Posted on February 24, 2012
Music is like food - musical tastes
Wouldn't it be weird if when people ate food, we judged whether or not we liked it based on peer influence? Let's say we're trying POUTINE for the first time - and I believe we can all agree that poutine is amazing - but our reaction to it was determined by whether or not it was "hip" to like it. You'd take a bite and think, "Oh sweet Jesus, this poutine thing is amazing! Oh, but I can't like it because XYZ will think lesser of me." Of course, in reality this doesn't happen because food is simple: we either like it or we don't. We, as sane individuals, would say that these people are morons and should just let their personal appetites and taste buds determine what is delicious. Public opinion should hold no bearing on gustatory preferences. Right?
Ok now stay with me here.
Let's imagine that someone hears a song on the radio for the first time, and whether or not they liked it was based on peer influence. They started listening and thought, "Oh my God. This song is amazing and is activating some emotions deep within me. Oh, but I can't like it because XYZ will think lesser of me." Of course in reality, this doesn't happen because…oh wait. It does happen.
music elitist - [ Myoo-zic-ih-lee-tist]
1. (of a person or class of persons) bound by public opinion when determining his/her musical tastes, whether influenced by peers, culture, or pop culture.
2. See also "Hipster".
I'm sure we've met someone who listens only to bands no one's ever heard of. Realistically, they're probably too ashamed to admit the popular bands they do like, and instead list off a series of esoteric bands in efforts to appear cutting edge, cool, or against the grain. They might start out liking a band or certain type of music but once it becomes mainstream, it's no longer "hip" to like it. Their musical tastes are determined by public opinion: whatever is considered good by the population should be viewed negatively.
Case Study (1); Hipsters: - I absolutely love the band Muse, and at one time professed my love in front of my hipster friend saying, "Dude, I LOVE Muse." His usually bright expression condescended and replied, "Phhh. Everybody likes Muse. Have you ever heard that super ironic, experimental group from Sweden that records all their stuff on vinyl?"
That being said, a music elitist can also run the other way, subscribing only to those songs that are extremely popular. They only listen to Top40. They're musical tastes are also determined by public opinion, but instead whatever is considered good by the population should be viewed positively. We'll call this group "ignorant/stupid people".
Ok then, here's what I don't understand; is how a musical preference, or musical taste - ahh, see how I'm bringing food back into this - can be dictated by factors other than honest personal reactions. Some people don't like music because it "just doesn't do it for them." Fair enough. The same thing can be said about certain types of food. As vague as this expression is, it is a completely honest and acceptable response when describing musical preferences, food preferences, or any other personal preference for that matter . What is unacceptable is people who don't like certain music because that music is commonly liked. AKA, because it is "hip" to like them.
Music is simple, just like food; either you like it or you don't. We should stop letting our external influences govern an experience which should be entirely subjective and unabashed. I'll admit right now, Selena Gomez's " Love you like a love song" is the bomb-diggity. I also love poutine.
Posted on December 8, 2011
Music is dying, but don't blame Justin Bieber
Nowadays, and especially living in the West, I am 98% certain that 97% of you have at least HEARD of Justin Bieber. Yes, that suave, nubile little boy who inspired a whole generation of 15 year old males to cut their hair like football helmets. Who inspired legions of 15 year old girls to cry hysterically like Beatles fans when belting his No.1 pop smash hit, "Baby". Even my near-centurian Granpa knew of the Biebster.
This little (now 17) idol sells out stadiums, has his own cologne line, and *allegedly* impregnates his star-struck female fans backstage - regarding this last point, the truth will be told on Maury Povich one day, and Justin will be met will a chorus of "Oh no you didnt's!!" from large, black female audience members following Maury's characteristic "you ARE the father!" #Mindlesscheckstanddrivel
I'm 26, so to be honest I haven't heard much of JB's music (mostly geared towered budding females from 7-22ish) save for "Baby", and a few tracks off his brand new christmas album. Im sure (and I pray to the lord saviour) that this is normal for most people my age. But it is a fascinating teenage phenomenon that as "rational adults" we can step back and observe what's really happening: music is dying in front of us, but don't blame Justin Bieber.
And don't blame Nickelback, or Ke$ha or any of that otherwise considered "merde" you might find on top 40 radio. There are some people out there who actually despise, even hate these people. Just a quick glance at the YouTube comments for any Justin Bieber video will help give you an idea of what I'm talking about. To use a current example illustrating the publics' opinion on these bands, in 2011 there was a petition against Nickelback performing at a Detroit Lions game. The petition was signed by 55,000 people. They still played.
Wasn't there an idyllic time back in the 60s and 70s, where the grasses were green and you'd turn on pop radio only to be ear-fucked by the likes of Jimi, Janice, Zep, and Floyd? It might be a little before my time, but I still like to believe that at some point in our history everyone, including the kids, listened to real music.
Enough banter. Heres my point: Justin, Chad Kroeger, Ke$ha etc ad infinitum have found a way to make money using music as the vehicle. Don't hate. They've found an audience, a tried and true formula that works and are able to produce hit after hit, reaping the benefits from your iTunes purchases, and royalty cheques from your radio dials. Good for them. These are smart business people, and after all, the music business is called a "business" for a reason.
If they are making money and popular it's all because of us. We, the public, are the ones buying the albums. Because the state of our society. Because we're so numb we are willing to accept any auto-tuned shit that's shoved down our throats, these organizations that call themselves "music" can thrive. Pop culture is dependent on the CULTURE, that includes you, me, your neighbour, and your boss.
Justin Bieber is as big as he is because WE, the people, like him. Instead of blaming the artists, maybe we should start re-examining our own values as a culture.
Enough from me. What do you think? Does the music industry merely provide the culture with what the culture wants, or does the music industry TELL the culture what it wants? It's a chicken or the egg question. Who influences who? Hit me up on Facebook or Twitter and voice your opinion.