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Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza (October 2019)

Universal released a behind-the-scenes video on the making of Sam Mendes’ upcoming WWI drama 1917, which provides the first look at the way it was uniquely lensed to appear as one continuous take to create a real-time experience.

...

Filming largely on location in England, Mendes and cinematographer Roger Deakins created long takes with camera movement, choreographed to appear as one continuous take for an immersive, real-time experience. Respected director of photography Deakins — who won an Oscar for Blade Runner 2049 and was nominated an additional 13 times — previously worked with Mendes on Skyfall, Revolutionary Road and Jarhead.

Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: October 01, 2019 at 03:56 AM | 589 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: movies, music, off-topic, television, whatever else belongs under the rubric of 'popular culture'

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   201. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 07, 2019 at 11:47 PM (#5887762)
You don't really get to decide if they are or are not substantive ('I have lots of money' tracks might sound very different, even substantive, to someone in a different situation than your own)
Again, if you want to argue that the term "substantive" is so subjective that even these songs could be described as substantive, that's fine. But it renders the word meaningless, and I think it also says something about your biases/agenda.

I get that we are now in a cultural moment where it's not OK to be "judgy" about anything and yay relativism, and that "rockism" is a Bad Judgmental Thing. And in societal terms, the move away from judgmentalism has by and large been a good and necessary thing. But we've gone too far when we can't call lyrics like the following "nonsubstantive":

"Hopped up in my car (Swag!) then I drop my roof
Wet like wonton soup. That's just how I do (Swag!)
Then I park my car, then I #### your #####
Eat that wonton soup, wet like wonton soup"

As for "Bad and Boujee," here are the lyrics. If you can read a "performative critique" of the tropes of hip-hop into them, well, apparently Motley Crue was a performative critique of the tropes of dipsh*t rock.

EDIT: Or Kid Rock. Is Kid Rock a performative critique of a dipsh*t? No. He's just a dipsh*t.
   202. vortex of dissipation Posted: October 08, 2019 at 01:45 AM (#5887805)
The key to not having to worry about such things is to have the vast majority of your favorite music be delivered in a language that you don't speak. ;-)
   203. Dr. Vaux Posted: October 08, 2019 at 07:17 AM (#5887814)
The problem is that non judgmentalism only applies to certain things, as we all know.

(And also . . . if I'm an ####### for thinking that those quoted lyrics are at best rude and stupid, then I'll just have to reclaim the term ####### for myself and be proud of it.)
   204. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: October 08, 2019 at 08:09 AM (#5887820)
Again, if you want to argue that the term "substantive" is so subjective that even these songs could be described as substantive, that's fine.


What do you mean by substantive? You object to a vague meaning for it, so make it less vague. Explain it to me, other than as a totally subjective evaluation.

Thanks.
   205. Omineca Greg Posted: October 08, 2019 at 08:14 AM (#5887821)
Absolutely, Vortex.

The rest of the world outside the Anglosphere puts up with listening to lyrics in a language they don't understand. That happens to me all the time when travelling, "You speak English! Tell me what the line in this song means, what word is that?". Obviously these people speak English a little, but they love music and want to know more than their fluency allows.

More English speakers should try listening to songs in foreign languages. It teaches you a lot about music, and a lot about how language divides us, but at the same time helps to define us. It's a great time to be alive that way, with translations so easily available if that's important to you (and you might find it is not)...you can find yourself in a grey area between understanding and not. Tremendously enlightening.

Plus you get more music to listen to you, always a good thing.
   206. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 08, 2019 at 09:14 AM (#5887827)
The problem is that non judgmentalism only applies to certain things, as we all know.

(And also . . . if I'm an ####### for thinking that those quoted lyrics are at best rude and stupid, then I'll just have to reclaim the term ####### for myself and be proud of it.)


Yes the issue with most of these songs is not that they're non-substantive, of course they are but so is 99% of popular music in any genre. The issue is they're crude, and simply bad music.
   207. PreservedFish Posted: October 08, 2019 at 09:14 AM (#5887828)
Again, if you want to argue that the term "substantive" is so subjective that even these songs could be described as substantive, that's fine. But it renders the word meaningless, and I think it also says something about your biases/agenda.


My bias/agenda is to try and be open-minded about experiences that I don't immediately understand. Seriously, when I read the lyrics to "Wonton Soup" or "Bad and Boujee," I comprehend about the same amount as I do when I read Chaucer in the Middle English. So yeah, I'm going to be careful before I pass judgment.

Of course "substantive" is fairly subjective. Have you seen that movie yet about the British Indian kid that's obsessed with Springsteen? I haven't, but I would hazard a guess that he and his parents might have different and both totally reasonable ideas on what substantive music is.

And I couldn't be clearer in my opinion that none of this really matters.

