Friday, January 6, 2012

12 Extremely Disappointing Facts About Popular Music

This might make me pretty un-hip but I am just going to go ahead and say it: I don't care that Celine Dion's album “Falling Into You” sold more copies than any Queen, Nirvana, or Bruce Springsteen record.

You all know how much I love Nirvana and I am certainly no h
uge Celine Dion fan. However, I think that what we consider to be "good" music is subjective and unstable. It changes from person to person, from decade to decade. It is very difficult to compile any sort of comprehensive list of definitively "good" artists.

In my thesis I talked a lot about what it means to be authentic in popular music. When we look at what is considered to be good music, we often see the word authentic thrown around to describe artists that are "cool" as opposed to artists that are tragically uncool and in-authentic.

What I noticed about this particular list (and rock/grunge/punk music in general) is that women are the inherently uncool, inauthentic, un-hip. On this Buzzfeed list there is not one single female artist on the positive side. AND quite a few artists on the negative side are either women or they are artists that are predominantly enjoyed by women, especially young women.

As always, I maintain, the arbiters of music taste are sexist.


Aaron Boyden said...

Agreed. At the risk of Godwinizing with the first comment, there's a reason the concept of authenticity plays such a central role in Heidegger's philosophy; authenticity is the ally of authority and tradition and privilege.

Kathy said...

That's disappointing, but ultimately, not shocking. It's no great secret whose music is considered art, and whose is considered commerce.

A few years ago Paste compiled a list of the greatest living songwriters (what's more authentic and genuine than a songwriter?) according to their critics, but also a separate list for the readers' favorites. The readers' list had quite a bit more variety than the critics' which stuck primarily to the "white guy plus acoustic guitar" formula.

Cortney said...

That is interesting Kathy. I'd love to see the lists!