Wet A** P*ssy is “the defining song of 2020” according to so-called critics/journalists who make a living fawning over this crap. WAP debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 100. For weeks it squatted atop the charts like a sweaty naked fat woman on a toilet.
In “the raunchiest set the Grammy’s have ever seen” that annual television info-award-mercial featured a live performance of WAP. Incompetently acclaimed and shamelessly promoted by those same so-called critics/journalists, the spectacle held all the artistry of a Mexican border town donkey show.
It’s no coincidence that television ratings for the Grammy’s were down 53% this year. I agree with the fawning fools on one thing, however: This is indeed the defining song of 2020.
I grew up half a century ago in a golden age of music. We remember the dawning of rock and roll, with talented and creative bands like The Who and The Eagles, some of the best guitarists the world has seen such as Mark Knopfler and Jimmie Hendrix, and genius lyricists like Bob Dylan (sorry, I can’t put another in Dylan’s class).
We sometimes forget that it wasn’t just mainstream rock and roll that rocked in those days, though rock was where most of the money was. Rock itself was rooted in rhythm and blues like James Brown, Aretha Franklin and, later with a different take on it, Elvis Presley.
Setting the stage for R & B was jazz. Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Charlie “Bird” Parker and Billie Holliday come to mind.
On a different track were Broadway musicians. West Side Story, Singin’ in the Rain and Grease look kitschy now, but only because they were so good and so popular that they’ve become clichés.
These people were black, brown, white, Jewish, pagan, Presbyterian and you-name-it. The one thing they had in common is that they were musicians.
Not so today. Does anyone seriously compare the lyrics of Taylor Swift with those of Paul Simon? Does anyone think the guitar-players in BTS are the equal of Eric Clapton? Is Dirty Honey as good as The Rolling Stones?
Alas, even in fathers and sons, it’s the father who had the talent. Does anyone think Bob Marley’s shoes will be filled by his son Ziggy?
Compare two sets of lyrics that might be rooted in similar emotions, expressed pornographically in WAP and poetically by Bob Dylan:
“Beat it up, n*gga, catch a charge
Extra large and extra hard
Put this p*ssy right in your face
Swipe your nose like a credit card”
“Well, I’m livin’ in a foreign country but I’m bound to cross the line,
Beauty walks a razor’s edge, someday I’ll make it mine,
If I could only turn back the clock to when God and her were born,
Come in, she said, I’ll give ya
Shelter from the storm.”
So what’s happening? Maybe the degradation of music is because, like so much in modern culture, music is no longer about artistry. It’s not designed to be beautiful – that takes too much effort and skill – but to provoke a reaction. When provocation gets stale, as it always does, the promoters take it a step further by resorting to shock. It’s not really music at all. It’s music porn.
OK, but why is that? Why does our culture choose shock over art, porn over beauty? Why are we so shallow, talentless, obvious and stupid today?
I don’t know. But it’s time we start to ask.
Next column: Modern art is crap – is Jackson Pollock as good as The Aspen Beat?