I prefer to focus on the actual music of the artist.
Does it sound good? How does it make me feel? Do I want to get out of bed and go to work? Can I go to school listening to this? What is the artist writing about? The list goes on and on, but it's really what we like that we use to define how we are through every single day of our lives. Yet when i'm talking to a friend, they mention an artist i've heard of, but the line I hear goes something like: "Her music's okay, but I listen to it because she's really hot" or, "Have you seen his album cover? I just want to eat him up!" (The album cover in question showed an artist half nude and staring at the camera)
I'm not preaching about removing all sexual content from marketing because it's "evil." My focus is not on marketing at all. What i'm questioning is our collective taste in music as a people. Everyone would like to have a spotlight shown on them doing something great. But talent doesn't manifest itself in a picture. It comes from hard work in creating something truly great, something truly inspiring.
I've heard the argument: "Well, not everyone will like the same music. You can't make a judgement based on music you do or don't like." That's completely true. But I'm not making a judgement on music I don't like, I'm making a judgement on the idea that Sex Sells.
It's our most frequent marketing strategy in the world. Put something pretty or sexy next to a product, people at least look in that direction for a moment. So it continues. We push the boundaries more and more with what we do as well, looking for the most risque and attention getting display. Ladies and gentlemen in the nude, body suits, people lying in puppy piles.
Please, not for music.
I can prove my point with this. Without stepping on any toes, and pointing out that i'm really not a fan of her music though I admire her talent, Adele is not the cutest singer in the world. She's not standing next to her music wearing practically nothing and hoping to sell sell sell. Instead, she climbed on top of Great Britain with pure talent, then conquered the United States using nothing else. People buy her music because they love the way she makes them feel, not how pretty she is. Her lyrics are vibrant and enticing, mixed with a powerful, emotional voice.
Maybe Great Britain is a little too far away for us to handle. How about Kelly Clarkson? I admit she began with a teenage body and pretty figure, but now that she has a more full bodied figure... no one has lost interest in her. Everyone still buys her music because of how she writes, not how she looks. Aretha Franklin? Always pretty, but not a supermodel. She's still affecting children with her beautiful sound. I'd like to point out that she's not draped on a brand new Mustang in a bikini. Great imagery for Halloween though. I haven't forgotten the men either, though it's hard to argue with Elton John or Steve Miller in their youth. Snoop Dogg isn't really pretty, but then all of his music videos tend to use scantily clad women to illustrate his work... so i'm not really sold on that for an example.
Tell me again why we need sex to sell our music? The content should simply reflect the artist's sound, show the artist as they are. I'm not sure I really enjoy Lady Gaga walking around with sun glasses made of cigarettes while wearing practically nothing. I often find that our children will be exposed to this sooner or later, but why through our music? Life is risque, why use that message over and over? Sure, love songs are some of the most powerful, but we don't need to dress them up to get the point across. How about we lean back, listen to some good music, and just relax.