Music is now mediocre, according to Todd Rundgren. Is he right?

JAMES FAY/ The Concordian @jamesfaydraws

Do you think that finding a genuine musician is hard? Is the music industry pumping out mediocre music?

In a recent interview with The Guardian, rock artist Todd Rundgren (most famous for his single “I Saw the Light,” stated “It’s hard to find sincere musical artists nowadays. The music is just mediocre.” Rundgren has a fifty-something-year music career under his belt, so his opinion must hold value, right?   

Let’s keep it simple: there’s more music out now that you have to sift through to get the good stuff. That’s just because the industry is over-saturated. There is more accessibility in the sense that you have access to multiple streaming platforms (such as Spotify, Apple Music, etc.), other than just the traditional listening methods (i.e. CDs, records, cassettes). Based on that, I can say that Rundgren does have a point because currently any Zach Fox can make and sing or rap over a beat for the fun of it, as a joke, and just because they can.

It’s 2022: you’re going to find a lot more artists that are insincere. Available at your local music store or even Amazon, you have instruments called groove-boxes that enable you to input the key and scale of the song you want to create and boom: it gives you all the notes that sound well together. It basically kid-proofs your chances of making a song that sounds melodically awful. While that sounds great, you can lose your ability to think outside the box as a musician and eventually use that piece of hardware as a crutch.

Back in Todd Rundgren’s heyday, only the rare few privileged musicians would be able to record in the studios and take the time to get good recordings for their full-length albums. In contrast, we are now in what I can call the “singles and EPs era” where artists record and release more bite-sized content, from the comfort of their bedrooms or on their laptops. 

Will radio stations and record labels push to broadcast and distribute unpolished songs that haven’t been mixed and mastered properly? Definitely not, so don’t fret, Rundgren: you won’t have to worry about opening your newsreader and finding “20 artists whose names sound like they’re internet passwords and you’ve never heard their music” like you say there are. Honestly if anything, he’s probably making a reference to 21 Savage or Blink 182. To him, they would probably be the same.

That being said, Todd Rundgren is an awesome songwriter and musician. He does have prestige from being in the music industry for multiple decades and having knowledge on musical production. Can he make quotes dissing present day artists? Yes. Should he? Maybe not. Either way, do check out his hits on streaming platforms. He also has a new album out called “Space Force.”   

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