As much as I hate to sound like a hipster, I don’t really listen to mainstream radio, that’s not to say I dislike pop music, in fact I like a lot of the pop music that slips through, but pop music is the fast food of music, and the occasional gourmet angus burger isn’t worth a metric tonne of lukewarm cheeseburgers that have been sitting in the heater for 45 minutes.
For me the biggest manufacturer of lukewarm cheeseburgers is X-Factor and other show of its ilk, created by ‘5 minutes of fame’ peddler Simon Cowell. I hate how elitist it is, and annoyingly predictable. On occasion, I stumble on those top 10 auditions videos on youtube, and the set up is very much the same for every entry.
Step 1: Slightly dumpy, uneducated, not conventionally attractive person (usually working class) walks out onto the stage
Step 2: The judges look snide and disparaging
Step 3: Audience look confused and somewhat mocking (I assume at the urging of the producers of the show)
Step 4: The singer has a shaky start, audience and judges continue to be snide and disparaging
Step 5: Oh my god they can actually sing, what a suprise! Didn’t see that coming! Play the emotional music! 10/10!
It’s so boring, tasteless and downright exploitative, I don’t care how much you’ve succeeded, you don’t get to do that to human beings.
So what has this got to do with Sign Of The Times?
This goes back the cheeseburger analogy, bland lukewarm, uninspired pop music, and the lion’s share was coming from One Direction, the punchline to a joke no one wanted.
So then Harry Styles goes solo, and of course I didn’t care, now only 1 person was making a cheeseburger. But then one day I happened on mainstream radio, and heard the song ‘Sign Of The Times’, and was instantly enamoured.
Imagine my suprise when I discovered the artist, Harry F Styles. Underneath the pressure of record companies that are constantly playing it safe and only releasing what’s hip and now, and the X Factor mentality of making a quick buck from young impressionable singers that can carry a tune, was a talented song writer and musician.
Surely ‘Sign Of The Times’ highlights the failure of X-Factor, these competitions are ruining potential music talent worldwide.
If our culture is going to grow, we need to demand better, we need a better alternative to provide competition, to make X-Factor change or GTFO. Luckily this alternative exists, and it exists on the internet. Due to the expansion of the internet it is now easier to produce independant and original material by yourself, and put that music all over the world. All over youtube, soundcloud and bandcamp, there are passionate artists, creating music that is fresh and free of focus testing.
So don’t accept cheeseburgers, demand more gourmet, it’s better for you.