A while back, I was talking to a girl who loves Dream Theater(!). She said Scenes from a Memory is her favorite DT album. I happen to dislike it a lot, and my reason for it is that significant parts of it (and of DT's catalog in general) are blatant ripoffs of other bands; in this case, it was Pink Floyd. She said something that I dismissed at the time, but I've been thinking about since: "Well, I don't care who it's stolen from or whatever, because it speaks to me on an emotional level, and it works." While this girl is a musician (and headed to Berklee, in fact), such sentiments are far more common among nonmusicians than musicians. Rick's recent thread trashing the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the recent trend of bass-less bands brought this back to the front of my mind. Sometimes it seems that too many musicians--and I am no exception to this--get hung up on the mechanics of music-making. I remember, from my days on guitar.com, all the 40-something burned-out shredders ranting about how awful nu-metal is because the guitar parts are so simple, and holding up hair metal as The Greatest Music Ever because it required high technical skill (on guitar, anyway) to play. I used to be one of those people who wouldn't listen to any record that had synthesizers on it. Similarly, some of the more idiotic complaints I've heard about hip-hop have been in the "but they're not playing an instrument!" department. I think this mindset is kinda sad. Instead of focusing on the emotional content of the music--which is why we make it and listen to it in the first place--we obsess over this player's tone, that player's technique, this band's lineup, that band's mixing. We can't see the forest for the trees, essentially. For us as bassists to have this mindset is especially sad, because our instrument is the "glue" instrument. (The bass-less bands are obviously trying to do something abrasive and angry, which is a valid decision for creating emotional reactions.) We, as bassists, need to be especially aware of everything that's going on in our musical situation--we can't just focus on any one instrument, because we have to respond and react to them all while continuing to provide propulsion and foundation. Thoughts?