With the popularity of blogs, there are many
personal declarations on the Internet these days. I came across the site of a girl who professed a love of music. As the page loaded, music streamed forth; the juvenile shrilling of a pop starlet conceived and produced by committee at the Disney corporation assaulted my ears. My fingers couldn’t move fast enough to close the page. I don’t understand how anyone makes a statement like, “I love music,” and listens to crap. That’s like someone saying he loves to eat, but frequently stuffing his face with fast food. If you love to eat, you want to enjoy your food as completely as possible. This requires you to know what you’re eating. How does a person recognize the substance of the same old pedestrian pop/rap/rock/country act with the same old trite lyrics over formulaic music? After having my ears drubbed by the monotony of mainstream music, I can’t discern the inspiration or the love in it. I’d rather not digest anything so unwholesome.
If you really love to eat, you want to enjoy food on several different levels. You want to enjoy the way it looks, smells, tastes, and even its mouthfeel. I believe that a true music lover feels the same way about music. I want to enjoy the lyrics, vocals, and music in every song. Of course, not all songs have lyrics and vocals, but you know what I mean. Sometimes the lyrics and vocals create a mood in the song that are greater than its technicalities. Not every musician has to be Dizzie Gillespie, but there must be something compelling in the work to make it worth listening to. It’s analogous to eating for nourishment. If a food doesn’t sate your hunger and foster your health, then why eat it? However, I’m not talking about the essential character of food; I’m talking about it’s capacity to give pleasure. I’m talking about people who deeply appreciate the pleasures of food. There’s so much more to celebrate when the food on your plate is delicious, wholesome, and creative. It can be subtle and light or rich and heavy. It’s the same with music.
I can’t, at this moment, make an argument for the essential nature of music even though I think we need it as much as birds or crickets. But while music is barred from the category, “utilitarian,” let’s embrace it’s transcendent nature. It’s more than necessary or pleasurable or communicative. Music holds so much possibility, we should expect more from it than what we hear on the radio and we should be willing to work for it at times. I think a significant number of people are searching for more from music which is why the spector of declining record sales hovers about the music industry, but then again Disney’s quarterly earnings are looking quite good.
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