Wednesday, 18 April 2012

You, or Your Song?

Here's a chicken-or-egg question: do you like (or dislike) the artist because you like (or dislike) the music or do you like (or dislike) the music because you like (or dislike) the artist?

For me, it's usually straight forward and driven by the music. For example, I love the Stones, who are not really very lovable, because I love their music.

Sometimes, though, it can be confusing. I love all Beatles music, but they were so charismatic and charming that taste and judgement were probably frequently suspended (I mean, is Martha My Dear really a good song, or is it just cool because Paul sings it?).

Sometimes it's tangled up in a tie. I can't stand Elton John's music and I also think he's a jerk (no that's not why).

Sometimes knowledge after the fact brings me to dislike an artist when I learn about behaviour that's not very nice - but I still like the music. ZZ Top and Led Zeppelin are good examples. Sometimes I ignore the information because it's incompatible with my love for the music and my adoration of the artist. Eric Clapton, for instance.

Sometimes it's just plain weird. I have never liked the Doobie Brothers, but I can't name a single song that I don't like. Nor do I know anything about them. So, huh?

Our culture is so caught up in hero worship, and the factories are very good at manufacturing idols and images, so it's interesting to think about just how much of our enjoyment of music is driven by taste as opposed to expectation.

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