What Happened to Music?

When you turn on the radio these days, you’re bombarded with an obnoxious, headache inducing, auto-tuned song made up of repetitive words that don’t even make sense. Artists like Miley Cyrus, Ke$ha, and Lady Gaga pollute the press with news of some new stunt they have pulled, or their ever increasing shenanigans that demonstrate an effort to ditch the sweetheart image and rebel against all society norms. Not to mention their music is absolutely terrible.

Miley Cyrus has received a lot of criticism for her recent behavior – and rightly so. While it is her choice to behave how she wants, she is a public figure. She is someone young girls, and even the occasional young boy, look up to. She appears in magazines and TV, and sends an image and message to youth that it is ok to act the way she has been, when really, it’s not.

But while her actions are her choice, she could at least produce some worthy music. I mean what happened to artists like Bruce Springsteen, The Who, and The Police, who made amazing music and kept up a (somewhat) respectable image? It seems like the tunes you hear on the radio are famous for what shocking move the artist pulled the previous week, or whatever their baffling outfit of the week is, not their music. And let’s be honest, if the success of these songs was based solely on how good they were, and not how infamous their singer is, we’d have music actually worth listening to playing on the radio.

Record companies continually churn out songs where you barely even hear the true voice of the artist, but instead, hear the not-so-lovely voice of auto-tune. Singers hit notes that don’t seem humanly possible, and definitely make it impossible to actually understand what they’re saying. They change pitch at a dizzying rate, yet again making it impossible to understand what they’re saying. Not that they’re saying anything actually worth hearing.

It’s amazing how almost every song that comes out is about either falling in love or how some pop-star had their heart broken. They get to be just a little repetitive. I’m no artist myself, but I can’t help thinking there must be something more to write about than love. If you think about how many artists have albums that solely talk about love, it makes artists with diversity look like absolute geniuses.

I’m not saying all music that comes out these days is bad. And of course, everyone has their own taste. But the majority of the new pop music, or what comes on the radio every fifteen minutes, is pretty bad. It’s definitely time songs stopped becoming famous for whatever shocking stunt the singer pulled and actually had a little diversity for a change.

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My Trip to Belize

In sixth grade, my school led a trip with a handful of students to Belize. We were to spend the first week of our trip building a cafeteria for a school, and the second week touring the beautiful country. Before leaving, I was very nervous. I was traveling to a different country without my parents. Not only was that scary, but the thought of building a cafeteria was daunting as well. The trip turned out to be amazing.

We all met at the airport and did the usual, going through security, catching our plane, and flying to Belize. The minute we stepped off the plane, I was hit by the humidity. It was so hot. Nonetheless, we collected our bags and got on the bus to where we were staying.

The first week, we mainly focused our energy on building the cafeteria. We worked in shifts – half of us would build while the other half spent time with the kids from the school, either in classrooms or on the playground (which was really more of a field of dry dirt).

The builders mixed cement and set the cinderblocks to make up the foundation of the cafeteria. It was grueling work, especially in the heat of the day. The group that was resting and spending time with the students from the school would get a chance to know an amazing group of kids, until it was again their turn to start building.

Despite the hardship and poverty that the students at the school lived in, they were happy. They had fun learning how to do handsprings across the field of dirt, or just sitting and talking with us. ¬†They were unbelievably appreciative of what we were doing for them. It’s not as if we were building a state-of-the-art cafeteria. It was made up of three foot walls of cinderblock and poles that held a rood up above it. But to them, it was beautiful. I have never met anyone as appreciative as they were, especially at their age.

The second week was spent touring the country. We first drove up to a small lodge up in the mountains, and spent a couple days exploring the rainforest and caves around us. We then drove down to the coast and took a boat to a tiny island, where we explored and went on prolonged snorkeling excursions.

After the amazing couple of days we spent at the island, we packed up our bags – for good this time – and headed back to the airport. The trip was amazing. It was fun, educational, and rewarding all at once. The experience will remain with me for a long, long time.