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post #77 of (permalink) Old Aug 15th, 2012, 06:50 PM
country flag dybbuk
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 18,394
Re: Does contemporary popular/mainstream music mostly suck?

Originally Posted by moby View Post
I don't see how pop snobbery is different from general music snobbery. There is no contradiction because they both exist on different planes of taste. I know a lot of people who are fairly reasonably trained in classical music and surely have much better appreciation of that than I do but have horrible taste in pop music, preferring very mainstream unexciting stuff.

On the other hand, I also know people who live and die by Pitchfork, do not know any mainstream acts to even begin to make a comparison.

My understanding is that "taste" is not something that can be solely acquired by formal education. It's ultimately a cultural product. Exposure makes a difference; and by extension, social class makes a difference. One would like to think that there is also some measure of the inner aesthete thrown into that mix to bring legitimacy to the whole idea of taste.

Anyway, I would argue that pop snobbery is much more relevant than music snobbery these days by virtue of the very accessibility of pop.
I've went around and around with Apoleb (RIP) in here so I just can't be bothered to rehash all my arguments. Apoleb and I basically ended up with a semi-agreement and I think we basically agreed, just viewed it from different angles. I have nothing against pop music, and I listen to pop music far more than I listen to classical music. My argument was always just against pop snobbery that places artists like say Led Zeppelin or Joy Division at or near the pinnacle of music and innovation, and trashes "mainstream pop" as derivative and simple. When at the heart of it, the pop song format (which basically every single rock, pop, R&B, etc act uses) is at it's heart relatively simplistic compared to other forms of music. This is by no means a knock on it; I have nothing against it and enjoy the pop song form. But some people lack self-awareness to such an extent they can honestly take Joy Division and not realize their music is comparatively simple in form and substance.

As I said with Apoleb, of course you can think Kate Bush does the pop song far, far better than someone like Katy Perry, but you can do it without the snobbery of "Sigh, music reached it's pinnacle in the 60s/70s/80s/90s! Now everything is simple-minded trash!" as if all musical history led up to the pure, innovative genius of 70s punk or something.
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