Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Shake Your Booty!

 A writer at PJMedia comes to the shocking conclusion that musical skill no longer matters in music...


Longtime conductor of the Chicago Symphony, Georg Solti, was once asked why he didn’t program more modern repertoire. Solti’s response was, I thought, illuminating: all of us reach a point in our lives where the music we already know is sufficient for us and forms the basis of what we cherish, and we lose the ability to truly appreciate anything (stylistically) newer. Solti said, for him, music stopped sometime around 1950. So, yes to Bartok, Hindemith, Prokofiev, and Shostakovich; no to Stockhausen, Lutoslawski, Carter, and Xenakis.

I notice the same sort of thing in pop/rock music. For me, music stopped sometime around 1980. So, yes to Gerry Rafferty, Dire Straits, Supertramp, Robert Palmer, and ZZTop; no to Madonna, Pat Benatar, the Culture Club, rap, crap, and hip-hop.

Once upon a time, a musician did not need to be charismatic to sell a good tune, but it helped. Elvis was king, but there was also Roy Orbison and Bobby Darin, neither man being a sexual god. Barbra, for crying out loud, was no beauty queen, though Barbra might disagree. What I’m seeing nowadays is the opposite situation: the music has become a mere vehicle for the charisma (such as it is). Britney Spears is not a musician or even a particularly talented singer, and the songs? If you’ve heard one, you’ve heard ‘em all. Britney Spears shakes her butt and the music helps with the packaging. That makes her a butt shaker, not a singer.

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