Music Snobbery: The Last Form of Discrimination?

I came across a band’s blog post in which one of the core members blasted Nickelback for their song “Rock Star”.

In it, she seems to miss the irony in the song’s lyrics. Instead, she mourns over how “..Music used to be a tradition, a reason for communion, whether to be spiritually or culturally enriched, to celebrate and belong. And one day, when they invented the record, I guess, and music could me easily commodified and sold, something disappeared.”

She then asks, “..When did it all go to shit? When was a song as comical as ‘Rock Star’ meant to be taken seriously?” Answer: it hasn’t all gone to shit, nor was the song meant to be taken seriously.

Following her post, one person proudly shares a tale involving a young boy at his Christmas party.  Apparently the kid tried to play a Nickelback tune on a guitar until the host said “Guess you did not see the ‘NO NICKELBACK’ sign on the door when you came in”.

Charming.

Who knew that music snobbery could eclipse the meaning of Christmas? If a kid wants to play a corny Nickelback tune on the guitar, is it really that bad?

My question for the blogger is this: if “something disappeared.. when they invented the record.. and music could be easily commodified and sold”, then why should her band make another album? Aren’t they only adding to the problem of over-commodification by doing so?

Great band, but I wish they’d lighten up a bit. (And no, I’m not talking about Nickelback!)

Kutiman: The Next Generation of Music-making?

It’s been quite some time since I’ve written anything here. This is mostly because I’ve not been that effected by anything enough to write about it – until now.

Meet Ophir Kutiel, AKA: “Kutiman“. Essentially, he takes elements of people’s original YouTube videos and mashes them together into hauntingly beautiful compositions.

It not only took the guy less than two months to produce 7 songs for his compilation, but he makes it look so damned easy! Did I mention that he also does his own video editing???

If you haven’t heard any of this his stuff yet, check out his YouTube channel when you have time!

Published in: on March 14, 2009 at 1:00 am  Leave a Comment  

PLEASE – Just shut up and SING!

Even though I’ve visited this subject before, it keeps rearing its ugly head in one way or another. What else can I do but share?

There are some days when I miss the simplicity of the music world past. Before technology came and ‘changed’ everything forever. I’m not referring to the days before video officially killed the radio star. After all, video was initially meant to paint a picture to go along with the sound.

Yes, it is tragic that many artists who weren’t the best-looking failed to impress the first ‘Mtv Generation’. (Christopher Cross, anyone?) But that’s why community college exists: to offer hope to those who want a second chance in life.

Back in the flawed but brilliant 80s, most of what we knew about our favorite artists came from either teen magazines, music video programs, or word of mouth (ie: rumors). Today, it’s completely different.

Bands have their own websites/forums from where they can talk about anything and everything. These subjects have ranged from their favorite electoral candidate to their favorite cologne.

On the surface, it sounds like a great thing. But then there are those moments when you feel like it’s become more about the artist than the art. Sometimes I don’t care to know about your family or what you had for breakfast. I want to hear about your ART.

That’s the beauty of having more than one web page – one for your art and another for your mundanity.

PLEASE, just shut up and sing!

Even the Dixie Chicks got the point… eventually.

When you wish upon a star…

“MOOBY SAY RELAX!”

“The problem with being a star is that anyone CAN be, but not everyone SHOULD be…”

When we were teenagers, my friends and I would sit, listerning to our favorite bands for hours. Sometimes we’d watch their videos, imagining what it would be like to be in their shoes – singing songs we wrote while an enchanted world watched and listened. I would go to sleep, wishing for the day when the limitations of funds/technology and the barriers created by A&R folks would be a thing non-existent. In other words, a day when anybody could become a star.

“Be careful of what you wish for…”

This 21st century has ushered in the era of my wildest teen-aged dreams. But it’s also created a kind of nightmare that I’d never imagined could exist.

In an age of YouTube stars demanding that we “Leave Britney Alone!” while wiping away tears of mascara (along with any hint of self-respect), spectacle is king. Or queen, as in the case of certain fraudulent “LonelyGirl”. Girls have gone wild while boys proudly exhibit their inner jackass. Their logic asks, “Is it possible for me to get noticed AND taken seriously while pretending to be something I’m not?” People – mostly, but not limited to the young – don’t seem to care about being artists, per se. They want to become what they believe art is.

That is to say, they want to become something stared at, pondered upon, desired, loved or even hated. Art has become ‘the art of the con’. Whatever it takes to elevate these few to that point of apotheosis that they’ll never attain. At least, not in the way that they hope to. See, just like any other god, once one becomes one, they never really accept or realise that they have yet.

This is because it doesn’t feel anything like what they thought it would. Sometimes it’s more draining, other times it’s simply boring. But most of the time, one wants to have more. These are the times when our gods are found dead of an overdose. Or without underwear. The result? Hotel heiresses who are famous for nothing, and slickly-produced television that poses for ‘reality’. (Whatever THAT is anymore! When was the last time you felt ‘real’ in front of a video camera?)

Here’s the saddest part – no matter when this technology would’ve been created, the sad truth is that the results would’ve been exactly the same. With this in mind, I suppose there’s something to be said about having controls in place, limiting just who ends up becoming a star. There’s something kinda liberating about hiding some aspects of art. Who truly wants to know how the coolest magic tricks are done?

One thing that I’m definitely certain of is this: I’m glad that YouTube didn’t exist when I was a teen. God only knows how much of a jackass I would’ve willingly made of myself…

Published in: on October 11, 2007 at 9:22 am  Leave a Comment  
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