As an aside, whether or not "Bad and Boujee" is a performative critique is irrelevant - even if it is, it's the exception that proves the rule, and shows that the fellows from Migos agree that the superficial lyrics of other rappers are worth mockery. I think that songs of this ilk tend to mix critique with celebration - you can't do pure parody without getting slotted into the novelty bin. The early Beastie Boys spring to mind as a group that projected an image that was in parts both ironic and authentic. When you listen to Queen or Cheap Trick, it's difficult draw a line between kitsch/absurdity and sincerity, and anyone not intimately familiar with the context of rock history will
be totally helpless.
   208. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: October 08, 2019 at 09:22 AM (#5887834)
Yes the issue with most of these songs is not that they're non-substantive, of course they are but so is 99% of popular music in any genre. The issue is they're crude, and simply bad music.


I am struggling a bit with what we mean by "substantive", but I absolutely agree with the proposition that popular culture is mostly made up of stuff that is "of the moment" and largely transitory unless one is of that time and so it means something to them because of the person/music timing ad emotional connection. However, some of the art created does last and is not transitory.

I sincerely doubt popular culture has noticeably better or worse in the last few decades, it is of the time and I no longer am. And that is OK.

Note: I scanned the list and knew a fair amount of the non hip hop music on the list (and even own some of it). I have tried and just don't like most hip hop, so I don't know much of the music on the list.
   209. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 08, 2019 at 09:27 AM (#5887835)
I sincerely doubt popular culture has noticeably better or worse in the last few decades, it is of the time and I no longer am. And that is OK.

Why can't you say it's worse? Better or worse for music is a purely subjective judgement. If you don't like it, it's worse.

And I don't really by the "of the time" thing. I like music from lots of decades when I wasn't alive better than hip hop and rap, and DJ bullshit where they don't even pretend to play an instrument. I'd rather listen to big band, or classical music, and I never listen to those.

There is good music being made today. It just isn't on this list.

Try listening to 107.1 The Peak. It's a small rock station in NY that plays lots of new stuff along with 1960s-2000s.
   210. Der-K's emotional investment is way up Posted: October 08, 2019 at 09:48 AM (#5887843)
Wandering into this thread as I'm listening to someone singing nonsense in French (I read a translation of the lyrics, they're still nonsense.)
---
vortex, you haven't learned Japanese yet?
---
I sincerely doubt popular culture has noticeably better or worse in the last few decades, it is of the time and I no longer am. And that is OK.

This is more or less what I think, in terms of its objective quality*. Which is distinct from snapper's:
Why can't you say it's worse? Better or worse for music is a purely subjective judgement. If you don't like it, it's worse.

You can! You can say and think what you like!

That said, there are reasons for quality differences b/w eras. Looking within a genre, I hold that rap music from the early 80s is, as a rule, bad. It was still a relatively new format, people were figuring it out, and it had a way to go. At some point, and ymmv as to when, it became not bad. Subsequent to then, trends and subgenres and whatnot emerged, in part because there's a strong desire not to do countless+1 at some point. Also, as hip-hop got more popular, more talents moved into it that would have pursued other formats in the past.

* 1) whatever that means, and 2) there are a bunch of reasons for this not to be true, but I think it's hard to differentiate between them and ones biases in practice.
   211. Der-K's emotional investment is way up Posted: October 08, 2019 at 09:52 AM (#5887845)
I find P4k lists useful places to explore new stuff I otherwise wouldn't be exposed to. I wouldn't treat them as any kind of arbiter for what I might like in aggregate though.
(If you like* pop/rock/hip-hop, there are bound to be a few songs on that list you'll think are good.** Not wanting to spend hours finding them is reasonable, though.)

Here's one: Phoebe Bridgers' Motion Sickness. It's great - I was listening to that album on a loop for a bit two months ago.


* English language. They pretty much avoided other works.
** Granted, I like Migos (in small doses), including Bad and Boujee, so what do I know?
   212. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 08, 2019 at 10:25 AM (#5887857)
What do you mean by substantive? You object to a vague meaning for it, so make it less vague. Explain it to me, other than as a totally subjective evaluation.
Some examples of online dictionary definitions that get at it:

"having a firm basis in reality and therefore important, meaningful, or considerable" (emphasis on those last three words)

"involving matters of major or practical importance to all concerned"

"having real importance or value"

"important, serious, or related to real facts"

Now, of course you can object to the operative terms of those definitions as subjective too, but that's just the start of an infinite regression. At some point we have to acknowledge that terms such as "important" or "serious" have objective meanings (or at least meanings that are well understood by the general population, so operationally objective), and that the lyrics quoted above do not fit those meanings.
   213. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: October 08, 2019 at 10:44 AM (#5887867)
Why can't you say it's worse? Better or worse for music is a purely subjective judgement. If you don't like it, it's worse.


