Monday, October 19, 2009

On Repeat: Unoriginal Musical Musings Volume 2

Quote: "I used to like Radiohead but now they just push buttons."

Usual Suspect: 30-something, hasn't bought a new album since 1998.

A tired blanket statement that, even if given the benefit of the doubt, applies to maybe one out of seven Radiohead songs and perhaps less. Like the band or not, it's a statement that screams 'lazy listener.' Newsflash: Every band, in some capacity, pushes buttons. To be fair, Radiohead embraces studio technology more than most, but the notion that the group arbitrarily spins every knob within reach is silly. And besides Kid A and about half of Amnesiac, (total of two records let's say,) most of Radiohead's music is no more synthetic than your average band. Yes, enough to turn off the casual listener. And, unfairly, enough to draw undue criticism.

Quote: "I can't get past his [or her] voice."

Usual Suspect:
Anyone and everyone.

This one holds more water than most. I don't think it's necessarily an invalid comment. It really depends how you break it down. The listener might take issue with timbre, inflection, lack of range, etc. For instance, in the realm of pop music there is an emphasis on almost comical exaggeration. Today's "What would yuh-oo duh-oo" country singers, or the "BAYBAY!" pop singers are unabashedly consumed with stressing each syllable to the breaking point. But that's more of a genre problem. All too often, this phrase is a go-to for folks who want to quickly write-off an individual artist. To go deep on the spectrum, Tom Waits is virtually unlistenable if the voice thing was (always) a valid excuse. But he's also a shining example of why it isn't how pretty you sound; it's how you sing it. I would suggest that we all check ourselves when using the voice excuse.

Quote: "Srsly, I have the most random iPod ever!"

Usual Suspect: Type of people who incorrectly consider themselves quirky because they do things everyone else does (i.e. singing in the car, being able to quote Saved By The Bell, and yes, having random songs on their iPod)

Another one from the Overheard at Work file. Some folks are so bewildered by the the staggering variety of music that, against all calculable logic, wound up on their iPod. Surely they're not drawing attention to the songs that they dragged onto there. "Wow, En Vogue followed by Sugarland? That's my iPod for ya. Wait, no way...Kajagoogoo just came on. Remember them? They're on my iPod too." This one sort of parallels the Pandora situation, because your faux-shock or pride is the result of a situation that you architected in some way, and is little more than an praise-seeking mechanism. And really, if you think your music collection is venerable to the point of sharing, it probably isn't. And yes, I recognize the inherint irony in that last statement, considering I write a music blog...


Adam J. said...

the hifi pic is very fitting. and yes, the irony is abound. i'm not certain where the elitism is strongest here. nevertheless, i like this series.

George said...

The elitism is strong with this one.... so true :)

Thanks for reading dude.