Though we a see a rapid change in the music culture of the 21st century today, let us throw it back 48 years ago to 1972, when Franklin recorded her album Amazing Grace near my hometown in South Los Angeles. Here music reminds me of when music was raw & authentic & not to sound trite, but from the soul.. When classics were classics, without the “extra-ness” of what we see in modern artists today via i.e. over audio- editing, auto-tune, hyper-sexualization, over edited music videos, shock value, etc.
Amazing Grace is a live gospel album by American soul singer Aretha Franklin. It was recorded in January 1972 at the New Temple Missionary Baptish Church in Los Angeles, with Reverend James Cleveland and the Southern California Community Choir accompanying Franklin in performance. The recording was originally released as a double album on June 1, 1972, by Atlantic Records. The album was a critical and commercial success, selling over two million copies in the United States alone and earning a double platinum certification. It also won Franklin the 1973 Grammy Award for Best Soul Gospel Performance. As of 2017, it stands as the biggest selling disc of Franklin’s entire fifty-plus year recording career as well as the highest-selling live gospel music album of all time. (“Amazing Grace Aretha Franklin album” 23, May 2019, para. 1/2)
Lil Nas has officially made history for being a self-made artist to one who is nationally known for his hit single “Old Town Road”- superseding Mariah Carey’s “One Sweet day” ft. Boyz II Men & Daddy Yankee/Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito” ft. Justin Bieber. Now, while this may hold a lot of controversy, I do admit that I respect Lil Nas’s hustle. To start from the ground up, and making it to the top of the charts and beating other artists, is quite remarkable. It has me thinking how did this all happen? I do admit, it is incredibly catchy and the fact that the song is composed of two unseeingly related genres, is what I think was the defining element that ultimately won listeners’ attention and praise. Not entirely sure of the technical/ composition aspect of the song. Though especially to me, to think it could possibly outdo the work created by The Ms. Mariah Carey just baffles me.. However, I’ve to come terms that that is what pop culture entails today. The culture is evolving, and I’ve learned you could either keep up or be left behind.. While the craft and the artistry is somewhat preserved in the production of music today, I think artists who generate large amount of revenue and fame simply luck out. Only because music today isn’t what it was decades ago in the 80’s, when we had our idols like Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. Both of who had crystal clear, undeniable talent and was evident that they were bound for fame because of this gift they possessed. While I do congratulate Lil Nas X for his successes and accomplishment, a part of me still questions how it came to be. I do miss a little bit the class that came with old great music back then.. if that makes any sense.. but that’s just me old-fashioned self speaking. Anyhow, I’m sure this phenomenon has inspired a generation of artists which I think will leave a huge mark in the future music industry to come. Leave your thoughts and feedback in the comment below! Would love to hear from ya’ll.