Because I don't hold myself as an objective arbiter of quality. Also I can only evaluate those songs I am familiar with, and they chose some very good songs.

How can I possibly suggests that popular music has gotten worse when basically every decade of my life so far I have enjoyed some of the popular music of the day and not enjoyed others. How much of it I enjoy appears to depend much more on me and my personal and changing tastes and place in life (see example below) than in some abstract notion of quality of the music.

When I was younger and angrier (more emotional, yes a fuzzy definition, get over it) angry emotional music appealed to me much more, now I often find it discordant and unpleasant. That includes angry music of my youth as well as angry music of today. The quality of the music has not changed, its appeal to me has changed. A similar specific example is the song Cats in the Cradle. Before I was a parent I liked the song and now I find it awful. The song didn't change, I did.

In those instances, one a specific song and one a whole type of song, have changed for me as I have changed. And of course some songs I appreciate much more now than I did before, even though the songs are the same.

I have no reason to believe the overall quality of music has changed over time and absolute proof (for me anyway) that my appreciation of music does change dramatically over time, so the obvious and simple explanation is that in general the swing is more attributable to the listener than the music.

Now maybe some here are frozen in amber and don't change. Their tastes are absolute and unchanging as they grow older and their life experiences change, but I flat out don't believe that sort of extraordinary claim absent extraordinary evidence. Similarly I would like objective evidence or at least a causal theory for why music is mysteriously getting worse over time. And no cherry picking dumb songs from the present and comparing them to classics of the past doesn't count.
   214. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: October 08, 2019 at 10:49 AM (#5887872)
"having a firm basis in reality and therefore important, meaningful, or considerable" (emphasis on those last three words)

"involving matters of major or practical importance to all concerned"

"having real importance or value"

"important, serious, or related to real facts"


OK, thanks! No how has this changed over time? Has the average (mean, median, whichever) amount of substance changed over time? Because as far as I can tell the basic themes of popular music partying, screwing, dancing and sundry other activities that concern many people and especially teen aged people have been pretty constant over time (yes there has also always been a sprinkling of "serious" music as well, because what the world really needs is more Ebony and Ivory type songs, ack!).
   215. Der-K's emotional investment is way up Posted: October 08, 2019 at 10:56 AM (#5887875)
Their tastes are absolute and unchanging as they grow older and their life experiences change, but I flat out don't believe that sort of extraordinary claim absent extraordinary evidence.

They exist, mm. I don't get it but they do.
   216. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 08, 2019 at 11:05 AM (#5887878)
OK, thanks! No how has this changed over time? Has the average (mean, median, whichever) amount of substance changed over time? Because as far as I can tell the basic themes of popular music partying, screwing, dancing and sundry other activities that concern many people and especially teen aged people have been pretty constant over time (yes there has also always been a sprinkling of "serious" music as well, because what the world really needs is more Ebony and Ivory type songs, ack!).
As I've said before in these discussions, we would need to do a granular analysis of the Top 40 (or 100 or whatever) charts at various points in time to have real data on this, and no one has the time or inclination to do that. But, that said, my strong impression is that:

1. Nonsubstantive songs are more dominant today as a percentage of the most popular songs;
2. Overall, their "content" is further away from being substantive than in previous eras; and
3. Their "content" is more uniform and standardized than in previous eras, such that
4. The mainstream seems to be significantly less receptive, if not actively hostile, to engaging with substantive thought or emotion through music than at other times

This last point also relies on a distinction between the content of the more superficial songs of past eras - silly love songs, etc. - characterized by more of an absence of depth or substance, and current pop, which is much more aggressively anti-thought/depth/substance. We see this in the themes of "don't think, just party and dance" and "I like to get wasted" and "I'm going to spend this entire song telling you about how much of a badass I am."

All of this acknowledges that (a) of course there has been a lot of non-substantive pop music over the years, including songs with the same themes identified above and (b) poorly done attempts at substantive pop music, e.g. Ebony & Ivory, are particularly cringe-worthy.
   217. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 08, 2019 at 11:08 AM (#5887881)
Because I don't hold myself as an objective arbiter of quality.

There is no objective standard of quality in popular music. There is an objective standard of musicianship. There is an objective standard of singing ability. But the "quality" of a song is purely subjective. Bad musicians make good songs all the time. Good musicians make bad songs.
   218. PreservedFish Posted: October 08, 2019 at 11:09 AM (#5887882)
Are you saying blowjobs are not of major practical importance to all concerned?
   219. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 08, 2019 at 11:12 AM (#5887884)
Touche, sir. Touche.
   220. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: October 08, 2019 at 11:42 AM (#5887899)
As I've said before in these discussions, we would need to do a granular analysis of the Top 40 (or 100 or whatever) charts at various points in time to have real data on this, and no one has the time or inclination to do that. But, that said, my strong impression is that:


One of the things I have learned from the podcast Hit Parade (strong endorsement for it, it is really great) is exactly how doomed such an enterprise would be. Over the decades the very criteria used to determine what makes the Hot 100 (or whatever) has changed many many times in really substantive fashions.

