In 2003, a foursome of creatively inclined and incredibly talented musicians named the Gym Class Heroes released their first album, “Papercut Chronicles.” The album was an absolute masterpiece; astounding lyricism and heartfelt melodies marked every track. They spoke out about high school politics, drugs, losing loved ones and relationships gone awry.
Fast forward three years. Gym Class released another album in 2006 called “As Cruel as School Children.” The album had a much more pop feel and most of the songs were about romance, definitely missing the meaning the first album possessed. So, the group began to get wide recognition and radio play, and even got a nomination from MTV for Best New Artist.
Wait. Best New Artist? The first album came out four years ago, which makes them a new artist? I went to the Gym Class Heroes MySpace page to see their reaction to the ridiculous nomination, and I was sure the seemingly anti-pop culture musicians would be rather offended. Au contraire. The group had reminders to vote for them all over its page, as if their lives depended on winning the award.
Unfortunately, the MTV culture in our nation has effectively taken over our taste in music-from the tunes we hum throughout our days to the albums we decide to hear. By following their regular format, MTV effectively transformed Gym Class Heroes into a group that would fit their channel and their play list. Thus, the group that seemed like they would never conform to anyone’s standards did just that. They paid the high price of fame and left loyalty and pride behind with their creativity.
As I delved deeper into the reason for their betrayal of real music, Nirvana came to mind. Kurt Cobain was the leader of Nirvana and started a movement in music that was never seen before. He hated pop culture, but he loved to make music and harness his creativity and his gift as best he could. As Nirvana became a phenomenon, the very demographic that began to like them was the people they so zealously spoke out against. Everything he loathed-and that had inspired him to make the music he did-had been turned around.
The price of fame takes a toll on today’s artists like a disease that forces them to trade fame in return for the betrayal of their own ideals. Nowadays there is challenge enough for musicians to become established and achieve what they set out for. Still, if they happen to make it big, it is nearly impossible for them to stay true to their craft. The truest music comes when an artist is desperate, and it seems that the MTV culture of money and popularity throws artists off track from their goals. This trend has cursed so many of our favorite musicians, and we can only hope that those artists whose music we love are strong enough to fight the urge to live the lavish lifestyle.
Dan Buyanovsky is a freshman from Miami majoring in entrepreneurship. If you ever feel like talking to anyone about music, you may contact Dan at firstname.lastname@example.org.