Oh for the days when we just enjoyed music for the joy it generated...
Well, it is not a new phenomenon. Even Classic opera composers changed librettos either to avoid censure or make it more contemporary. Humans have a tendency to move to extremes. I would not be surprised if the next version attempted by the other side is against abortion!
Just as in all other domains, the institutions whose original mission was to cultivate and protect music, are now among those who are set to destroy it. See, for example, anti-racist music resources from UNC:
There is no hope for the humanity.
That's nothing. In Jailhouse Rock, Elvis clearly says Number forty-seven said to number three
"You're the cutest jailbird I ever did see"
"I sure would be delighted with your company"
"Come on and do the Jailhouse Rock with me" and then at the end of the song when the jailbreak takes place, there's Bugsy; "No one's lookin', now's our chance to make a break"
Bugsy turned to Shifty and he said, "Nix nix"
"I wanna stick around awhile and get my kicks"
The whole song is getting everyone to get down. Going so far as to say "don't be no square, if you can't find a partner use a wooden chair". I don't even wanna think about that one lol
You’re talking a rather niche end of the music industry here, but I fully appreciate the distaste for the bastardization of historical beauty for misplaced morality alllll day. I will tack on a question - if Wordsmith was clear he was doing a parody album to reflect his own ideology would the bastardization be acceptable then? Weird Al of Woke.
Been going to concerts and festivals by the dozens each year since I was 15…..never in my life heard of Wordsmith. I’m in a discord filled with teens asking them, not a single one knew him. Dude has 20k followers while rappers like Chief Keef have 20 million. One raps about woke things the other drugs bitches and money. One has zero platinums, the other has half a dozen.
The bulk of those attending shows and producing music is not oriented in being woke. The music industry is like comedy regarding free speech - the last two frontiers that ALWAYS have and will push the boundaries of society for the simple reason both types share a base trait for the love of their craft.
Rather it’s Billy Holiday facing literal racism.
Rappers - black men specifically - have faced - for over a decade - pressures to drop the n word. One of my favorite comedy sets is Eddie Griffin’s set Freedom of Speech opening up to that topic.
Metal at large went through this from the beginning of Moshing - remember watching the old Phil Donahue in 1995 with all the parents concerned about it trying to silence it.
Marilyn Manson faced a lot of moral outrage since his existence from Christians and society at large when Columbine happened.
Music is the space that will always be home for those of us who exist as we are vs how society tells us. Music is the space that has changed society through people like Elvis and The Beatles - which both were considered devil music in Christian America at the time.
“I know how it feels when ya sing it, I know what it does to you. I know the..the…evil feeling ya feel when ya sing it, I know the…lost position that you get into…and THE BEAT.” - 1957 Jimmy Snow - Pastor against rock n roll in the quite famous footage.
On the religious side - if one belongs to the Church of Christ denomination, they do not listen to musical instruments that are not found in the New Testament. I went to a non-denominational private school that wouldn’t allow us to sing anything outside the hymnals - even popular Christian Rock.
Music has long been a battlefield where morality goes to die. Music demographic data shows the bulk of music consumption is peaked at 30 and below. More than 1 in 3 Facebook users with interest in Billboard Hot 100 artists were between the ages of 25 and 34, followed by 26% between the ages of 18 and 24. Just 18% of active users were between the ages of 35 and 44, and less than 20% were over the age of 44. - that’s Facebook which is primarily utilized by the 44+ demographic lol.
Among those between the ages of 18 and 24, the leading artists included Lil Uzi Vert (54%), Halsey (48%), and Shawn Mendes (44%). However, the three most popular Hot 100 artists for people younger than 25 were not among the top three artists for older users.
Lil Uzi dropped his new album last Friday. Glock In My Purse is all about running Philly through trapping and murder lol.
If no one has read Johann Hari’s Chasing the Scream which follows Billy Holliday & prohibition. Read it!
I've only ever found sensible discourse on your substack but for anyone to choose this rack to hang any variation of an anti-woke hat on is just silly.
Her opening quote: "Revisionist performances of classic works deconstruct our precious links to the past" seems to assume we lose any ability to pursue the original work... "precious links" haha.. What, like any of the millions of links that any seeker of art/knowledge of the past could follow online to appreciate the original? They're not going anywhere.
These new "remixes" do not take anything away from her precious links to the past. I'm far outside of the woke mob mentality and am often disgusted by the far-left, but to go out of your way to be offended/triggered by these variations whose quotes, provided by her in her silly whine, actually only include positive messages, speaks volumes to her bitter gatekeeping.
"We are awash in opportunities to hear rappers and to condemn alleged police brutality. Our means for entering the past, however, are finite and available only through works of art that have survived into the present. It is narcissism to demand that these precious vehicles of bygone form and feeling be dragooned into speaking in our language, about our contemporary concerns."
I bet it felt so good to her to jam that "alleged" in there. How about a slight correction: "It is narcissism to demand that these precious vehicles of bygone form and feeling be dragooned into only being used to represent something I've put myself in the center of."
I think it is likely Tom Hanks said that partially to cover his ass in these times of paranoia.