Does mainstream music feign reality in midst of economic crisis?

The economy has deeply affected the daily lives of Americans, and citizens from businessman to firemen are altering their lifestyles for a new job, a new bike, or a new homemade dinner recipe to cook in the household. Small businesses and big corporations are both overwrought with debt and struggling to create new gimmicks to increase the flow of money.

But how is the mainstream music industry faring in this economy? The question popped in my mind while listening to 102.7 KIIS FM radio on the way home from school. I enjoyed listening to the upbeat, Friday night party mix for a few songs, but after a while I tired of the same types of songs.

I realized that One More Drink by Ludacris, Whatever You Like by T.I, and Get Money by Lil Wayne, all share one unmistakable trend: materialism. Certainly the fact has always been evident, but it seems even more outright, and more ironic, to me in the midst of our economic crisis.

It is interesting that despite the downward spiraling climate of the fiscal market, the wider public still enjoys to dance and purchase music dealing with frivolous issues. Instead of tuning in to the news channels about the economic stimulus plan, more listeners are interested in the cars, chains, and clubs they can’t afford.

The reason why? This is the culture that the American people have sculpted. The technological, political, and entertainment successes have sculpted the American culture into one of gluttonous overspending and indulgence, and it is undoubtedly represented in  mainstream music. Or maybe it’s the fact that these luxurious songs provide an escape, and allow their listeners to forget their worries and “Just Dance” like Lady GaGa.

But regardless of the reasons, I believe that the music industry should focus on more unifying themes of music. The historical inauguration of Barack Obama has brought so many diverse groups together, and I believe the music should evolve and progress like the American population has. It’s time to raise our expectations and hold the music industry accountable for being more forward thinking and sending more messages of hope to their listeners.

Fortunately, some musicians have released new positive, upbeat songs that uplift spirits and reflect on the current times. For instance, Will.i.am just released the optimistic, “It’s  A New Day” after Obama’s election into office. The cheery song got many of my classmates pumped for the day, and it kept us listening to it repeatedly. Also Jason Mraz’s light-hearted, romantic single, “I’m Yours,” skyrocketed in the music pop charts, and even got him nominated for a Grammy.

With the help of these artists, light-hearted, positive songs with messages can prevail and be popular like the powerful peace anthems of the ’60s and ’70s made by groups like Earth, Wind and Fire and the Beatles.

Although our past has been riddled with negative and meaningless messages of current mainstream music, I believe the downfall of the economy has given the music industry the necessary impetus it needs to change.