The Death Of Melody
In the battle of the decades, or even of the century, two things are certain:
1 – The 2010s are better rhythmically than any decade that has come before it. Everything is on the beat, even country songs start with an 808. That is the way it is done. And when you get to the big boy beatmasters, the Skrillex of the world, what they do with a beat is magically, how they can get a buzz saw or a dolphin singing (listen to, Bieber singing a bar on a loop and dotored with beyond recognition on “Where Are U Now”), or a dog whistle, a found moment, anything at all has been music and it is all placed as a beat because they need to find holes and they find holes in the place between beats and fill it up. This is a result of rap, sure, but it is also a result of infinite tracks, of the huge spaces that need to be simultaneously filled and emptied.
2 – Melodically, this is not a good time for music, I feel that the golden age of melody was from the 1940s to the 1970s and it has been going downhill since then. Listening to even Motown grooves from the 1960s, they creak compared to a The Weeknd, but melodically they run circles round current music.
That’s why rock is terrible.
Grunge had two strains, one was Cobain melodic genius, his sturdy songs that get right under your skin and they come up against Soundgarden who were about a sort of brittle sound, a high pitched vocal against brusque and deep feel guitar riffs. In 2018, that’s the blueprint for rock and roll. Chris Cornell. And it is terrible sound, all of it. Even emo was better than this (which is why Brand New, controversy notwithstanding, is superior to Linkin Park). It isn’t built for rock, the technology isn’t right for rock and the melodies aren’t nearly good. A guy Lil Peep was trying to find a middle ground but mostly rap and r&b artist are getting into punch ups over beats not melodies.
For all his gifts, Drake isn’t very good at melody. Xxxtentacion stands a chance but he ain’t there yet and he struggles through emo to rap, peace to violence. As rap tries to incorporate melody, the best, a Lil Uzi Vert, might have a handle but not enough.
That’s what has happened: melody isn’t happening .Even a born tunesmith like Taylor Swift has passed it by