Staff Column: Music woes at Villanova

Silvino Edward Diaz

Given the fall music lineups of the last few years, it is easy to be deceived into believing that Villanova is “unvariably homogeneous,” as Will O’Hara stated in a letter to the editor (Sept. 11).

However striking and convincing our demographic distribution might seem, with white students comprising 74 percent, we are far from homogeneous.

There is no doubt that our community is host to a great diversity of interests and personalities.

We all do our part to make this social and academic institution a home to all ideas and beliefs.

But I’m not going to get into the details of what may turn out to be a compelling sociological discussion about the nature of our community.

Regardless of our diverse interests, we do have to once again suffer the painful reality of hosting mediocre sounds that, not surprisingly, are of no real interest to anyone.

I consider that bands like the ones headlining our fall concert lineup are in fact parades of processed and packaged bubblegum puppets.

However, I will not bring myself to believe that such music – such dreadful combinations of unpolished lyrics, melancholy hooks and recycled fashions – is what populates playlists around campus.

It’s simply not true.

We seem to forget that we are technology’s baby boomers, the patrons of a generation that has never had to buy a single music album.

We can download entire discographies at a time without paying a cent. Ethical or not, this is the reality.

Hence, Villanova students, seasoned delegates of this generation, having unlimited and timely access to whatever music they desire, stack their iPods and music players with weeks’ worth of music of all sorts and labels.

There’s a playlist sharing feature on iTunes that allows your computer to access any playlist from any other computer connected to your network.

If you’ve ever used this feature, you’d know that playlists around campus are not all the same. They average about 5,000 songs and range from Mozart’s violin concerto No. 3 in G minor to Miley Cyrus’ “See You Again.”

Our taste in music is, on the whole, diverse, extensive and sophisticated.

The students of Villanova love music.

So why is it that our live music listings are so anemic?

Why don’t we have better artists come play for us?

We can criticize student organizations all we want for not signing better acts, but it’s not going to do us any good; it’s really our fault.

We’re the ones not doing anything about it.

There is no enthusiasm for live music at Villanova.

Too many people have told me the same thing: “There is no passion for music in this school.” And they’re right.

There is no voice for opinion, concern, desire for celebrating music whatsoever.

So we leave organizations like the CAT no other choice than to pick the safest, most generic bands to come and perform for us.

And by trying to please everyone, these organizations end up pleasing no one at all.

Nevertheless, there is one important detail missing from this argument, one that might let student organizations off the hook.

There’s a business side to it. Most of the acts that play on campus come as part of some tour.

For example, this fall’s concert lineup is sponsored by the Verizon Wireless College Tour.

The acts that perform on campus are the ones that our student organizations can afford – that’s why, for the most part, they’re not that good.

So as much as we would want to have Kanye West or Coldplay, we are inescapably subject to the economic problem: limited resources and unlimited wants.

Artists are expensive, especially now that performances comprise the bulk of their revenue stream.

In a sense, I can sympathize with student organizations for trying their best with the difficult task they assume in getting artists to perform here.

However, they can be doing a much better job than what we’ve seen from them in the past years.

All-American Rejects, Goo Goo Dolls, Brand New, Sean Kingston – these are just some of the artists who have been featured on campus in the previous years.

They’re big names, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re good.

These are all Top 40 acts, but that is definitely not the only music that exists.

All I’m asking for is a little diversity; after all, that’s what we’re all about.

I would like to see the Lupe Fiascos, the Broken Social Scenes and the MGMTs of the world.

How about a little Armin Van Buren or a little Justice: can you imagine an electronica concert on campus?

How about a little Jazz? How about some Eddie Palmieri & Friends? The choices for good affordable music are endless.