Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Cooligencia

One problem with music, which is something that I've never really understood (Ha! I never understood music or the following problem) is how much of people's taste in music is based on what they think would be cool to be seen listening to.*
The fact is that nobody's come up with a new melody since the 1920's or so. And arguably all pop music is now actually more conservative than it was even 50 years ago because it's basically all tonal in 4/4 with the accent on the 2nd and 4th beat. The Hot 100 used to be filled with salsa and jazz. I find it difficult to really get too up-in-arms about pop music because after all, it is just pop music. It's all relatively conservative.
There's a difference in the way music can sound, of course. But that's created a culture inside the music-making industry of just making the guitars playing the same three damn chords they've been playing for a hundred years sound "louder" or "more" or "better" or whatever. And sometimes, in some variants of pop music, the kick drum must sound EXACTLY the same. But that's another matter.

The other odd thing though, which is the point of all this, is how much the opinions of other people matter to one's own taste in music. I tend to think that other people's opinions don't tend to affect me, but I suspect I'm an exception. Well, maybe I'm not such an exception because honestly once you're inside the music-making part of the industry you probably tend to listen to a wider variety of music with less prejudice. Or maybe not, I don't know.
What I do know is that "tastemakers" in the music industry (like, say, Pitchfork) are vastly more powerful than the equivalents are in, say, the movie industry. It's much more important to be "cool" in music than in other entertainment fields. So far the imprimatur of "cool" ain't been bestowed upon me. But that's maybe kept me from having a drug problem so far...
Click to embiggen.

In other news, Ethan told me to listen to this Richard Thompson "Put It There Pal" because the guitar seems to be going to a double-amp setup similar to how I've been recording. It sounds great. I was only familiar with his stuff from Fairport Convention. Ethan is cool. Ergo, Richard Thompson is cool.


*I actually knew someone once who would argue for or against different bands based on her opinion about the people she knew who listened to them.

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