Even something as simple as looking at the "A" and "B" sides has changed where sometimes they are treated as separate songs and sometimes the two are aggregated together to appear on the list. And that is just one minor example. Other include songs which were purposefully NOT released as singles (in order to drive album sales) during a time when you couldn't even be considered for the list (no matter how popular the song was) unless it was issued as a single; also the very rankings of relative popularity of genres changed radically when the automated SoundScan technology took over from record stores self reporting sales (Rap and country suddenly became dramatically more popular relative to Rock, for whatever reason). And all that is before we move over to the digital era and all the complications from that.
   221. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 08, 2019 at 11:47 AM (#5887901)
Fair point re: the methodological challenges of a hypothetical study, but I don't think that changes my (perceived) conclusion.
   222. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: October 08, 2019 at 11:56 AM (#5887903)
Fair point re: the methodological challenges of a hypothetical study, but I don't think that changes my (perceived) conclusion.


Maybe you listen to enough music across the decades and are able to fully understand all of it in its totality in order to make your conclusion solid, but to my mind it is a bit like comparing the fielding ability of a player in 2019 versus one in the 1970s using only your experiences watching baseball games and without being able to look at any statistics.

Yes, you are welcome to come to any conclusion you want, but multiple issues from sample bias all the way to inability to process data meaningfully across those kind of huge data volumes across the decades makes me skeptical as to how objective it could possibly be.

Even if I thought it was truly important how substantive songs from various decades are in popular music (which for the record I don't really).
   223. PreservedFish Posted: October 08, 2019 at 12:02 PM (#5887907)
it is a bit like comparing the fielding ability of a player in 2019 versus one in the 1970s using only your experiences watching baseball games and without being able to look at any statistics.


I think it's more like 1870 to 1919 - in one era you had well-established organizations that most people agreed were the major leagues, and in the other era it was kind of the wild west with little agreement over how to actually assess which performances counted and which did not.
   224. manchestermets Posted: October 08, 2019 at 12:08 PM (#5887910)
Some examples of online dictionary definitions that get at it:

"having a firm basis in reality and therefore important, meaningful, or considerable" (emphasis on those last three words)

"involving matters of major or practical importance to all concerned"

"having real importance or value"

"important, serious, or related to real facts"


Well, there goes a ton of the Beatles' output for a start. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds? Away with that nonsense!
   225. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 08, 2019 at 12:16 PM (#5887913)
Well, there goes a ton of the Beatles' output for a start. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds? Away with that nonsense!

Now, finally someone is making some sense.
   226. PreservedFish Posted: October 08, 2019 at 12:20 PM (#5887916)
For those unfamiliar with this debate we've had multiple times, Elroy believes that the apotheosis of rock n roll was in the 80s when U2 and The Boss were singing about big political things and you could hear those songs on every street corner.
   227. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 08, 2019 at 12:33 PM (#5887919)
For those unfamiliar with this debate we've had multiple times, Elroy believes that the apotheosis of rock n roll was in the 80s when U2 and The Boss were singing about big political things and you could hear those songs on every street corner.

Ugh. I like Bruce, and U2 is OK, but I don't generally care for politics in my music.
   228. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 08, 2019 at 12:37 PM (#5887921)
For those unfamiliar with this debate we've had multiple times, Elroy believes that the apotheosis of rock n roll was in the 80s when U2 and The Boss were singing about big political things and you could hear those songs on every street corner.
This is a completely reductive misstatement of what I think, but even I'm tired of going around and around on this by now. There's no use continuing to try to discuss this when people are just going to think this is what I'm saying regardless of what I actually say.
   229. PreservedFish Posted: October 08, 2019 at 12:44 PM (#5887922)
Really? I thought that that was a totally accurate account.

I think you're reading reductiveness into it. I never said that you thought all music should be about politics.
   230. Davo Posted: October 08, 2019 at 12:45 PM (#5887924)
228–this group loves to get the pitchforks out.
   231. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 08, 2019 at 12:49 PM (#5887928)
Well, there goes a ton of the Beatles' output for a start. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds? Away with that nonsense!
Let's talk about that when Lil' Pump tops the charts with the equivalent of "Let It Be" or "In My Life."
   232. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 08, 2019 at 12:53 PM (#5887930)
This is a completely reductive misstatement of what I think, but even I'm tired of going around and around on this by now. There's no use continuing to try to discuss this when people are just going to think this is what I'm saying regardless of what I actually say.

