This column is dedicated to my little band of haters you know who you are you make me love what I do even more.

Paul Wong
The Manifesto<br><br>Dustin J Seibert

Carson Daly is the anti-Christ. Take a good look at him those villainous beady eyes, that demonic monotone, that deceptive clean-cut, take-him-home-to-mommy demeanor and that ridiculous black painted fingernail. He and his claim to fame MTV vehicle Total Request Live have played significant roles in the burgeoning popularity of the garbage that passes for good music, and otherwise tops charts regularly.

Sure, I”m still a youngster I was a child during the unforgivable era of “80s music. However, I was cultured in the ways of a vast array of music that emphasized the talents of the artists” musical abilities, as opposed to the live performance aspect. Let”s be honest the “big three” artists of the “80s: Prince, Madonna, and Michael Jackson, wowed the masses with dance moves, pyrotechnics, and controversial lewd behavior, whereas their actual singing left something to be desired. These three artists have one thing in common that is detrimental to my argument, that being the questionable genre of popular music.

Perhaps my beef is with pop music in general. Two decades ago, it appeared to have a bit more class. Now, everyone is playing copycat record executives are on a constant search for the next heartthrob with the pretty face, chiseled jaw, colored hair, large breasts, tight booty and recently sold soul to grace MTV”s airwaves. What do most of these jokers lack in unison? The ability to sing and write songs. The true musician is able to carry all aspects of his/her music, including the lyrics. Who writes Miss Spears” lyrics about finding that special man? Probably some dirty corporate bigwig with an abundance of “nude” Christina Aguilera photos stashed on his hard drive. How did Jennifer Lopez manage to get a record deal with that god-awful voice of hers? Because she”s J-Lo a gorgeous movie star with a posterior that speaks volumes. Regardless of her star status, she should never have been allowed to set foot in the studio.

What truly irks me is how hip-hop and R&ampB music have teetered into the pop category. It seems that lately the lines have been blurred between the genres. Take Sisqo, a capital offender he started out with Dru Hill singing deep, soulful, gospel-laden melodies only to graduate to “The Thong Song,” the shameful summer super-hit that put him on the map as a solo artist. Depending on which awards show you watch, he is considered Pop, Hip-Hop and R&ampB. Other artists with great voices, such as Mariah, Pink, and Christina, have also happily sacrificed their full potential for the almighty dollar. The demographic that these artists are catering to these days don”t require much all that these 14-year-old star struck little girls really need is a video on TRL and access to mommy”s Visa next thing you know, you have a multi-platinum album on your hands. Mission accomplished.

These so-called “lyricists” out here are killing me these days. I”m no hip-hop purist, but the repetitiveness of the same old recycled material is mind-boggling. Instant recipe for a platinum-selling rapper: One part I-grew-up-tough-in-the-projects (pick any major city) Two parts mediocre lyrical ability that emphasizes murders never committed, bids never served, guns never shot, and drugs never slang One part already-famous-rap-affiliated mentor (DJ Clue, Jay-Z, etc. will do) One part “bling-bling” that must be returned at end of video shoot two parts hot single with snappy catch-phrase (phrase need not be intelligible words), and three parts big label promotion that will make you famous for a few months, rape you outta your loot, and leave you broke in the street. There is nothing wrong with appreciating commercial hip-hop, however it manages to get the most criticism from the many opponents of the violent, negative lyrics. The underground lyricists, who actually provide higher quality music with something intelligent to say, will probably never get the acclaim that they deserve.

So is everybody who appreciates what I consider shallow music wrong? Absolutely not I have my fair share of simple, non-introspective, rump shakin” music no big deal. If music, however, is considered art, then the stuff that is topping the billboard charts in most genres these days is color-by-numbers, and the Picassos and Da Vinci”s should be paid their due. Most newer acts borrow and steal from their “predecessors” as it is, yet they manage to water it down into something not quite as respectable. Regardless, you can never squash that which will earn people lots of money, and so this garbage will live on until it ceases to make dough, if it ever does. For the time being, though, can”t someone do something about Carson Daly? Quickly?

Knowledge.

Dustin J. Seibert can be reached via e-mail at dseibert@umich.edu.

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