In our next episode we discuss bad/mediocre music, and I raise a defense of the mediocre musicians of the world. In this post I want to more thoroughly expand my thoughts on the topic.
- Much of the music praised by critics in its day is now forgotten, yet mediocre musicians live on in infamy. Somebody will still be singing a John Denver song. long after today’s band d’jour has been forgotten.
- Even the worst popular musician is probably a better singer than you are. Despite how much you think that Nickelback’s Rockstar sucks, the lead singer of Nickelback can probably carry a tune better than you can. What does that say about you?
- Everything is derivative of something. Watch “Everything Is A Remix.” Before slamming a musician you despise about being too derivative of another band, consider that nothing is truly original. Elvis was remixing African American musicians of his day, Johnny Cash was singing Jimmie Rodgers, and the Beatles repackaged Chuck Berry and Buck Owens. Some do it better than others, but being derivative of someone else’s work is a common thread across all types of music.
- The internet, social media, and review sites such as Amazon have turned everybody into a music critic. This means that snobbery and elitism are not just for the wealthy anymore. You can be a broke college student and feel like you are better than the “commoners” that like Garth Brooks music.
- Much of the music that is despised by wanna-be music critics is successful because it appeals to populations not in the target demographic of the music industry. Popular music is designed to focus on what is new and young. Many musicians considered lame now used to be in that category (looking at you Neil Diamond, Kenny Rogers, and Lionel Richie).If you travel to areas like the midwest or rural Alabama, you will find billboards for concerts for bands that you thought stopped performing years ago. If you live in a town that nobody includes in the sentence “I want to go to ___________ for vacation,” you most likely cannot relate to what is considered cool music these days. A musician that plays a song to which you can sing along is in context a better musician than what some music snob says is good.
This is not to say that I’m a fan of the musicians named in the post, or that some music is not definitively better than others. But if your musical tastes makes you look down on others who may not share the same taste as you, then it is a bad thing.