Well, summarize your thesis. I'm interested.
   233. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 08, 2019 at 12:54 PM (#5887931)
Really? I thought that that was a totally accurate account.
I've laid out my thesis above (i.e. 201, 216). As far as the '80s, yes, it was good that you could hear substantive music (like U2 and Springsteen, among others) all the time on Top 40 radio, but the '80s weren't the apotheosis of anything. I don't think you can easily label any one period an apotheosis (although maybe if we actually did the study one time frame would stand out) - just that the current era is a low point.
   234. Slutty Nutkins (CoB). Posted: October 08, 2019 at 12:57 PM (#5887933)
Well, there goes a ton of the Beatles' output for a start. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds? Away with that nonsense!


Noooooooooooooooooooooooo! Then we'd never have gotten Luke is in the Desert and Whining!
   235. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 08, 2019 at 01:01 PM (#5887935)
I've laid out my thesis above (i.e. 201, 216). As far as the '80s, yes, it was good that you could hear substantive music (like U2 and Springsteen, among others) all the time on Top 40 radio, but the '80s weren't the apotheosis of anything. I don't think you can easily label any one period an apotheosis (although maybe if we actually did the study one time frame would stand out) - just that the current era is a low point.

I agree with you that much of today's music is crap, certainly most of that list was. I do think there is a lot of good music being produced, it's just not popular. I've been listening to that radio station I mention all morning, and there's been a bunch of really good sounds by current groups. But for some reason that stuff isn't going mainstream.
   236. jmurph Posted: October 08, 2019 at 01:02 PM (#5887936)
Davo:
One of you guys compared me to Ray Carney in a post once, as a joke, probably in a “you’re both trolls” sense.

Whoever did that: I am forever grateful. I checked him out just to understand the reference, and found his writing very persuasive and insightful. And since most of his books were about filmmakers I did not know very well (John Cassavetes and Mike Leigh), I began watching their movies so I could better follow Carney’s books, and the combination of the two has just been wonderful, it’s opened up a completely new way for me to think about life and art. (If any of you follow me on Letterboxd, you’ll see that for the last few months basically all I’ve watched are old Mike Leigh movies.)

So. You never know what’ll stick!

That was me, and it was not an insult, and I don't consider you a troll, and honestly, I'm glad you like his work. I didn't/don't always agree with him, but I find him fascinating, and like you, he introduced me to lots of great stuff (if I'm remembering right- it was nearly 20 years ago at this point- we just did international stuff in his class).
   237. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 08, 2019 at 01:03 PM (#5887938)
I do think there is a lot of good music being produced, it's just not popular.
Of course. My point is that it's troubling that what becomes popular is so dominated by anti-substance. It doesn't speak well of either the incentives of the system in which it's produced or the consumers who embrace it so enthusiastically.
   238. PreservedFish Posted: October 08, 2019 at 01:17 PM (#5887943)
As far as the '80s, yes, it was good that you could hear substantive music (like U2 and Springsteen, among others) all the time on Top 40 radio, but the '80s weren't the apotheosis of anything.


Fair enough. I retract what I said, no apotheosis. But I believe it would be fair to say that you recall the 80's - when hugely popular rock n rollers addressed Big topics in their music - with particular fondness.
   239. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: October 08, 2019 at 01:19 PM (#5887944)
Here is my spin on the topic (rather than just challenge ElRoy's thesis):

Popular music has changed over the decades, but it is not the quality of the music or artist, but rather the changes are based in the structure and technology of the music business relative to ... for example the 80s.

Back in the day music was much more LCD. Not in a bad way, but the distribution channels were much grosser. There were fewer major distribution channels and places to play your music. There were even fewer genres of music (meaning people broke music into fewer buckets). Basically to be popular music had to appeal to a larger critical mass of people after being approved through certain approval gates. Even the technology to record and produce music professionally was very restricted relative to today.

All of those forces resulted in music which was more accessible to large audiences. Obviously the best of that music bubbled up the charts and became the popular pop music.

As an analogue look to TV, where back in the day there were many fewer distribution channels for TV shows and so they tended to be very broad based in their attempted appeal. Today there are many more available options and TV shows tend to be more niche based and less accessible to the sort of huge audiences seen in the past.

The differences in pop music today are a result of the changes in technology and distribution channels and similarly result in more niche and less accessible music, especially to those who are not in the largest consumer audience for new music (the largest niche) which is of course young people.

