Willoughby Thom | Thursday, October 3, 2019
There is perfection in chaos, but there is no such thing as pure perfection.
Chaos is natural, but as a society, we are constantly trying to achieve an ideal perception of perfection in a world of self. That is unrealistic.
We are trapped in the ether of the scroll — a digital panopticon, so to speak. As a society, we are continuously being watched by others and by ourselves. We are hungry for attention and acceptance; however, the search for perfection has cornered society into a paradox of identity. The idea of being normal is viewed as being abnormal whereas abnormality is seen as normal. It is our natural desire to be unique, but the fear of rejection overpowers the confidence to be individual, resulting in uniformity. This identity crisis isn’t only applicable to individuals, but it is also seen in modern music.
Music, regardless of genre, has become sterile and mass produced. Music has fallen into the trap of corporate commodification. This idea of commodifying music isn’t new, but it has become more apparent and appalling since the 1990s, a decade that considered the music industry a factory churning out music for a profit, not for expression.
It is every musicians’ dream for their music to be heard, but their authenticity shouldn’t be exploited to make a profit.
For example, Nirvana’s albums “Bleach” and “Insecticide” caused a corporate rift in punk rock. The music industry made a new type of punk known as grunge. The industry saw potential in punk, but due to its obvious anti-capitalistic philosophies and progressive social agenda, they decided to essentially “rebrand” punk. By marketing modern punk as “grunge,” they removed the stigma that the industry placed around punk, and it resulted in great profits. However, the irony isn’t lost. Like legendary punk rocker Henry Rollins said to me earlier this year in an interview, “It’s safe to say that at least some punk rock practitioners have been corporatized … [but] the joke is on the corporations as the music they’re promoting is pointing out their less than enviable aspects.”
What this world needs to understand is that to make good music, you need to suck. You need to get your friends together, write simple songs, make noise, suck and have the best time of your lives. One of the biggest misconceptions of music is that you need to be skillfully trained and have a flawless voice. That is false. People compare themselves to artists that artificially create “perfection” in their music — it is mass produced. It lacks the heart and the soul that is required for it to be music in the first place.
We all have ideas, thoughts and opinions, and music allows everyone, no matter the musical background, a chance to express themselves. There is no formula to follow. There are no guidelines, so what is holding us back from forming a band? Exactly, nothing. People are so worried about how they will be perceived and how their music will be received that they lose focus of what really matters: truth.
The truth sucks. Honesty is hard. Sing about it. Write poems about it. Do something about it. There is nothing wrong with confronting frustration or celebrating life with others because, chances are, they are feeling the same way, too. The world craves music that is authentic, so be a part of that movement to satisfy the hunger. Don’t be afraid — get your friends together and start a band. Play on backyard porches, stages of dingy clubs and on the floors of leaky basements. Embrace the fact that you suck because that’s awesome. Perfection is only an idea, not a reality.
Have the best time of your life making music that sucks because you may be surprised that it actually doesn’t.
So go make some beautiful chaos.