I much more prefer other genres of music. Country, for example, is one style of music that I listen to quite frequently. I think it’s because it makes me feel good about myself.
All I have to do is turn on the radio, and within seconds some poor guy is singing about how he’s got a furnished house, a diamond ring and a lonely, broken heart full of love. And he can’t even give it away.
How can you listen to a song like that and not immediately start feeling a lot better about yourself?
I’m not saying country music is the best thing that has ever happened to the recording industry. After all, one can only drive and listen for so long to songs about why “we’re from the country and we like it that way” with “country boys and girls getting down on the farm” before he or she goes completely mad and decides to initiate a hoedown right there on the Interstate.
But as far as I’m concerned, it’s a little higher placed in the category of Musical Complexity than rap is.
Nonetheless, I have recently begun to listen to a little rap on the side. This is not my fault.
I blame my girlfriend.
She, and some of my friends, find rap incredibly amusing. As a result, my car radio has been tuned to a little bit of rap occasionally. And yet, as I listen to it, I still don’t see what’s so attractive about it.
So I asked my brother, who also listens to the occasional P. Diddy ditty, what was so exciting about rap.
“It has a good beat,” he said.
I guess everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. However, everyone is often wrong.
Listening to rap music, I have found nothing exciting about the beat. Any moron with a stick and an empty five-gallon bucket can come up with a decent beat.
Here, I’ll even go further to say that a columnist who was raised primarily on Beethoven and Mozart can write a good rap beat.
For those who can read music, this is my completely original rap beat (In a four/four time signature, each individual Bom counts as one eighth note, whereas with the combined BomBom, each Bom receives an sixteenth note.): Bom, Bom Bom Bom. Bom, BomBom, Bom. Bom Bom Bom.
See? It’s not that difficult.
However, the way the beat is played in the song makes it more exciting. The beat is usually performed by percussion, bass guitar or some sort of computerized din that eventually makes your head explode.
So you’ve got the main part of the song playing, with the rapper stuttering about how his “outfit is ridiculous, in the club lookin’ so conspicuous,” and then underneath that is the bass just pounding away at the beat.
I don’t know what it is about our generation, but we apparently feel the beat is so much more important than the song itself that we change the setting on our car radios so that the bass level is at its highest.
This is why, when a teenager listening to rap drives by a house, the entire structure vibrates or just falls off the foundation altogether.
It also can cause the windows of the car to blow out, which in my case would be a good thing because my driver’s side window refuses to roll down anyway.
Besides the beat, there really aren’t any redeeming values that make rap seem like a very advanced form of art. The lyrics certainly don’t add much.
For example, in a song called “This is why I’m hot,” the entire chorus goes like this: “This is why I’m hot. This is why I’m hot. This is why, this is why, uh, this is why I’m hot. This is why I’m hot. Whoooooo. This is why, this is why, this is why I’m hot.”
Perhaps I’m missing something, but it seems like the composer they hired to write the song sat down at his desk, came up with one phrase, got bored and decided to go watch TV. Then several weeks later he remembered the lyrics were due, so he went back to this desk, copied and pasted several times, and then sent the lyrics to the recording company.
I have similar feelings for a song in which the chorus goes, “Like this, like this, like this, like this.” (Repeat about 10 million bajillion times.)
On the complete other end of the spectrum, classical music can’t really compete when it comes to lyrics.
After all, Handel spent an entire movement from his “Messiah” repeating the word “hallelujah” over and over again.
Oh well, I guess that’s why he’s hot.
* * *
UFO: Elvis was once told, “stick to driving a truck, because you’ll never make it as a singer.”
Don’t ask why.