Wednesday, October 1, 2008

amusing post, lively discussion, my inevitable, dull opinion

my load of bullshit:

"i have to admit, i didn’t take the time to read all the comments. i am at work, and i do have to pretend somewhat that i’m typing up something very important.

so if i’m repeating anything that’s been discussed, sorry.

i think the general analogy to genres as oil fields that can be sucked dry is really missing the point, or one of the bigger points of the value of music. certainly, some value in music is to intrigue us, a la progressive technique - but two elements of modern music make that totally unnecessary to make something good, or even great.

first: music has the power to move without being different than things we’ve heard before (at least generally different - not the same notes w/ the same rhythm) - the abstract emotional power of beethoven’s seventh may have had progressive clout when first performed, but it doesn’t to listeners nowadays - it’s just gutwrenchingly powerful. there are musical formulas that have been proven to ‘work’ in affecting people, and recycling them doesn’t make them any less valuable - it still takes great craft to pull it off, in most cases.

second: words. lyrics. i happen to be a fan of folk music, but i recognize that powerful or interesting lyrics are the only reason folk survives. dylan wasn’t musically interesting, but people still listened. it translates, although maybe not in such a focused fashion, to other more ‘rockish’ music. it’s part of why i feel like radiohead has plateaued (recently slowed down progressive sense + can’t understand a damn word he says = i get bored w/anything after kid a), and why i can listen to soul coughing records that groove and groove again in much the same way.

so progress-ivity doesn’t make something great, and a lack of it doesn’t limit greatness. that being said, i am someone who prescribes to the notion that art should be an ever-expanding field, and that’s made possible by experimenting with new sounds and combinations. since i also think that art is essentially our way of very slowly realizing the aesthetic value of everything (all-inclusive), i try not to snobify and throw out the ‘old’ music that doesn’t intrigue our curious ear. artistic movements are moods of a specific subset of culture that get projected onto larger groups by institutions of art.

popular ‘rock’ will die and be reborn every so often, but good music never goes away. it just gets harder to find. i suppose one has to drill deeper."

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