What happened to music?
There was a time when it shocked the “authorities”, when it shocked our parents, when it shocked the “establishment” (AKA the power elite). Listening tonight and watching a rare clip on YouTube of The Byrds Eight Miles High I’m reminded of how it was a signal of subversion afoot, of the in joke, of how we knew what it was about, how when Jim Morrison played on The Ed Sullivan Show and The Doors were subsequently banned for playing Light My Fire with the “original” lyrics (Girl we couldn’t get much higher!), that it was about us, about change, about the energy and freedom that we embraced, about not selling out, about being whoever we felt we were or are. It was also about the drugs, about feeling different, feeling something else, feeling what the powers dissuaded us from feeling, from being good merry sheep to challenging the normalcy of our chicken coop lives and really feeling, thinking differently, challenging what the machine told us to think. What happened with the corporate takeover of music, the stifling sameness of “popular” junk pop, of boy/girl bands rhymically line dancing; is this yet another sign that we’ve been subverted by the corporation, led to the slaughter by the very same beings who we riled against? Have we learned nothing from the past, have we learned that the slogans are real, have we forgotten our lessons of the past and in forgetting bought into the new post capitalist system?
What happened? Have we shocked ourselves so much so that we’re mute to the new reality of our lives, of being unknowing slaves, of being so tied into the system that we can’t see another?
Watching Bowie’s last masterpiece, Blackstar, I question what is art, what is it that we see, what is it that we feel, what is it that we have to say? Was Pinter right? Do we find meaning in the silence between verses? Do we make something of nothing and yet the forces of our society inexorably tie us to the sameness of today’s Newspeak, stifling us; in our inner space no one can hear us scream. I am screaming, inside, inside my inner space. Do you hear me?