At times I get discouraged by the music coming out today. (Mildly pretentious statement, but hey, feelings are feelings.) In a world of “Beleibers” and Gotye, I catch myself thinking the music industry is doomed. (See my infographic on the steady increase and quick decline of music lyric quality over past decades here) Then, something remarkable happens, like the Flaming Lips’ companion album to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, that restores my faith in musicians. It’s artists like the Flaming Lips that haven’t lost sight of the fact that music is art. Sometimes that art means creating something novel that breaks out of any previous creative molds. Other times it means collaborating with fellow artists—whether that entails taking on a project with someone else, making amendments to others’ work, or entirely recreating the work of another artist. There are very few rules here, and true artists recognize this and take advantage of it.
As most people know, Pink Floyd’s album The Dark Side of the Moon syncs up perfectly to the movie The Wizard of Oz (I’ve tried it, it’s pretty cool). The Flaming Lips not only covered the album, but created an entirely new album that matches up with the original Dark Side of the Moon. I find it fascinating to observe one artist’s influence on another, like that of Pink Floyd on the Flaming Lips (and similarly Elliott Smith on Ben Folds–two of my favorite artists). It is these musicians who have not sold out. They are still focused on producing art that they have put thought into—art that has purpose. These musicians celebrate the art of music by learning from and working with other musicians to create something extraordinary.
Some additional musicians who have eased my anxiety about the future of music are found here.