When does criticism count?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by hrodbert696, Mar 17, 2010.

  1. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member

    Ok, just sounding off here. I was watching this cable channel thing on viral videos the other night, and they include the video for OK Go's "Here It Goes Again." One of the commentators goes off saying it's an amazing creative video, which is a good thing for OK Go because they're such a lame band with uninteresting music.

    Now, I just came across OK Go a little while ago and I think they're pretty fun, I'm thinking of having my band cover a tune or two of theirs. Not superamazing artistes or anything, but a good fun pop band. As far as I know the commentator isn't a musician or anything herself.

    So my question is; how much do these kinds of comments and criticisms matter -- of your own band, of your selections for covers set lists, your listening preferences, whatever?

    While I'm at it, I'm reminded of an experiment I heard about on the radio a few weeks back. They set up several groups of people, and gave each person an account to download whatever music they wanted from a given site. People could communicate with the others in their own group but not in the other groups, and each group was demographically random (they weren't organized by age or ethnicity or anything). The music available was the same list for each group, all by bands that no one had ever heard of before.

    The outcome was that each group ended up with its own "top 40" of most popular downloads, with members mostly downloading a lot of the same things as each other -- but the top 40 lists were COMPLETELY different from group to group. In other words, it looks like the consensus of what was the "good" music and what wasn't had everything to do with shared opinions among group members and nothing to do with the music itself. Food for thought.

    So when people say one band is better than another, does it really count for anything?

    And while I'm on a rant, another interrelated comment; a local librarian's blog introduced me to Gogol Bordello, an "immigrant punk" act (I didn't know such a genre existed until this). What bugged me was that the blogger began by saying "I heard about Gogol Bordello on NPR, which I guess means they're pretty mainstream now." By what ***ing standard is this "mainstream" and why the *** does it matter? Sometimes I feel like people who know nothing about music and are incapable of forming an opinion of their own operate on the assumption that the fewer the people who have heard of a band, they better the band must be. By that standard, my guys jamming in the garage are ****ing GENIUSES!

    Sorry, just had to get that off my chest.
  2. Nigel Rahmshard

    Nigel Rahmshard

    Jan 3, 2004
    i think gogol bordello is actually "gypsy punk." Their singer has a wicekd awesome mustache and has doen some acting as well. They have a groovy sounds and have like a stage full of people when they play live. Good stuff.
  3. OhmMyGoodness


    Mar 2, 2010
    IMO, most people who are actually interested in listening to music want to be recognized for listening to a particular group or genre. It gives them credibility when discussing music with other music-lovers. Most of the people who love to research and discover new music detest popular "top 40" material because it's easily accessible and therefore requires less knowledge, or an ear for the music. Like it's served on a platter and requires no thought process. That leads those individuals to operate under the assumption that the fewer listeners the more in-tune their musical ear is to something new and cool, when if fact it's just an illusion. Since that group isn't "big" yet they can hop on the "band"wagon and ride that train to "i listened to them first"ville. If they only knew how satisfying it is to find something that fits your own specific tastes and expectations when you have to uncover it yourself.
    I don't know too many people, who I would consider mainstream listeners, that turn on NPR to catch the new top hit. But I guess people don't want to feel cheated when they hear a group that they thought was an underground hit, and they turn out to be a top-40 band. It's disheartening to hear a group you once enjoyed playing music that you cannot stand.
    My sisters and parents listen to Top 40. When I discuss with them why they enjoy music they usually respond with "it's got a catchy tune to it" or "I like the way her voice sounds". Usually mainstream listeners don't ask me a question about music that is worthwhile to answer. When I dive into a response explaining why I like the bass line and how it corresponds with the snare, or how one instrument carries the load of a songs melody, those people who asked me the question to begin with usually tune-out. Mainstream listeners just don't get that there is more to music than turning on the radio and adjusting the volume.
    IMO, I would say when you hear Gogol Bordello being described as "this great new punk act" by someone who has little or no actual interest in music, that's the point that they reached mainstream. Where there is little or no interest in discussing the piece or song in any depth other than whether you like it or not and how many albums its selling.
  4. OhmMyGoodness


    Mar 2, 2010
    I've heard of Gogol Bordello, haven't listened to them yet. I will take a look at this "gypsy-punk" band. I gotta be honest, I can hear Borat speaking in my head when I hear the word "gypsy".
  5. PSPookie

    PSPookie Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2006
    Lubbock, TX
    I liek musics
  6. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member

    Gypsy punk, not immigrant punk. I stand corrected. He seems to sing about immigration a lot.

    I guess that thing that got me about the Gogol Bordello comment (which is the kind of thing I hear all the time) in combination with the music-download experiment is how little connection there really is between any intrinsic quality of the music and its recognition or popularity. A great creative band with excellent chops can hit it big and so can a bunch of mediocrities. Just venting that I'm sick of people talking about popularity, or the lack thereof, as though it were a gauge of quality.
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