Half-Assed Creativity: Music Sampling & Media Laziness

Posted: March 6, 2011 in Rants
Tags: , ,

I’ve had it up to here with horrible auto-tuning and lyric borrowing that plagues music today! I realize that you cannot tell where “up to here” is, but I assure you that it is a very disgruntled height. Every time I turn on the radio my ears are violated by the sounds of dismantled classic songs and voice modification, if I really wanted to hear robot voices I’d watch the movie Transformers.

I suppose it comes down to questioning the musical talent of new hip-hop and pop artists. Apparently not only are they incapable of singing (since they need to modify their voices), but they also can’t write a decent song to save their lives. When I hear classic songs like “Forever Young” and “The Time of my life” remixed, stripped for the chorus, and combined with horrible digital modifications it makes me feel sick and confused. It’s like the feeling I got when I saw Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull.

They say that monkeys typing randomly on typewriters for eternity would eventually complete the works of Shakespeare, I believe it would take Ke$ha twice as long.

What the generic Nicki Minaj lacks in talent, she makes up for in lady lumps.

If all it takes to be “talented” these days is some computer software and the hard work of someone else, then I wouldn’t be surprised if we see this kind of attitude crop up in other forms of media. Who needs to write a good movie anymore when you can just steal a pre-existing story and remix it with special effects? *cough* James Cameron *cough*

I guess if I wanted to make my own film I would only need to film 75% of it and then I could merely plug in a fight scene from The Matrix, and the ending to Fight Club. Guaranteed money maker.

Back to music, perhaps it’s not the horrible talent-lacking and lyric-stealing that bugs me. Maybe I’m really just afraid of how future generations will see us. I can imagine someone my age in the future, they’re seventy years old and listening to the music that’s popular now. I don’t want to be from the same time as an old woman who tortures her family by listening to the high-pitched yappy lyrics of Nicki Minaj, or the decrepit old man who is happy about throat cancer because now his new voice-box gives him constant auto-tune nostalgia.

It’s time to re-evaluate our standards for good music, or at the very least acknowledge and reduce the amount of credit we give to artists who make money by half-assing creativity. In the spirit of remixing and stealing, rather than write my own ending to this rant I have decided to steal the ending of Terminator 2:

“The unknown future rolls toward us. I face it for the first time with a sense of hope, because if a machine, a terminator, can learn the value of human life, maybe we can, too.”


  1. Davo says:

    Completely agree.
    As a musician myself, I made it a point to NOT use auto-tune.
    It’s such a cop out.

    Instead, I chose to record, rerecord, and rerecord some more until I felt as though I nailed the vocals. This, of course, added a good week to my studio time, but in the end, the final product, I feel, is much more sincere in every aspect because I cared enough to try.

    Even if I sound like utter trash, I can look back years later and be proud of myself for trying something that seems to be becoming a “lost art”.

    As far as stealing pieces of other people’s music, I again, advocate this through my life’s work. As I sit down with my guitar, a pad, pen, and creative motivation, I will stop myself the moment I feel “I’ve heard this somewhere before”, and go back and rewrite as many times as needed until it truly feels my own.

    Understanding that “everything has already been done”, I would still like to know you’re not immediately reminded of some other song you’ve heard before when listening to mine.

    Kudos to you, my friend, for speaking out against this current generation’s idea of art. It’s quite alright to be inspired by others within your work, but plagiarism and recycling should not be what the 2000’s are remembered by.

  2. Granpa says:

    Well done Karli

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