Pop music has always aimed at the cultural touchstones of young people, and with the current trends it is being done in a even more directed fashion than previously, resulting in those not in that niche to feel more cut off from the pop music of today than even previous generations felt (well since the advent of rock, which it could be argued was a watershed that also came about as it did because of shifting technology/distribution).
   240. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 08, 2019 at 01:20 PM (#5887945)
But I believe it would be fair to say that you recall the 80's - when hugely popular rock n rollers addressed Big topics in their music - with particular fondness.
I mean, maybe a *little* more personal fondness for the '80s just because those were my musical formative years, but hugely popular rock n rollers and (and folkies, to some extent, and R&B/soul, and etc. etc.) made substantive music in the '60s and '70s, and hugely popular rockers (and hip-hop artists and etc., to some extent) made substantive music in the '90s. All of which are just as important to my overall position.

EDIT: I want to be clear to differentiate "Big topics" from "substantive music," because I think using the two interchangeably misrepresents me. A straightforward expression of emotion, for example, may not qualify as a "Big topic," but could certainly be substantive.
   241. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 08, 2019 at 01:28 PM (#5887946)
239: I agree with a lot of what you say. I just think that, if you look at the actual content of the songs, it's pretty inescapable that that dynamic has led us to a place of less substantive popular music.
   242. jmurph Posted: October 08, 2019 at 01:35 PM (#5887950)
EDIT: I want to be clear to differentiate "Big topics" from "substantive music," because I think using the two interchangeably misrepresents me. A straightforward expression of emotion, for example, may not qualify as a "Big topic," but could certainly be substantive.

I have lots of thoughts on this whole subject, but in an attempt to be productive and not argue too much, I would just encourage you to expand your definitions of "straightforward expression of emotion." I'm absolutely a rockist when it comes to genre discussions, but to use an example from Pitchfork's list, Robyn's "dancing on my own," #3 on their list, is a great, great song. And it's electronica/house/whatever the hell genre it is, it's a dance song, but it's great.
   243. Davo Posted: October 08, 2019 at 01:43 PM (#5887954)
236- Oh, my apologies JMrph, I couldn’t remember the context! But yes, thank you very much—I’ve loved his writing so much. (But not for nothing, I’ve enjoyed these Mike Leigh movies more than I could have possibly imagined.
   244. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 08, 2019 at 01:51 PM (#5887958)
I have lots of thoughts on this whole subject, but in an attempt to be productive and not argue too much, I would just encourage you to expand your definitions of "straightforward expression of emotion." I'm absolutely a rockist when it comes to genre discussions, but to use an example from Pitchfork's list, Robyn's "dancing on my own," #3 on their list, is a great, great song. And it's electronica/house/whatever the hell genre it is, it's a dance song, but it's great.
I'm not saying every song on the Pitchfork list is non-substantive, nor that electronica/house songs can't be substantive (although I do think the nature of the genre is such that there are probably significantly fewer). Looking at the lyrics, yeah, I guess the Robyn song would probably be considered a substantive exception. Songs about dancing aren't substantive, but clearly that one isn't actually just about dancing. I probably wouldn't go all the way to "great, great," but that's the subjective element.
   245. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: October 08, 2019 at 01:54 PM (#5887959)
239: I agree with a lot of what you say. I just think that, if you look at the actual content of the songs, it's pretty inescapable that that dynamic has led us to a place of less substantive popular music.


See I would argue that because of the more narrow cast nature of current music the substance just tends to be less accessible to people like you and I.
   246. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 08, 2019 at 02:01 PM (#5887963)
See I would argue that because of the more narrow cast nature of current music the substance just tends to be less accessible to people like you and I.
To clarify, are you saying that (1) there is actually substance in pop songs like, say, "Old Town Road," but that you and I are too old to "get it," or (2) that pop songs like those aren't substantive, but that there is substantive music that isn't mainstream pop and thus less accessible?

Choose your own adventure: If you choose option (1), turn to post 201. If you choose option (2), turn to post 237!
   247. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: October 08, 2019 at 02:42 PM (#5887983)
To clarify, are you saying that (1) there is actually substance in pop songs like, say, "Old Town Road," but that you and I are too old to "get it," or (2) that pop songs like those aren't substantive, but that there is substantive music that isn't mainstream pop and thus less accessible?


I am saying several things.

(1) Substance in pop music is being wildly overrated by you as a barometer of quality.
(2) You have no way of objectively evaluating and comparing the level of substance across the decades.
(3) The nature of music production and distribution has radically changed in an objective fashion, which has changed, especially via splintering, the nature of popular music.
(4) That splintering means even if you could try to evaluate the substance in a cross section of today's pop music much of it would be inaccessible to you (for example the symbolism, especially that that relies on current splintered popular culture) in a way that pop music of 30 years ago wasn't.
(5) Because there is a known objective change in music (production and distribution) any differences across the time spans can be attributed to that and be given more weight than some subjective old man shakes fist at clouds type argument.
(6) Nothing in the production or distribution changes necessarily leads to lower quality. In fact because it is less homogenized, not as least common denominator, and as time passes and knowledge accumulates and skills tend to improve over time, the base assumption should be that pop music is better than it was before - but I am willing to leave the it that is it basically the same as a concession to you. You are welcome.
   248. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 08, 2019 at 03:13 PM (#5887998)
(2) You have no way of objectively evaluating and comparing the level of substance across the decades.
Lyrics are words. Words have meanings. It's not 100% perfect, of course, but to say there's nothing there to go on reflects a viewpoint of extreme subjectivism.

