Watched the MTV awards that night

i never realized the music business was in such a big place. All the performers sound alike. It sounds like they all have the same recording engineer. There is no individuality to any of acts. It's all just a formulated mess.

I am so thankful I grew up a time when there were great musicians and singers and songwriters. They say progress is good but it didn't work out that way in the music business.
Taters -
Don't despair, all is not lost…you just have to go to small, independent labels. Forget "mass media"...turn off, tune out and drop in:

e.g., Darla, Denovali, Flau, Ghostly, Kitchen, Kranky, Temporary Residence, Tooth & Nail to name a few.

Lots of talented musicians and original sounding stuff to be found on these.

A great portal to much excellent music is the review site, “A Closer Listen”.
I watched most of it. I'm an old fart but enjoy music of most any genre. While I hadn't listened to much of what I heard on the show before last night, one artist "the Weekend" really put on a fantastic performance. Find it somewhere and listen to it. I don't think that you'll be disappointed and just maybe you'll listen a second time, as I did, because he was that good(imho).
Ghosthouse, thanks for "A Closer Listen" I looked it up and thought it looked familiar. Looked in my favorites and there it was, 21 from the top, and I forgot it was there. It's good to refresh the brain every now and again...
Everyone should do themselves a favor and listen to non english lyric based music for awhile. Even music with no lyrics from a different culture. It's not asking for much of a sacrifice but to immerse yourself in it could prove revelatory.

Since my ears have been opened there's no going back to the same gruel.

All the best,
Since it was a long time ago, it's easy to forget that a viewing of the Grammy's from the mid-to-late 60's and into the 70's, when Rock & Roll was firing on all 8 cylinders, will show that the awards often went to the middle-of-the-road Pop "entertainers" (The 5th Dimension, Kenny Rogers & The 1st Edition, Bobby Goldsboro, Neil Diamond, etc.), not the groundbreaking artists of the day (Hendrix, Zappa, The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, etc.). Thus it has always been, and shall be forever more!
The highlight was Kanye West announcing his run for president in 2020.
Bdp24, you nailed it.
Bdp your on the money now its all crap!!
Its somewhat entertaining along the lines of a circus perhaps, but musically MTV keeps lowering the bar every year. The early glory days of teh 80s and the music videos then seem like Beethoven in comparison. Can it go any lower?
Yes, unfortunately it can.
No Mapman, it can't. At least I hope not. It's real bottom of the barrel stuff, just trash. But there's always plenty of good stuff happening "underground". For my musical taste (hard country, bluegrass, roots rock, singer-songwriter), the No Depression website and newsletters are indispensable.
Taters, I bet your parents raved about Guy Lombardo,Lawrence Welk,Eddie Fisher,Dinah Shore,etc. It was crap to us but great stuff for them. Lets face it we are Dinosaurs!
Ha! Yogiboy, I know some guys who constantly complain that the music they like (often British Invasion) isn't popular anymore. I gave up reminding them that their parents said the exact same thing about The Beatles (who seem to have a lot of the complainers as fans) when they (my friends) were kids. Why would one expect following generations to have the same taste as ours? We had our time, now it's theirs!
Pop music has always been pretty lowest common denominator. The LCD has changed a lot and probably broadened over teh years resulting in a bunch of stuff that mostly all sounds and looks the same.

Its all the other stuff always around that gets factored into it and lost in the shuffle worth seeking out. It'll be different strokes for different folks, not the amorphous blob basement dwelling LCD.
The LCD almost always consists of:

1) hot girls and/or the talented girl next door
2) cute or hunky guys
3) catchy beats
4) pushing the boundaries of morality of the day
5) lots of attitude. At least as much as teh masses will tolerate which is a lot these days.

The only thing that changes really with pop music is how all this plays out at any particular time.
Will this generation be singing the songs on this year's VMAs two, five, or ten years from now? No one knows for sure, but there is such a thing as disposable music, and a lot of what I heard sounds like a formulistic, disposable anthems. But then, I'm still singing ? and the Mysterians.
Bdp24, This guy was the biggest superstar of the 1920's. If you want to have a good laugh take a gander at this! Do you think this would be PC in this day and age?
You don't hear much about Al Jolson anymore these days, but yes, he was the biggest star of his time as I recall.

Says a lot.
Pop music from 20s-50's had some very high level artists and music .
For a starter listen to Johnny Mercer, the greatest singer-song writer the USA has ever produced .
The thing is with modern technology/production, there is so much done to beef up a production technically, often with a single sound/style in mind that will appeal to the masses, that the individual talent of the actual performer matters less than ever. Its kinda like fast food, crank it out for the masses. All driven by marketing and metrics across an increasingly diverse demographic of consumers. The results are very lowest common denominator. Real individual unique talents will appeal to just a subset of the target audience.

So it is what it is. The smart thing to do is to maybe just accept pop culture for what it is and enjoy it or not, but seek your individual musical pleasures elsewhere. There is more of that out there to find and enjoy than ever. Some of it dating back to the earliest recordings made almost a century ago.
Mapman, you make an excellent comment that I had not thought of before. You said they gear towards having one sound so they can appeal to the masses. That is great insight on your part.
Mapman wrote:

> You don't hear much about Al Jolson anymore these days...

Jolson isn't considered "PC" because he often performed in BlackFace. This is a shame, as his contemporaries contended that Jolson, who was a Cantor's son, was not a racist but simply prone to the over dramatic.

I always thought that Jim Nabors was channeling Jolson's ghost, especially when Nabors performed "Back Home Again in Indiana."

But, times change... You never hear about Allan Sherman much either and he had 3 Number One Albums and a hit single that went to #2.

That, and fame is fleeting... I was in the electronic section at either KMart, Target, or Best Buy in Seattle, and had a conversation with a sales-drone that went something like the following:

Me: "Do you have the 'With the Lights Out' Box set?"
Drone (elderly female): "I can check. Who's that by?"
Me: "Nirvana"
Drone: "Who?"
Me: "NIRVANA... You're kidding, right?"
Drone: No; never heard of them... Pete (another drone) have you heard of 'Nirvana' ?"
Pete (Gen-Y male): "Yeah... you're kidding, right?"
Drone: "No; never hear of them..."
Me: "You live in Seattle and you've never heard of Nirvana?"
Drone: "Don't know them... Oh, and we do have the box set. You want it?"
Me: "Yes, please..."
I have a 2 record Jolson compilation that I recall being pretty darn good. I need to give that another spin.

Jolson was still a popular legacy act when I was a kid in teh early 60s. I recall TV ads pitching Jolson recordings. I never paid much attention. The Beatles were breaking and all that. Plus old records sounded crappy on the cheap gear I had back then. Now those old recordings are entrancing, especially when digitally remastered well.
Read his writeup on Wikipedia. fascinating stuff!

How'd we start on Al Jolson in a thread about VMA awards again? A good omen maybe.
I brought up Al Jolsen just to show how times and tastes have changed over the years! While we're at it take a look at Sophie Tucker,she was another superstar of another era!
Millions of people all over the world eat at McDonalds. There is always a big market for crap.
I used to work for a guy that would always say" crap is king"
McDonalds is king.