Rock Music and Hedonistic Capitalism

When I was younger, I hung around musicians. I wanted to be one. Music was the one place I could escape to that gave me a sense of peace. I tried every rock-based instrument, including singing. But I knew early on that wasn’t my thing. I was good at writing poetry and songs, which should have taught me that my talents were more literary than musical. I enjoyed English and History classes in high school, but my biggest struggle was math. I’m just not a math person. 

I never understood why I couldn’t find an instrument that suited me. I loved listening to music, getting lost in the songs; why couldn’t I find something I could fit into, to be in a band? 

Fast forward to a couple of years ago, I started watching Rick Beato. Wikipedia describes him as an American YouTube personality, multi-instrumentalist, music producer and educator. He routinely makes videos doing musical analysis and interviews rock musicians. Many of them are from my childhood/youth. 

The music analysis bit made me realise that music is math. You don’t play music without mathematical rules. I could never find my instrument because I suck at math. I have a good ear for music and can understand some music theories, but I can’t get lost and create it. 

One of the other side effects of watching Rick (and listening to interviews with bands on Youtube), along with the experiences I had near musicians trying to make it onto bigger stages, was that the music scene is inherently about making money. It’s one of the most capitalistic projects out there. Making it big is about selling yourself and making a product others like and want to consume. 

Also, can we talk about lyrics? When you’re younger, it’s all about the music. It’s about the sound aesthetic rather than the message of the song. As I got older, I started listening to the lyrics. Songs like Thirteen and Young Girl are straight up about paedophilia. “Every Breath You Take” is a song about stalking (along with just about every Adele song). Problematic song lyrics are the norm, not the exception. 

I’m no longer shocked when a musician from my childhood comes out as a conservative and/or a capitalist. There are exceptions, but the rule is it’s all about the benjamins. It’s a requirement to be successful in the music business. 

There’s a reason the slogan “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” exists. The hedonistic gluttony that comes from it is just an aftereffect of the drive behind why someone wants that kind of fame and fortune in the first place. 

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