Sex over music in today’s music industry?
By guest blogger Mike Brown
Whilst I am still young enough not to blush when Lady Gaga, Beyonce or any number of female pop stars, appears on MTV wearing very little, and also not even the slightest bit prudish, I felt I had to applaud when I read recently that Mike Stock, of legendary pop producers, Stock, Aitken and Waterman criticized modern music for being too sexually driven.
I am a red blooded young male and I’d be lying through my teeth if I said for one minute that I didn’t enjoy a bit of female flesh. Anyone who wishes to call me a chauvinist or accuse me of objectification is quite welcome to do so. However, there has to be a point when it should stop being broadcast on MTV, and start being sold in back alley stores with blacked out windows and blank DVD covers.
In some respects, Mike Stock makes a very valid point, though I’m not sure I agree with all the parts of his diatribe. He went on to suggest that the music is corrupting the young people of the modern age. He even went a step further, bringing computer games such as Grand Theft Auto into the equation, though what this has to do with chart music is quite unfathomable.
Whereas he is concerned with the hearts and minds of the voracious, music-loving youth, I am more concerned with what this over-sexualization says about music as a whole.
Mike Stock, along with the rest of the television viewing public, watched the gradual dispersion of the “watershed” for explicit videos on MTV (the time at night when it was deemed acceptable to broadcast the more risque material) until it became little more than a token gesture; a faded memory of times long since gone.
He perceives this as an insidious corrupting influence on children, and with the UK having the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in Europe, there may be some element of truth in his argument.
My major concern with the “over-sexualizing” of music, is that the music stops speaking for itself. I consider myself something of a musical purist. I don’t much care for frontmen, egos or anything like that, preferring instead to listen to the music, the lyrics, the harmonies, the rhythm. If anyone wishes to call me a music snob, they are quite welcome to do so.
It’s not the images themselves that offend me, because I heartily believe that the parents of the children who are watching the videos should be explaining to them about the context of the music video. If children are raised in a loving way, with full knowledge of the world that they have entered and are soon to do all their learning in, then Britney Spears wearing diamonds over her nipples isn’t going to corrupt anything.
In a way, if sex is covered up and treated as something filthy, degrading and something to be ashamed of, it’s likely to encourage more children to engage, and if they aren’t getting their answers from their parents, they certainly won’t get them from Miley Cyrus. And whilst I’m not suggesting that children should be exposed to hardcore pornography gratuitously disguised as a music video.
What I find sad, more than anything, is that music has stopped being music. One of the first articles I ever wrote for Radio crème Brulee, was about Lady Gaga and I’m going to use this as an example. She’s a beautiful girl, with an amazing voice, and an obvious talent, but she has created this image of the pouting sex-maniac and sold a significant tally of albums. Would Britney Spears be anywhere without that kinky school uniform from her first video? Would Rihanna be the mega star she is now, if she hadn’t burst onto our screens wearing tight leather and giving cheeky winks to the camera?
The answer sadly is “no”, and for me the worrying thing is that genuine talent is being completely overshadowed by a mass of shimmering flesh and spandex. It seems to have been an overwhelming theme for my articles, but it’d just be nice to have the music speak for itself for a change. To have more bands in the charts who aren’t afraid to play live music and appear in videos with their clothes on, writing songs about love, passion, pain, grief, fun, life and music rather than sex sex and more sex!
There is still space for sex in the music industry. The modern musical offerings are often inextricably linked, but regardless there is still space for dancing women, six-packed men, sun tanned hotties on beaches and muscular, sweating, hair free studs, but frankly it’s reached saturation and stopped being interesting some time ago.