Super-producer Bob Ezrin Slams State of Music Today
"Where are the anthems, the protest songs, the songs to march to or the ideas to fight for, the truths to believe in?" he says, in a letter to Bob Lefsetz of the Lefsetz Letter. "Instead, it's all about 'me.'" Ezrin notes a few glimmers of hope, but not many. "'Glory' from the film Selma is the great current exception – as is Kendrick Lamar's work. And – yes – let's not forget the valiant Dixie Chicks. But mostly there's little more than a bit of catchy ear candy and nice beats."
Ezrin produced Alice Cooper's School's Out, Billion Dollar Babies and Welcome to My Nightmare, among others. He collaborated with Kiss on Destroyer and Revenge, and served as co-producer on Pink Floyd's The Wall, A Momentary Lapse of Reason and The Division Bell. He also worked on Deep Purple's Now What?!; Lou Reed's Berlin; and on both Peter Gabriel's debut and 2010's Scratch My Back.
That lenthy period around the industry has given Bob Ezrin a unique perspective on just when things went wrong, too: The '80s. "All that talk about the 'me generation' turns out to be true," he says. "We lost 'us' in the '80s, and since then we only care about ourselves and our personal gain. We only want the money."
And so ends a dramatic musical journey, he laments. "In just the last few generations, we have witnessed the complete devolution of the mainstream of music from the intricacies and demands of jazz, swing and modern 'classical'; the subtleties and finesse of the best of popular song writing; the mastery of "folk" instruments and vocal performance in the best of folk and rock; the singular high-mindedness of the greatest singer songwriters; and the hard-won craft of playing and writing and creating meaningful work," Ezrin says.
We're left now, he adds, with "four-bar grids of 'cut and paste' monotony over which someone writes shallow nursery rhymes about partying, trucks and beer or bitches and bling, or whines in hardly rhyming verse about their sad little white boy or girl life."
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