Apologies to JP Withers

(subtitled: Is JP vanity googling? Will he see this? We wait on the edge of our seats…)

My apologies to JP Withers: My musical tastes haven’t changed.

Fifteen years ago (give or take a year), he predicted that my taste in music would widen and expand. That I would no longer be tolerant of the metal, punk, or goth music I liked then. He was wrong. Sort of. It’s like blogs.

Nevermind that blogs didn’t exist fifteen years ago. I’ve found my tastes in blogs (with the marked exception of the eclectic boingboing) changing. It’s not that the blogs have changed, it’s that my ability to understand them has. Originally, I didn’t grasp much of economics beyond a basic primer’s level. Now, indepth analysis of Fed rates and commodity markets almost – almost! – makes sense. Simpler analysis simply doesn’t seem worth spending my time on.

My tastes in music have progressed similarly. While I’ve expanded – most notably allowing myself to like some bluegrass, ambient, new age and mashup – my main standbys are still metal, “light” goth, and pop-punk. Now, however, my tastes are more selective. Rather than just energy and intensity, I now also look for professionalism, quality, and just plain talent.

I still like the same styles of music as I did when I was younger. I just recognize now that most of it’s crap.

And a slightly associated thought…

I don’t mean that most *bands* are crap, or most *albums* are crap – I mean most of the *music* is crap. Disturbed, for example. IMHO, 10% great songs, 60% mediocre songs, and 30% crap. Some – no, most – bands are worse. Slipknot and Korn are great examples of that: one song an album that’s great, the rest suck derivative ass. In the past, albums meant something. I remember bands – say, David Lee Roth era Van Halen – that released damn near every song of 1984 as a single. And each song did rather well – as did the album. Now, it’s common for more than half of an album to be of far inferior quality than the highly promoted tracks.

Perhaps this was a profitable strategy for a brief period of time, but that era has been dead for a decade. I can – and am – exposed to music from all over the world. It is too easy to find good examples of any genre. Perhaps they aren’t *popular* artists, but that says nothing about the quality of thier work.

It does make it hard to discuss music, though. Imagine this scenario:

“Oh, hey, you’re listening to Slipknot? I’ve got all thier stuff! What did you think of the rest of that album?”

“Uh… it sucked. Pretty bad.”

“Oh. Right.”

Really happened. Or this scenario:

“That’s a pretty cool song. Who is that?”

“He’s Simon Slator. He’s an ambient artist out of the UK.”

“Where can I find his CDs? At the store?”

“Ummm…. No. Just at Jamendo. Online, y’know?”

In time, I’m sure such conversations will become more accepted and common, that we’ll develop the mechanisms to trade specific information and tracks. Or we already have, and I’m old enough to have missed it. 😉

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  1. Maura
    May 7, 2008

    the new NIN is decent– about 10% crap, 40% mediocre and 50% brilliant. But, when i use statistics, i make them up.

    too often blogs become cults of personality (ie Shakesville) and i think that border crossing makes me look elsewhere. BoingBoing may have striking personalities, but the output is worthwhile. And Cory is hot.

  2. May 7, 2008

    I, of course, will continue to keep it real, yo.

    Is the new one more like the Quake soundtrack? I’m not thrilled with the pop-ish sound of some of the last bits I’ve heard, and I actually respect Trent too much to BitTorrent his stuff. 😉

  3. Maura
    May 8, 2008

    It’s more like outtakes from With Teeth, which is fine with me. It’s not in my definition of pop.

    he has a Torrent option, but i chose straight download.

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