I’ve Got a Really Personal Vendetta with 4/4 Time and It’s Ruining My Life
Everyone hates me, I hate 4/4. 4/4 is everywhere, there is nothing to love.
As if Drumpfshit wasn’t bad enough, we for some reason are in the musical era where every single pop song is in 4/4.
I get it, it’s called common time for a reason.
I won’t deal with it.
It is completely unacceptable, all other eras have a variety of rhythmic feels, tempos, signtaures, you name it. They’ve got variety. Wagner goddamn revolutionized the perception of rhythm, time, and harmonic rhythm. Who cares, right?
This matters because pop music SUCKS, and I’m not a snob. We deserve better than this, ya’ll. We NEED better than this. Love yourself.
Before MIDI and synthesizers, people used to have to ACTUALLY MAKE THE SOUNDS THEY NEED IN ORDER TO MAKE MUSIC.
No way, right!?
Ever listen to Dolly Parton’s “9-5”? Masterpiece. Listen to the bell ding on beat 4. THEY HAD TO RECORD AN ACTUAL BELL DING IN ORDER TO MAKE THAT SOUND. Fleetwood Mac? They had to actually play the whole guitar riff in order for the song to have guitar throughout it. They didn’t play two chords, stop, loop it, and then sing on top of it.
They had to actually be able to play instruments, AND they had to play these instruments for the duration of a whole song. Their songs were even like, sometimes, longer than 2 minutes. WHOA.
I know, it’s absurd. Who wants to go back to those times? Those were difficult times, times when you had to be talented in order to make music. How awful.
3 Quick, Infuriating Observations
–from an angry, bitter and underemployed musician
- Every single fucking song is in 4/4, or has a duple feel
Am I the only person that loves waltzes? Not just waltzes, literally anything with an actual groove.
4/4 DOES NOT GROOVE.
I REPEAT. 4/4 DOES. NOT. GROOVE.
It can rock, it can roll, but it doesn’t groove unless an actual human is playing the drums.
- Every single song uses the exact same clap sound
At some point, we have to just take a step back, and realize that every single song is using the same EVERYTHING. IT’S ALL THE SAME FUCKING SOUND FILES. PLEASE TRY RECORDING SOMETHING OTHER THAN THE LYRICS. GOD FUCKING DAMNIT. Do NOT try to tell me that “a clap is a clap”. That’d be like telling a painter that “green is green, why bother mixing your own, or changing it into shades of green”. There are shades of claps, fools!
- No one records a whole phrase without an edit
I’m a sound engineer, I can hear it and it bothers me. This should bother everyone, A LOT. It removes almost all of the vulnerability from music. It takes a lot of energy to perform a song, in a personal, vulnerable state. It’s the sort of thing that most people can’t do. It requires a lot of guts, and stamina. It also usually results in something not going perfectly according to plan. These vulnerabilities in the performance make it meaningful, unique, and present. Seeing a real live performance, complete with vulnerabilities, is an experience that can’t be replicated. I expect to be moved by music, not lulled to complacency while I wait for death.
Drum machines are kind of amazing. They take what is often the hardest to replicate (a great drummer) and make it extremely versatile, accessible, and reliable. I understand that really tight, perfect tracks pop and sizzle in people’s ears. I get it, I feel the same. Have you ever heard really, really good musicians, play really, really in time? It doesn’t just pop, it bursts. It makes your whole soul groove. It really, truly, genuinely grooves. Drum machines don’t groove, no matter how much you “humanize” it, or how much you “swing” it. It just doesn’t sound like it could.
I hear shit from people like “all music is out of tune except for EDM”
This makes me really sad. Intonation is quite literally an arbitrary set of perimeters. Musicians agree to a certain tuning, and the rest goes from there. Live, acoustic, “organic” sound from non-digital instruments is not out of tune, it contains a wider spectrum of overtones and resonances than digital sound. Digital music only contains the sound that you tell it to have. You can control and manipulate every aspect of the sound, through the computer. The only thing you can’t create; is an authentic, real instrument.
A real instrument, like a person, has characteristics in it’s sound that you wish weren’t there. Each musician has a special sound, a special approach. MIDI is the exact fucking same, every time. It’s very reliable, it’s very cheap, and anyone can get it in their living rooms. Just look at all the 10 year olds with pro recording setups who make youtube videos.
It’s the elements you don’t expect, don’t like, find irritating and grating that might turn you on or off of a song. Electronic music is so clean, so cut, so boring. It is salt-less, bite-less, sting-less, flavor-less.
People have become so accustomed to hearing electronic and digital sounds, live instruments are a rare treat. I heard someone playing trumpet in the subway today. They were awful, but I was mesmerized. It was a real human playing real thoughts. Some of his thoughts were garbage, but boy was it cool to hear such raw communication. This shouldn’t have been a treat, it should’ve been annoying.
Back to Dolly Parton; raw communication, pure storytelling. ALSO, can sing better than anyone. Early recordings of DP!?!?!?! Go listen to Bargain Store, and you tell me it isn’t the best song you’ve ever heard. It’s good because of the story, but it is ALSO good because the instrumentals are incredible. The studio musicians are incredible. They exist, too. They aren’t MIDI. They’re like, real people, who all played those parts. Maybe not all at the same time, but they played those tracks all the way through.
^^Take note; this song is in 2/4. It could be in 4/4, but even if it was, it wouldn’t be offensive, because it grooves harder than every single song on the radio right now. Amen.
Storytelling is something that every generation will always expect from their art. We are still getting a lot of storytelling, but the instrumental aspect of things has really suffered. Please don’t try to prove me wrong by sending me all of your favorite EDM tracks that make you weep when you’re on pills. I don’t care. It’s not a full-spectrum sound, and it just doesn’t get me high.
ugh rant over, mic drop.