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Student voices: There's good music out there

I always hear people say that the quality of today's popular music is declining -- rapidly. As an avid music listener, I can't help but disagree. There exists a huge amount of music that is frequently listened to and played on the radio that, yes, still is played using real instruments, sung with a real voice and written by the original artist.

Okay, all three of those things combined might be a bit too much to ask for as far as Top 40 radio, but indie music is growing in popularity due to increased exposure and easier access to such music via the Internet.

Yes, the term "indie" is ironic in that most indie bands are signed to major or semi-large labels, but I think the term is beginning to morph into a description of the band and its sound, and not necessarily its record label status. A great majority of this music is high quality -- original, well-written, catchy music composed by talented musicians.

So, to bring this point into a bit of relevancy if you are not a fan of this genre of music, the Grammys are coming up in a few weeks. There has been a turning point in the Grammys in the past few years. Recent winners of the Album of the Year and Artist of the Year were two lesser known artists, who are more a part of the earlier mentioned alternative scene. Even though you may not know who Bon Iver or Arcade Fire are, an increasing amount of people are starting to recognize and appreciate the talent and years of effort these types of groups have invested into their careers. They may not get Top 40 airplay, but they still found their path to mainstream success through winning the prestigious award.

This year, one of my favorite bands, fun., is nominated for several awards. The group is considered "alternative," yet they found a great deal of mainstream success with their song "We Are Young." They are able to have the best of both worlds -- a respectable career, and mainstream success. I think they prove that mainstream success can still be achieved in this day and age while creating real, quality music.

It is okay if you're not much of a music listener, because this specific example reflects a common theme. Just because a few select, outlier artists may be prominent, that does not mean that the lesser known, but harder working and more talented artists cannot succeed. The same can be applied to society -- it's constantly being said that there is no hope for the future of the current generation (mine) because of a few acts done by select people. Those examples may distort the perception of the generation -- and in the specific case, of the music industry, but I am encouraged by the artists, and people, who are working to reverse this.

Marnie Sciamanda is a senior at Rosemount High School. Her column appears every other week.