I'd thank Marc for saying everything I wanted to better than I would have, but he's talking about formal academic musicology type stuff, and that's...not wrong
, but not really what I was getting at. You don't have to go to college for music to understand this - Lord knows I didn't. I'm sure you do get it solidly hammered into your brain there, but there's no formal education required just to be aware
of the universal aspects of good music. You just have to be willing to develop and use the capacity for critical thinking that God gave you, expose yourself to a variety of subjects, and not write things off as not worth thinking about because "it's not meant
for you to think about!" This s**t really is that basic.
silikon wrote:Since you've been stating this repeatedly, I'd be interested to know exactly what those standards are comprised of, if you would. (if you stated them in detail and I failed to find, then my apologies.)
I did basically state what I was talking about earlier, but I might as well make it good and clear here. My issues with "#selfie" - aside from the generally abhorrent nature of Millennial narcissism - are as follows:
- It's no good at progression. A song needs to change over time, not just do the same thing over and over like a broken record. "#selfie" is basically a modestly okay intro badly stapled to one pattern that repeats for like four minutes. There are some extremely token efforts made to change things up, but none of them actually work - if I weren't deliberately and carefully listening for the changes, you could honestly play any four bars of this thing and I would have no idea where it fit.
- It's no good at pacing. This is closely related to the above. "#selfie" is a world-class one-trick pony where pacing is concerned - the only thing that the songwriters know how to do (or, at least, the only thing they did) was the frenetic-buildup-followed-by-dropout "eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-EH-EH-DOOOOoooooooommm!!!" thing. There's nothing inherently wrong with that, and it's an EDM staple - but that can't be the only thing a song does, and "#selfie" flogs it like a red-headed stepchild. It's like "Seasons in the Sun" where the only thing they knew how to do was shift to a higher key, so they just kept doing that from get-go to get-gone. Moreover, it doesn't even accomplish anything by it - the buildups don't build up to anything, it just drops right back to the same damn thing. Even Homestar Runner's deliberately reductive techno parody at least knew to use that for something.
- It's no good at catchiness. I initially phrased this as being about not having a melody, but that was a mistake on my part. It doesn't have to be the melody that catches the listener's ear in a song - it can be the bassline, or the drums, or pretty much anything - but it has to be something. A good song grabs you by the ear with something and makes you want to stick around to hear more of it. There isn't anything like that in "#selfie" at all. The bassline's generic, the drums are generic, the progression is generic. The closest thing to catching and holding the listener's interest in there is that quasi-Eastern bandpass thing that I think is what the OP was asking about, and that only approaches catchiness because it spends the entire song sounding like it's maybe about to start actually going somewhere - but it never does.
That's basically it - and seriously, that s**t is basic
with a capital "How the h**l do you even get familiar with even one genre of music without gaining some kind of understanding of this." That's so basic you don't even have to have technical terms to explain it so I didn't bother trying to remember what they were.
Frankly, having standards (in this specific instance, don't wad ye knickers about the rest of life) speaks to me like it's a nice way of saying that something is below you, or perhaps you're unwilling to even invest the mental capital to give it a go. 'Art' stagnates and we're all reduced to listening to Milli-Vanilli remixes for eternity.
Unwilling to give it a go? I've listened to this thing multiple times over and tainted my YouTube suggestions simply for the sake of being fair about it. And all I have to show for it is a set of more carefully-articulated opinions on exactly why
it's s**t. If I'm coming off as thinking it's below me, that's because it's, you know, not very good
, not because I didn't give it a chance to be.
And I think art is in a lot more danger of stagnation when we start giving c**p a free pass because "you're not supposed to think
Vxster wrote:Your idea of universal standards. I think the thing is, I am not sure you are capable of recognising quality work in genres if you are not familiar with them. Do you unilaterally condemn all of musique concrete to be terrible because it fails to exhibit your standards of what constitutes good songwriting? And by extension, any other minimalist genres?
is actually a perfect example of what I'm talking about when I say that you can recognize the universal fundamentals anywhere, because they are basically the only thing that musique concrete
has in common with more traditional music at all. I'm only even familiar with it through experiments by otherwise more normal bands, but even with that I can find elements of (to use the lazy terms I used up there) good progression, pacing, and catchiness in, say, "Revolution 9" or the intro to "Larks' Tongues in Aspic." h**l, the brilliance of the progression is basically the primary reason I wouldn't drop "Revolution 9" from my copy of the White Album entirely - the chaos at the end is such a perfect lead-in to "Good Night" that I just can't imagine it any other way.
synthroom wrote:Since when do the rules of academia rule pop music?
I don't know about academia, but seriously, man? The fundamentals of good songwriting are the entire underlying framework that allows pop to exist
. That's like asking why a bird should be subject to the laws of aerodynamics - they're the very thing that allow it to fly in the first place. You wanna talk pop, let's talk Paul "Earthly Avatar of Pop" McCartney - even his shittiest output is catchy precisely because
his grasp of the fundamentals is so incredible. His grasp of progression is such that he can take random scraps of things from the cutting-room floor and assemble them into little mini-suites with transitions that are simultaneously so weird that you can't believe you just heard them and so natural that you can't even begin to imagine them any other way, and his skill at crafting instantly brain-infectingly catchy melodies is basically unmatched. That grasp of the universal, underlying fundamentals is why
people are still talking about the Beatles forty-five years after the last time they recorded an album.