleans couldn’t even have a proper jazz funeral for it. Music didn’t exist in any form or fashion. Not even, the birds sang, any more.
I think that the easiest way to define something is by using its opposite. In other words, in order for me to describe “good music”, I must shine the light on “bad music” which is what most people refuse to do, especially when people who make bad music make so much money, these days. Bad music, although it might make you bounce or your toes tap, usually doesn’t evoke good feelings (it’s not feel good music), doesn’t promote positive ideas and doesn’t inspire you. Bad quality music has thrived far too long at the expense of good music. I didn’t write this essay for the purpose of pointing any fingers at any individual, but to ask the question, “What can and will we do about i?” We still have time before the music dies!
Click on the image below to watch “Before The Music Dies” on Hulu.