Cut the strings 2

Right, so my post Cut The Strings created quite the debate last week, and I have been getting a lot of different reactions on it (and been called both a hypocrite and a “music snob”), so I think a follow-up post is in its place. I may not have expressed myself as clearly as I wanted in #1. I think most of the misunderstandings have been cleared up in the comments, but since that whole discussion went on in Norwegian, and because this topic is something I care a great deal about (and never get tired of talking about), I will do a proper follow-up here. First of all, thank you to those who left comments. I love a good discussion, and besides, I would hate for people to walk around thinking that I’m a music snob and not saying it to my face. Keep leaving those comments, and if you think my blog is interesting/funny/cute/entertaining, why don’t you subscribe to it? Just put your e-mail address in the box on the top right of the page. Just remember to confirm once you get the e-mail, or it won’t work. 🙂

Up there, see?

The first thing I would like to clear up, is that it is not pop music I’m having a go at. My problem, if you can call it that, is with pop culture, and the popular music industry. There is a difference there. I am a pop musician. Obviously, I have nothing against the genre of pop, whatever that is (defining pop as a genre is very difficult, as it is so often confused with the term “popular music”, which is used for everything that is popular, be it rock, R&B or dance music). I am very, very open-minded when it comes to music, and I always have been. I can listen to almost everything, and I have my favorites in everything from folk to jazz, Hip Hop to hard rock. I love Jason Mraz. I adore Lykke Li. I think The Killers rock, and I shake my ass to Beyoncé. Any kind of music can capture me, with a catchy melody, an interesting voice, tasty chords or exciting lyrics. However, though I listen to most genres, I think all genres have good music and bad music. And yes, good and bad are definitely subjective terms – good music for me can be shite for you, and vice versa. So let me give you, for further reference, MY definitions of the terms good music and bad music.

Good music for me is music that has a soul. Music that someone has made out of the love for creating music, in the genre that is close to their heart. Songs that had a home in someone’s heart before they were even sung for the first time, and have a permanent address in the hearts of many. Songs that are someone’s true expression, and reflect the creators personality, feelings and thoughts.

Bad music, for me, is music without a soul. Music that someone has made out of the love for money, in whichever genre is popular that year (since when does Britney do dubstep??). Musical prostitution, like Eileen so rightly called it. Songs that are created on a conveyor belt, and take home in your head, despite countless notices of eviction. Songs that mean nothing, say nothing, or if they do, they are full of shit. Songs that are carried by the names of the artist singing them, and not the actual song. Songs that are created for us to naively and blindly sing along, shake our booties and close our ears for the message, or rather, the lack thereof. Songs that pump our heads full of repetitive nonsense, about money, the smell of sex, cars, jewelry and brushing your teeth with Whisky. Like I said in my post about songwriting a few weeks ago (Can you learn/teach songwriting…?);

Writing for value often takes the values away…

Now, I am aware that people consume music in different ways. Music plays different roles in different people’s lives. As for me, music plays a way bigger role in my life now than before, and I am more aware and more critical than I used to be. That’s just a natural part of growing “older and wiser”. Music can be so many things though. To some, it is just background noise, or share entertainment. To others, it is something you dive into, analyze and enjoy on a deeper level, and to some it doesn’t really play a role at all. That last one is hard for me to understand, and I wouldn’t believe it was even possible if I hadn’t, when I asked a friend a while back what music she listened to, gotten the answer; “Nah, I don’t really listen to music.” I was shocked. The point is, I get that to some, a “fat beat” is more important than lyrics. I get that. And fair enough. We are all different. Music can spread joy in so many different ways, and that is nothing less than fantastic. I am just a bit frustrated over how much CRAP people can get away with just because they are famous and popular already (and how much amazing music people are missing because they are too lazy to hunt down anything other than what they are being fed). I feel that as human beings, we have a responsibility to be aware at least, and yes, a bit critical, of what we are actually singing along to. Which values and attitudes we are supporting by the records we buy.

I’m not advocating that “Mainstream is bad”. I don’t boycott mainstream music, I do like a lot of music that is mainstream. I don’t refuse to listen to music because it’s popular – but I do refuse to listen to music just because it’s popular.

If that makes me a music snob – then so be it…

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Merete
    Mar 30, 2011 @ 11:41:43

    Enig, enig og enig!
    Du HAR blitt voksen, du!;)

    Reply

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