(1) Substance in pop music is being wildly overrated by you as a barometer of quality.
YMMV, of course, but I think we as a society are much better off when people are willing to engage with substance and think about stuff, in many different areas. Music is very important to me, and I think it is has special potential as an expressive medium, so that's why I focus on it. To me, it's tragic to waste the social/cultural potential of popular music on what we have now. People who are into film or theater (I assume) think that those forms have special potential, and the same with other media and forms of expression.

Anyway, I think we've reached the fundamental point of disagreement.
   249. Baldrick Posted: October 08, 2019 at 03:23 PM (#5888005)
I don't deny that it's possible in retrospect to examine the popular culture of a given moment and draw interesting (maybe even important) connections between that era and its cultural taste. It may even be possible to build out from those conclusions to make some rough statements about eras in which culture was 'better' or 'worse.' It seems clear to me that the cultural output of Florence in the High Renaissance was much higher than two centuries before or after. Shakespeare's London produced some of the greatest plays in the history of our language, and it's certainly worth thinking seriously about how and why. And I'll even concede that speculative analysis of current cultural trends might be useful and informative, though with significantly higher error bars.

But given the well-known phenomenon of people deciding that popular culture is in decay compared to an idealized time that coincides with their adolescence - a phenomenon that has held constant for literally millennia - my Bayesian prior is to assume that claims about culture being in decline or lacking substance compared to a previous era are highly dubious. The far more likely explanation: art being produced in a given moment has deep significance to those who enjoy it, which may be inscrutable to others but isn't any less real because of it.

To return to "Dancing on My Own," I know many people who would consider it one of the all-time great anthems. It evokes powerful emotional responses--feelings of vulnerability and strength, the power of kinetic movement, a sense of empathic connection. That's partly because of the lyrics, which are simple but profound, and partly because of the production, and partly because Robyn's vocal performance perfectly embodies those elements. It is also the sort of song that genuinely needs to be experienced in its proper medium in order to truly grasp it. That is: you need to literally be dancing to it. I attended a wedding a couple months ago and when this song came on, there was a rush to get to the dancefloor. Bodies were moving and everyone was singing along. It sure seemed to matter a great deal to this particular crowd of millennials.

Take another recent #1 song, Ariana Grande's "thank u next." Yes, it has a silly name. And yes, it's really just a kiss-off song to some former boyfriends. But it's also a deeply personal, powerful song about reflection, self-love, and compassion.

But beyond those examples, there's the important point that art can be tremendously meaningful in form, even if the substance is ephemeral or insignificant. I was joking in #200, but Monet is a great example. His paintings are almost literally about nothing. The only theme is 'color is amazing.' Go back to the Renaissance - arguably the biggest transformational moment in 'culture' in all of western civilization. It brought virtually no change in the subject matter of art. Everything remained religious imagery. But the differences were in evolutions of form.

If you want to construct a genealogy of hip-hop, I think you could make a credible argument that the last decade has broadly been a period of stagnation, at least at the highest echelons. But that's only compared to the incredibly explosive innovations that defined the first few decades of the genre. And while 'mainstream pop' and 'hip hop' have merged and co-populated (and arguably each become a little blander in the process?), it has freed plenty of artists to bring in new influences are go in some fascinating directions. As I said on the previous page, I don't personally enjoy a lot of this music that much, but it would be crazy to pretend that it doesn't reflect artistic innovation or growth.

I also endorse all of Mellow Mouse's points, especially about the material relationship between production and consumption shaping a lot of our expectations about what it means to be 'popular' in a given moment.
   250. PreservedFish Posted: October 08, 2019 at 03:27 PM (#5888006)
Elroy, may I ask if you can identify any negative consequences of the youth's apparent predilection for mindless music?
   251. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 08, 2019 at 03:36 PM (#5888010)
Elroy, may I ask if you can identify any negative consequences of the youth's apparent predilection for mindless music?
Specific and direct causality, no, but it's not just "the youth" who have a predilection for mindless music. Of course the music is only a small indicator, but it's both a manifestation of and a contributor to a general reluctance to do the heavy lifting of thinking and engagement. And that has all kinds of negative consequences, our political tire fire being Exhibits 1-infinity. Obviously people's resistance to engaging with substance isn't solely responsible for where we're at, but it's a significant factor.
   252. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 08, 2019 at 03:40 PM (#5888011)
But beyond those examples, there's the important point that art can be tremendously meaningful in form, even if the substance is ephemeral or insignificant. I was joking in #200, but Monet is a great example. His paintings are almost literally about nothing. The only theme is 'color is amazing.' Go back to the Renaissance - arguably the biggest transformational moment in 'culture' in all of western civilization. It brought virtually no change in the subject matter of art. Everything remained religious imagery. But the differences were in evolutions of form.
Fair point, but you're talking about a situation in which the substance was held neutral. Would you still credit "advances in form" if, say, 90% of what Renaissance artists painted was piles of dog poo? There's no direct analogy to song lyrics, but you get what I mean.
   253. PreservedFish Posted: October 08, 2019 at 03:45 PM (#5888015)
And that has all kinds of negative consequences, our political tire fire being Exhibits 1-infinity.


