It is Wednesday, it is pissing down with rain outside. I’ve got pretty much soaked while walking in to work and to top it off the latest in my reviewing duties is none other than the new JLS album. Now before I give you my traditional fair and unbiased opinion on said album. I find myself asking a question.

How the fuck did it all come to this?

I mean really, as the first decade of the 21st Century begins to wind down we find ourselves living amidst some of the worst manufactured pop in memory (and believe me I lived through the SAW eighties so I know what I am talking about). It would seem there has never been a time when musical integrity in the mainstream never scored so low against the premise of a quick buck and a disposable pop act.

Now I’m not being naive, I appreciate that the music industry has always been run on the premise of making money. If you chase pop music back to its roots along the way the concept of manufactured music will be staring you in the face at almost every twist and turn. It’s what pop music is good at. But that doesn’t mean it has to be shit.

I also appreciate that the traditional model of the music industry is dead, these are the days where the phone vote has replaced the single as a “revenue stream” and you’re as likely to hear a chart bound song as a ringtone as you would hear it on the radio (do I have a solution for this? nope and it would seem nobody else has anything concrete to say on the matter either).

It would also be very easy to blame the likes of Simon Cowell and his ilk for this state of affairs. After all in fiscal and cultural terms he strides over the UK (and I guess to a lesser degree in States) like a rampant colossus hoovering up cash with every successive season of X Factor. The man commands a wage that could probably put little dents in the national debt and this scenario shows no signs of abating anytime soon. Fair play, the man saw a gap in the market and he cornered it. Hell right now he’s throttling it white.

No in terms of blame I’m afraid its the punter who has to shoulder some of the necessary demerits. After all this state of affairs couldn’t exist without the cooperation of the people. Of a weekend any number of us sit there glassy eyed staring at the box while the seemingly endless pantomime of at best mediocre talent is paraded out in front of us. The media of course loves it, the endless headlines of X and Y surviving each successive round shifts copy like nothing else. Yet when things take an “unexpected” twist (such as the likes of the ‘Jedward’ phenomenon) everyone sits there mewling and bleating about the injustice of their continued presence. And yes, some folks really do take it that seriously.

Well folks, you have nobody to blame but yourself.

If the likes of X Factor represent the surface scum of a pond if you are prepared to get off your lazy arse and look a little deeper there are undoubted treasures to be found, regardless of your musical tastes. Its never been easier to find music, the presence of the internet means you can surf through vast catalogues of sounds with ease, no longer do you have to trudge around record shops flipping through vinyl till the tips of your fingers bleed (although there is nowt wrong with that I hasten to add and if you haven’t done it…try it).

Albums these days are a good deal cheaper than they used to be (and I’m not going to tackle the thorny issue of piracy, its been flogged to death already) there’s plenty of good material on the smaller independent labels that is worthy of your support. You can even take a wander further down the musical food chain and look at multitudes of free material on offer. Now before any of you clever sods says “free must mean shit” I must reiterate could it truly be any worse than the crap you force feed yourself on a Saturday night when you watch X Factor with that family sized bag of crisps in your hands. I’m not going to sit here and proclaim that its all going to be of sterling quality but the idea is you actually go out and have a look, at least go out and try to reclaim a semblance of musical choice rather than simply laying back and choosing between vote line telephone numbers.

The consequences of ignoring my sage adv…sorry rant could potentially bite some of you on the arse in a few years time. Imagine when you have kids and they get to those formative years when they are slowly building musical tastes of their own. There’s no question that they will look to Mum and Dad for a little bit of inspiration (whether they admit to it or not). Do you want them to browse through your library and see a musical collection that was to some degree “chosen for them” or do you want them to see that their parents at least made a few choices of their own without the aid of Saturday night viewing and a bloke with perma bright teeth and a slightly odd haircut.

I leave it to you.

Shit, I was supposed to do a review. I’ll do it later.