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The W - Music - My Beef With Pop "Music"
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Freeway
Scrapple








Since: 3.1.02
From: Calgary

Since last post: 335 days
Last activity: 23 days
#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.96
My Beef With Pop "Music": An Opinion Piece

I was watching the MTV Video Music Awards on MuchMusic tonight and Christina Aguilera was "performing". I use the quotations merely because she didn't really seem to be doing anything. She was barely singing. She had a microphone, but she never really used it. All she did was dance, then occationally say a word or two into the mike, then dance a bit more. I came to a realization.

Pop music isn't really music.

Dictionary.com defines "music" as:
1. The art of arranging sounds in time so as to produce a continuous, unified, and evocative composition, as through melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre.
2. Vocal or instrumental sounds possessing a degree of melody, harmony, or rhythm.
3a. A musical composition.
3b. The written or printed score for such a composition.
3c. Such scores considered as a group: We keep our music in a stack near the piano.
4. A musical accompaniment.
5.A particular category or kind of music.
6. An aesthetically pleasing or harmonious sound or combination of sounds: the music of the wind in the pines.


The emphasis in modern popular music has been, basically, rock music. Instruments and voices. It takes a great deal of skill to sing well (or to play an instrument well), so when you go to see...say...Finger Eleven live, you're expecting a good show. So, if the lead singer just sang every third or fourth word...you'd be pissed. I know I would. When you pay cash money to see live music, you expect to see a singer and a band playing and singing for the duration of the performance. Not half. Not most of it. All of it. With pop music, you get a few words and a bunch of pointless gyrations.

Call it silly. Call it petty. Or just call it a difference of taste. All I know is that until somebody tells me that a sythesizer is an instrument that takes years of practice to master, pop music ain't music.



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Toulouse








Since: 20.1.02
From: Quebec City, CAN

Since last post: 82 days
Last activity: 23 hours
#2 Posted on
I couldn't agree more. Normally I cut Christina some slack because she actually writes some of her stuff; but when you got to someone like Celine Dion, who can't write a song to save her life, now we're into the non-music category.

In my opinion, for the person to qualify as an "artist", there has to be SOME aspec of the art that comes from the person itself; be it a lyric, guitar riff, drum solo, etc.



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Bockwurst








Since: 17.3.02
From: Queidersbach

Since last post: 13 days
Last activity: 10 hours
#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.00
    Originally posted by Freeway420
    My Beef With Pop "Music": An Opinion Piece

    I was watching the MTV Video Music Awards on MuchMusic tonight and Christina Aguilera was "performing". I use the quotations merely because she didn't really seem to be doing anything. She was barely singing. She had a microphone, but she never really used it. All she did was dance, then occationally say a word or two into the mike, then dance a bit more. I came to a realization.

    Pop music isn't really music.

    Dictionary.com defines "music" as:
    1. The art of arranging sounds in time so as to produce a continuous, unified, and evocative composition, as through melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre.
    2. Vocal or instrumental sounds possessing a degree of melody, harmony, or rhythm.
    3a. A musical composition.
    3b. The written or printed score for such a composition.
    3c. Such scores considered as a group: We keep our music in a stack near the piano.
    4. A musical accompaniment.
    5.A particular category or kind of music.
    6. An aesthetically pleasing or harmonious sound or combination of sounds: the music of the wind in the pines.


    The emphasis in modern popular music has been, basically, rock music. Instruments and voices. It takes a great deal of skill to sing well (or to play an instrument well), so when you go to see...say...Finger Eleven live, you're expecting a good show. So, if the lead singer just sang every third or fourth word...you'd be pissed. I know I would. When you pay cash money to see live music, you expect to see a singer and a band playing and singing for the duration of the performance. Not half. Not most of it. All of it. With pop music, you get a few words and a bunch of pointless gyrations.

    Call it silly. Call it petty. Or just call it a difference of taste. All I know is that until somebody tells me that a sythesizer is an instrument that takes years of practice to master, pop music ain't music.

The inherent problem with your argument comes from definition number 2. It implicitly says that "vocal or instrumental sounds posessing a degree of melody, harmony, or rhythm" is music. What you're saying is that in a live performance, Aguilera and other Pop musicians, for the most part, do nothing but dance. But this definition does not hinge on a live performance. It is in fact her voice on the cd and blasting through the speakers. She went into the studio and recorded the material. With the exception of Milli Vanilli, I cannot remember another major Pop artist attempting to pawn someone else's music off as their own without giving credit to the original composer/singer/performer.
Your last statement of "All I know is that until somebody tells me that a sythesizer is an instrument that takes years of practice to master, pop music ain't music." shoots the whole idea of putting the "definition" of music in your post to shit. Nowhere in that definition does it say that talent/ability is necessary when defining something as musical. As far as the dancing goes, it is a part of the act in Pop music. It's where the main appeal lies. The artist has to put on a show for the paying audience with dancing, lights, and so forth because if they didn't, their "professional" performance might resemble that of a very good high school recital day. Part of being a showman (or woman) is playing to the crowd. People love a showman. Michael Jordan, Reggie Jackson, The Rock, Michael Jackson, and so on. This has to be amplified in a Pop setting because the performer is the only person getting attention from the audience. He/she cannot defer to the quirky lead guitarist to take some of the attention away.

