Does music today lack the emotion that it used to have?


Music. A powerful thing, a thing of many names, many genres, many people. It has the power to motivate us, to move us, to bring tears to our eyes—it has the power to sway our emotions this way and that. 

With each generation, a new wave of music has washed ashore. Jazz, swing, classical, folk, funk, rock, blues, country, hip hop, rap, indie; several types of music have come to exist over time. And thanks to today’s technology, our generation has the privilege to listen to it all.

As my ears have taken in the sounds of music that other generations share, as well as my own, I have grown to learn my own taste, as everyone does. We all search for the music that suits us—that suits our mood and how we feel. 

That is what we long for most in music. We long for the tune that will provide us with a feeling that we want to feel. When we want to cry, we listen to the music that pulls the tears from our eyes; when we want to smile, we listen to the music that resides with our sense of delight; when we want to be angry, we listen to the music that fuels our exasperation.

This is what makes music so powerful. We allow it to hold our emotions, to be the puppeteer of how we feel and how we will feel. Music can pull us from happy to sad, from anger to guilt, and so forth. For some reason, music creates a connection to everyone it touches and that connection is something that remains constant; despite an alteration in taste or a change in preferred artist, the connection that music draws to each of us remains a controlling factor to our emotions.

Music opens up the opportunity for one person, the artist, to share all of their emotions—their hard work, their life experience, their hardships—with another person, the listener. We feel what we hear, and although most of the time we don’t realize it, we are connecting to thousands of other people through sharing the emotion a song presents. We are relating to a struggle, feeling for another’s pain, or smiling for another’s success.

This is what brings me to the great evolution of music. I could go on and on about how music has changed, how each genre became a little more of this or a little more of that, how certain types of music lost its depth. We have nearly every generation of music at our fingertips and this allows us to compare it all; it allows us to search until we find the music that makes us feel like we want to feel, and it allows us to all connect when we don’t even notice it.

Personally, I’ve heard a little bit of nearly everything, and I’ve found what I love, what I hate, and what I tolerate. With this in mind, I’ve come to this realization that, at least in my generation, music today has lost a lot of its emotional pull. 

Of course, there are still hundreds of artists who have that pull—that ability to wrap around your heart and fill you with the emotion they are trying to convey; however, a lot of today’s popular music lacks the emotion that songs used to always have. 

This may just be because I am a teenager and I am constantly comparing my taste in music to that music that all of the people around me listen to, but I consistently notice that the music most younger populations listen to, and even older populations, lacks the depth that music was intended to share.

But that’s just me. I like the power that music has, the stories it can tell.

When I’m in my car, I’m not listening to 6ixNine wam out some beyond acceptable lyrics in a beyond aggressive tone; I’m listening to Queen wail the lines to “Bohemian Rhapsody” as the power of the song runs along the sound waves into my ears, filling me with an emotion I can actually feel.

When I’m doing my homework, I’m listening to the Beatles share their story as “Yesterday” trails on. 

When I hear the older generations of music, I feel more; the music feels real and genuine. It’s the music that makes you move, makes you get up and dance, and makes you sing your lungs out. I can hear the artists pouring their hearts into each and every word. That is something I simply don’t get with a lot of today’s music. Some songs that creep to the top of the charts nowadays are truly empty within the lyrics. Some songs nowadays don’t tell the important stories that music was designed to tell, the real stories.

Mind you, once again, I am absolutely not saying that all of today’s music lacks the depth and excitement old music had. In fact, there are hundreds of songs from my generation that I blast into my ears, songs from today that do have the power to share feelings. 

What I am saying is that a lot of what I hear on the radio or through the shaking cars of high schoolers in the parking lot is music that doesn’t paint the meaningful masterpiece that I feel music was constructed to create. 

But that’s just me. I like the power that music has, the stories it can tell. I like that overwhelming sense of emotion that songs can present and the beauty that can be found within simple words. I like the music that shows me the truth about an artist—the music that carries depth.

And through my listening, I’ve found this kind of music was better represented through older songs and past artists. Evolution of the music industry occurred, and that’s not a bad thing at all. The popular taste shifted, and we adapted. We found our tastes in the music of our time because that was what we constantly heard. Where our emotion aligns with this music will vary, if it exists at all. Maybe we forgot to listen for the emotion music brings, or maybe we don’t desire it anymore. When it comes down to it, how you feel about a song is your choice and what you look for in music is up to you.

But what I have noticed is that what the masses fawn over is a new, different kind of music, and that’s inarguable. However, the question remains, did we change it for the better or for the worse?