Editor: I confess that I am not a musician. I am only an ordinary listener of music, who looks back longingly at the days when popular Vincy music reflected mostly the hallmarks of longevity. The classics of Becket, Soso, Touch, Xadus, Signal, Blacksand, Hotsand, just to name a few, contained sweet melodies, diverse arrangements, and creative lyrics.
Today, sadly, we are bombarded with monotonic cut and paste constructions that have no discernible musical progressions, cannot be effectively played by musicians, and feature weak lyrics that show no depth nor imagination. This is not to say that we have stopped producing classic type music. We, however, have become a fast food culture, consuming low grade offerings that produce some immediate gratification, but are quickly forgotten.
This phenomenon is partly aided and abetted by a triad of producers, deejays and radio programme directors, who force feed us this junk food in portions that satisfy todayâs information age influenced short attention spans. Non-instrument playing producers easily build beats with very little arrangement value that deejays take and remix live on air and in parties into hits. The âwheel and turn againâ culture allows songs with strong intros and choruses, and nothing else, to become popular. The whole recordings are never played. Proof of their weakness is that they are largely left out by programme directors for airplay during automated segments.
Yes, I was part of the problem, was being the operative word. The solution, however, may speak more to where we want to be as a nation in the creative industries. We only have to look at Kevin Lyttleâs continuing mainstream music industry success with ragga soca as a developmental goal in growing our local industry. Yes, that 16-year old hit still pays his bills today. Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago have realized this in the back to basics richness they have endeavoured to incorporate into their music over the last three years.
We have to revisit our rich history, or get left behind.