(edited by Kidbrooklyn on 2.9.03 0703)


"Behind that twinkle in your eye, I can see the bitch in you."
- 50
Toast Jr
Goetta








Since: 30.1.03
From: Stafford Springs, CT

Since last post: 1 day
Last activity: 2 hours
#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.00
    Originally posted by Freeway420
    All I know is that until somebody tells me that a sythesizer is an instrument that takes years of practice to master, pop music ain't music.


I dislike pop music as much as the next guy, but don't bame it on the synthesizer, which takes as much practice and skill as any other instrument to play well. Otherwise, I'm going to have to send Gary Numan over to kick your ass.
James F'n X
Bockwurst








Since: 2.1.02
From: Seattle, WA

Since last post: 3116 days
Last activity: 3083 days
AIM:  
#5 Posted on
Somewhere up there, Freeway420 mumbled...

    Originally posted by Freeway420
    Call it silly. Call it petty. Or just call it a difference of taste. All I know is that until somebody tells me that a sythesizer is an instrument that takes years of practice to master, pop music ain't music.


C'mon now, sir. Didn't we spend the entire decade of the 80s proving that the synth WAS an instrument that can sound really good with a lot of practice, and really bad when composition is thrown together hurriedly, just like any other instrument? I play guitar terribly bad, that doesn't make the guitar any less of an instrument. Perhaps your issue should be more with the producers that put bad composition to press.




"Is this just your 40 favorites or is there some other criteria involved here? I feel like I'm looking at a list of the 40 best Uruguayan light-heavyweights compiled by the DVDVR boys." - JayJayDean to Feely
FurryHippie
Frankfurter








Since: 29.10.02
From: New York

Since last post: 3010 days
Last activity: 1698 days
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#6 Posted on
I understand the points you're trying to make, but I think you're confusing the definition of "music". It may not be your cup of tea and you would rather listen to something with a raw, pure sound like a rock band, but that doesn't mean pop music isn't music. It is a different type of music, but if it wasn't still music, then people wouldn't buy CD's of it and listen to it.

I will agree with you, I don't like it either. But just because I'd rather listen to a guitar solo than a DJ scratching some old records, doesn't make it any less of music. Music meaning it's something enjoyable to listen to that makes an enjoyable sound for people. But taking it in a different direction....

Now when we start talking about the creating of music, that's a whole different argument aside from "is it REAL music"? I personally refuse to call somebody an artist if they don't write at least some of their own music. If somebody's just a singer, then they're just singing other people's words. There's no art in that. Skill, yes. I respect that. But no art.

Basically, it goes like this for me -
Creation = Artist

If you're just having people choreograph your moves, or write your songs, and you're just performing them, you're a performer, but not an artist.

In the end, though, it's all music. So no matter who makes it up, don't feel ashamed to enjoy what sounds good to the ear.
tarnish
Frankfurter








Since: 13.2.02
From: Back in the Heart of Hali

Since last post: 531 days
Last activity: 2 days
AIM:  
Y!:
#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.03
mmmmPhilosophy of Artmmmm

I can't agree that pop music is not "art" simply because it might be bubblegum. Figure that a lot of classical music was derided in its time because it wasn't consistent with what came before. Witness Gershwin's attempts to legitimize Jazz/Blues/"Black Music" with An American in Paris, Rhapsody in Blue, and Porgy and Bess (among others, obviously). People could argue that nothing Christina Aguilera has done will be hummed or listened to by anyone in 50 years, but that remains to be seen, doesn't it? I agree she's not much of an artist, but she's one nonetheless.

I also can't abide the idea that the art is in the "creation" of the music rather than the "performance." If that's the case, Frank Sinatra (who didn't write many songs at all, let alone the ones you remember him for) was not an artist. Neither was Al Jolson. Michael Jackson wasn't an artist until he started writing his own tunes? But all along, since his first album, Yngwie Malmsteen was an artist?

In the case of music, ask yourself the question, "Where is Beethoven's 9th Symphony?" (I use Beethoven's 9th Symphony because no one is likely to disagree that it's art).

If it's in the mind of Beethoven, then it really was lost when he died. But most people who've heard it would tell you it didn't die.

If it's on any piece of paper it's printed on, does that really connect to what one thinks of when one thinks of "Beethoven's 9th Symphony?" Or do you have to hear it?

If you have to hear it, which "version" is IT? The first time it was played? The first time it was played for an audience? The first time it was played according to the wishes of Beethoven himself? The first time it was played with no mistakes?

The same argument follows for more modern pieces. The creation was art, no question. But the interpretation is also art. And just like there is "high art" in musical creation like Pachebel's Canon and "low art" like the jingle in your least favorite commercial, there's "high art" in musical performance (think Sinatra's My Way) and "low art" (think just about every performance on American Idol).



/tarnish...

It is what it is.
You are what you it.
There are no mistakes.
--Tom Robbins
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Well, that's unexpected and cool. Looking at the track list of the CD, it might be worth it to have all those tunes together on one disc (plus the two new ones), as opposed to just plunking in the original CDs.
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