An analysis of relative quality in music composition (1990-1999)

‘Lotta great tracks from the 90s…lot of misconception about what makes a song “top-rated” like top 10 lists and artists or their work “important” relative to each other.

How to evaluate merit across genres…across a decade? What denotes the quality of a given composition? what is the rational way to assign value based on content instead of the goto  yardstick in a land of consumerism, where big box stores multiply and destroy main street, where we abandon dreams, hopes, goals and any semblance of ambition to any company willing to seize your identity at fire-sale prices.

Yeah….the standardized result reduced to the bottom line. How many albums sold? How many ticket sales? From the barely conscious blogs, homogenized hacky morning radio “Todays hits, yesterdays favorites, Bruffer, stuntboy and the Hole will keep your morning upbeat and lively…but never be informative, original, edgy or remotely entertaining” or VH1, where aging celebrities come as desperate whores and and leave as desperate…dirtier whores. Should we evaluate artistic creation using a monetary formula? How much money did Vincent Van Gogh have when he died? His paintings are nearly priceless. so? he died with nothing, as in NO THING, I mean shit, bupkiss, nada. You see the paradox?

I’ll get into that  soon, but start here; Brittney Speares, Vanilla Ice, MC Hammer, Will Smith, Right Said Fred and Sir Mix-a-Lot post top 10 or top 100 in many “Best-of the 90s” lists out there. This isn’t just ignorance….it is dangerous, this is cultural erosion. Pretend it’s 1990, your job is to decide whether Earth, Wind and Fire or the Bee Gees rank higher on the cultural impact scale,  They will populate either 19 or 20 on your editor’s Top 100 bands of the 1970s.  You saw Saturday Night Fever…who the fuck is EWF? Will you simply check record sales? Flip a coin? Just sit there and drool? I bet you retrieve a random EWF album and giver ‘er a spin. you do ad-sales….don’t know shit about music…you know what sounds good, right? Don’t you?

Here are some tracks composed in the 90’s that exhibit things considered “valuable” “quality” or “important” based on creative quality, entertainment value, innovative structure, thoughtful lyrics with MEANING, originality, uniqueness, expressiveness….FEELING! Everyone can tell the difference. That song you hate right now…the one that sticks in your head? Now consider that new song you hope they’ll play on the radio again soon. You love it—-THAT’s the better song…to you. Your taste in music may be awful, but we are all wired to admire aesthetic beauty in all creative endeavors.

Enjoy the sweet tunes I sliced off …ill be back with more of the outrageous prose you crave asap.

Ok I’m back. if the the amount of rap music, or the obscurity of Ice Cube’s “Down for Whatever” or didn’t know how good it feels to be a gangster…you’re forgetting or god forbid never saw Mike Judge’s comedy cult classic. you’ll get one clue (pictured below)then ask yourself. “when the shit goes down what the fuck you gonna do?”

If you don't know why I included those rap songs.....you need to get out more, ok?
If you don’t know why I included those rap songs…..you need to get out more, ok?

here is a more comprehensive list with much more mainstream tracks for the non-musician. ALL were written and 1st recorded in the 90s.

My assumption is that by now you are wondering if I have ANYTHING meaningful to say about this or if I am going somewhere with this…..The time it took to enable embedded YouTube playlists turned into an exercise in patience, and as fdor the playlists themselves I spent countless hours locating, verifying quality, sorting and piecing them all together so you can just hit play, crack a cold one and kick back. I distract easy….

What is apparent about all the top 10 lists from the 90s is that clearly financial gain factors into what is being alleged to be “one of the best artists of 90s….” I know MC Hammer made f—ton of money. He even built a mansion on a hill overlooking Oakland because, as he said, all the young blacks are able to look up at my mansion and it will give them hope.

No bullshit, he really said that. Did you know he made a second album? It flopped. Hammertime was over. Same goes for Right Said Fred…he starred in the 90s answer to a viral video. A joke. It quickly became a cliche’….but it”I’m too sexy” trended right up into the stratosphere, that was when we bought singles on a cassette tape, they cost about $2…you remember that? He sold a mountain of those and every venue in the western world wanted him to show up and do that ONE dumb song for over a year. That’s a enough green for 50 people to retire on, which I can only assume he did as he’s not been heard of or from since.

Please don’t ever evaluate the ability or talent…or the creative contribution of ANY artist based on how much money they make. Society evaluates the relative “value” of nearly everything based on a monetary amount. Enron made a LOT of money right? Did that make them a GOOD company? There’s a common misconception that many well-known artists, musicians and actors are wealthy. I can almost GUARANTEE [and this comes personal experience meeting many of them for all the time I spent in LA and lived there] AT THIS VERY MOMENT….one or more of your favorite actors, comedians, rappers, singer/songwriters….someone you are such a fan of that if they walked past you …you would go into shock….yeah…one or two of them is unsure about how to make rent at this month. They don’t draw paychecks…just contracts for the A-list, and contract-JOBS for for the merely famous. But was in …he must draw a royalty for that? It’s on Netflixs!

Maybe yes. Probably no. The vast majority of them were young, even more broke and desperate than they are now, they either had NO agent, a terrible agent or a crooked agent. This includes famous original content producer, authors, screenwriters, songwriter, directors…tons of them signed away the rights to a script they never expected would even get made just to keep the lights on.

I really want to stress, particularly for those of you who are not artists…if you don’t write, can’t draw, tone deaf, if you have no intrinsic need to express yourself through an artistic medium…like a paintbrush, a camera, a BLOG? I implore not to evaluate the relative merit or talent of any artists based on the US dollar.

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