Bands, Is It the End of an Era?

Disregarding the fact that you have musicians playing behind you does not make you a solo artist.

Ultimate Guitar

There is an extensive problem coming up in the music industry. People who typically would be the lead singer of a band are simply becoming "solo artists."

The reason that I have solo artists in quotation marks is that a majority of the people who consider themselves solo artists in this day and age aren't really solo artists. They have decided that their voices are the only important part of a song, so their names should be the only ones listed as the artist only artist performing the song.

In the 2015 Grammy's these five artists were nominated for best solo pop performance, "All of Me" by John Legend, "Chandelier" by Sia, "Stay With Me" by Sam Smith, "Shake It Off" by Taylor Swift, and "Happy" by Pharrell Williams. Considering the fact that Taylor Swift can barely play the guitar I highly doubt that she plays all of the instruments in "Shake It Off." Admittedly in the song "All of Me" it really is just John Legend and his piano, but it wasn't John Legend that won the award, it was Pharrell Williams with "Happy." This is a huge problem in the music world. The excess amount of solo artists is causing a lack of respect, a lack of meaning, and a lack of future for instrumentalists.

When people listen to new songs they don't think to wonder, "Who is the drummer in this song?" they wonder "Who is the singer in this song?" The reason that there are no more great guitar solos being made is because there are no more guitar solos being made at all. People no longer care about anything in the music that they listen to other than a catchy melody and that the person delivering the melody to them has a hot body.

There is no respect for the people behind the instruments anymore. It used to be that during a guitar solo in a live performance jaws would drop at the guitarist's finger work and all the attention of the whole was on the guitarist. Now if you are lucky enough to have a guitar solo in a song it ends up just being a dance break for the singer. No attention is given to the people playing the instruments. Most people now have a lack of interest for people playing instruments.

The word band has slowly been deteriorating in meaning. Twenty years ago One Direction would never have came into existence. You would not be able to have five guys who can barely sing and where only one of them can play an instrument. Everybody knows the name of the members in Journey, but most people would only be able to tell you Hayley Williams name if you asked them who the members of Paramore are. Nowadays if you are lucky enough to find a band in the pop music genre then it surely won't be a good one.

The effect of not having bands, and no longer caring about the instrumental side of music is that this generation of kids don't care about the instruments, so they aren't inspired to learn how to play them. Little girls used to want to grow up to play the guitar like Joan Jett, and the little boys wanted to play the drums like Mac Fleetwood. Unfortunately now they just want to sing and dance like Nicki Minaj and Justin Bieber. There will most likely never be another band like the Beatles whether bands are a common thing or not, but when they aren't common you end up taking a way the already slim chance. When people decide to become famous they see that there odds are lot better if they are a solo artist instead of a band. This dilemma is going to have a long term effect on all of music.

Disregarding the fact that you have musicians playing behind you does not make you a solo artist. It is unjust to have so much admiration and credit for the singer when a majority of the time they weren't even the ones who wrote the song, and still give no credit or admiration to the people standing behind the singer. There has been a change in times and in popular music, but that is not an excuse for changing the amount of credit that is given to people who play the instruments.

6 comments sorted by best / new / date

    One Direction would have happened 20 years ago. Remember Five, Blue, The Backstreet Boys, Boyzone, or Westlife? They happened 20 years ago, appealed to the same market as One Direction and were all singers who could barely sing. Only difference between them and One Direction was they were a bit older (or at least didn't look like prepubescent boys). Or for 'solo' acts 20 years ago, we had Kylie Minogue, Natalie Imbruglia and Mandy Moore. They got a ton of radio play, but now, no one remembers them. On the other hand, Foo Fighters have been going for close to 20 years, and are selling out stadiums and releasing quality new material. You assume that just because Radio 1 is playing it, that means it's popular or will last. Give it 5 years, everyone will have forgotten One Direction, or Sam Smith, or Minaj or Beiber, but more kids will be discovering Alter Bridge, who will still be headlining Wembley without Radio 1 so much as knowing their name. (though even Radio 1 has its good moments, they sometimes play new bands like Marmozets and Royal Blood).
    Kylie Minogue forgotten. Backstreet Boys and boyzone are also still pretty well known
    I think there's some truth in this, but we've been led to believe that vocal talent in rarer than instrumental talent. I'm not sure that's true, but it's pervasive, so that's where the focus is.
    This is somewhat true, unfortunately the pop listeners dont understand Musical Theory/Difficulty - I blame the talent shows such as XFactor, American Idol etc