Unfortunately I decided to listen to the radio this morning on my way home after my final. Normally I don't partake in such activities - not only because I don't have any desire to be brainwashed by Clear Channel and their blatant disregard for human intelligence - but because the mainstream music nowadays is completely intolerable for the most part. I've constructed a list of helpful suggestions for bringing mainstream radio and music back to some level of respectability...
1) Song title should be accompanied by the track's producer, not the artist. If your song is a mainstream hit, it's obviously not a result of profound and pleasing lyrical quality - it's because the production value is great and the beat is catchy and keeps your attention (and distracts you from the artist slobbering all over it). For instance, Usher's new song (I'm actually not sure if it's new but I assume it's a recent song) should be labeled as such: "**** in this ****" by Polow da Don featuring Usher. I'll elaborate on the asterisks in my next point. How many times have you been captivated by the eloquent message conveyed by a mainstream artist as of late? I'd be willing to guess it pretty much never happens that way. Conversely, if you hear a hot beat you'll be more inclined to listen to the song regardless of the lyrics that you must sit through.
2) Certain words/phrases need to be censored or banned completely: Hustle, club, shine, love, drank, on lock, rims, shawty, boss, sippin', make it rain, grill, and the like. I can't think of any more (thank god) but feel free to add some more as racking my brain for these linguistic abominations is making me more stupid by the second.
3) Old school is not Mase. Old school is not a limited selection of Tupac and Biggie singles from 1995-96. That is a pathetic sample size and marginalizes an entire generation's musical contributions. Old school should be Wu-Tang, N.W.A., Run DMC, ATCQ, Public Enemy, Pete Rock, and the like. Otherwise don't even bother fooling your audience with flashback tracks that are so limited in selection that it is only a disservice to that entire genre (my examples were rap-centric, but I'm sure those of you with varied tastes can understand this sentiment as well).
4) All "musicians" from Atlanta - except Andre 3000 and Cee-Lo - should have their recording contracts immediately terminated. There's just nothing of substance there and there definitely won't be, at least for the foreseeable future. However, the record companies are perpetuating the cycle by pushing this region's "music" on the rest of the country, assuming we'll value it for its "originality." That's bullsh*t. There's nothing original about making music with no rhythm or point.
5. Eliminate T-Pain and Akon. While we're at it, eliminate the clowns who felt it was necessary to completely saturate the market with their music. You take away the voice manipulation and heavy studio editing, and these two are flipping burgers for a living. Nothing further needs to be said.
6. Lazy, uninspired repetition does not equate to forming a catchy hook (that's the chorus for you old folks) and should not be utilized as it's very obviously the easiest way out. Additionally, for some reason these modern-day musicians find it reasonable to copy phrases used previously in other recent songs and assume nobody will notice.
7. Being "talented" should only get you so far. I hear people telling me all the time that Alicia Keys is legitimately talented and should be commended. At some point, you have to disregard someone's talent if their lyrical versatility is so severely limited that they only speak about one incredibly generic topic (in her case, men and love troubles). I'm sure women across the world are sincerely glad that female musicians commonly declare their physical and emotional dependance on men - that's progress, right? Can anyone remember the last time a female artist freely and forcefully expressed their opinion on an important issue that mobilized women everywhere to further that cause? I find it disappointing - not just in the music industry, but in the entire spectrum of American media and culture - that most women are oblivious to how much more they need to fight for and how much more they deserve. There's a quote that aptly describes this American phenomenon: "You are a nation that exploits women like consumer products... You then rant that you support the liberation of women." Okay, I definitely veered off course on that one but my point remains the same.
Let's see some more suggestions, I'm sure I forgot something that must irritate someone else.