This seems more the fault of the U2/Springsteen generation than it does the Post Malone generation.

Fair point, but you're talking about a situation in which the substance was held neutral. Would you still credit "advances in form" if, say, 90% of what Renaissance artists painted was piles of dog poo?


Many an artistic revolution was considered salacious filth by the older generation.
   254. Baldrick Posted: October 08, 2019 at 03:50 PM (#5888018)
This seems more the fault of the U2/Springsteen generation than it does the Post Malone generation.

To put it another way, I don't see much reason to think our current crisis is one of people being disengaged and unserious. It's far more a problem of older, whiter people thinking that everything is changing too fast.

I mean, I'm generally a materialist (though an unhappy one), so I don't think either of these things is much of a CAUSE of political problems. But I'd rather be on team Nicki Minaj than Team Morrissey right now.
   255. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 08, 2019 at 03:52 PM (#5888020)
It's far more a problem of older, whiter people thinking that everything is changing too fast.
Sure, but where is the countervailing force?
   256. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: October 08, 2019 at 04:17 PM (#5888028)
Sure, but where is the countervailing force?


I don't understand the question. Countervailing force to change?

I also don't understand how that connects to pop music. Maybe it is time for me to go home.
   257. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 08, 2019 at 04:25 PM (#5888031)
To put it another way, I don't see much reason to think our current crisis is one of people being disengaged and unserious. It's far more a problem of older, whiter people thinking that everything is changing too fast.

Sure, but where is the countervailing force?


The countervailing force is progressives thinking everything has to change RIGHT NOW, and you're an awful person if you don't agree.

Both sides are intransigent and shrill, and the cycle feeds off itself.
   258. Davo Posted: October 08, 2019 at 04:34 PM (#5888035)
The countervailing source is capitalism, which drowns out quality art with sheer quantity.
   259. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 08, 2019 at 04:35 PM (#5888037)
Don't let's get into an OTP digression. I think this whole thing has pretty well exhausted itself (for now) anyway. Anyone seen any good comic book movies lately?
   260. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: October 08, 2019 at 04:37 PM (#5888040)
Let's talk about that when Lil' Pump tops the charts with the equivalent of "Let It Be" or "In My Life."


An inadvertent argument against chart-watching as comparative aesthetic sociology, because not only didn't "In My Life" top the charts, it was never released as a single.



As for substance, I have substantive issues with anyone who believes that the Trashmen's "Surfin' Bird" does not represent an apex in human achievement.
   261. vortex of dissipation Posted: October 08, 2019 at 04:42 PM (#5888044)
It's also difficult to draw conclusions about whether a particular artist records music that is "substantive" from the lyrics to one song, or the subject of those lyrics. The same writer who wrote "Sexual Healing" and "Let's Get It On" also wrote "What's Going On" and "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)"...
   262. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 08, 2019 at 04:47 PM (#5888048)
As for substance, I have substantive issues with anyone who believes that the Trashmen's "Surfin' Bird" does not represent an apex in human achievement.
I've never said I disagreed with that.
   263. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 08, 2019 at 04:54 PM (#5888052)
The countervailing source is capitalism, which drowns out quality art with sheer quantity.

Modern capitalism only does one thing well, produce wealth. Otherwise it's horribly corrosive to human beings, and human institutions.
   264. Nasty Nate Posted: October 08, 2019 at 05:08 PM (#5888060)
"Money can be exchanged for goods and services." - Homer Simpson's Brain.
   265. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 08, 2019 at 06:09 PM (#5888075)
"Money can be exchanged for goods and services." - Homer Simpson's Brain.

Modern capitalism is not the market economy. The market has been around for thousands of years, modern capitalism a couple of hundred at most.

I don't want to go political, but if people want to discuss the impact of capitalism on human relationships, and human happiness, I think it's a fascinating topic, and one that spans the political divide.
   266. Dr. Vaux Posted: October 08, 2019 at 06:17 PM (#5888079)
What's "everything"? This whole idea of "Well, I'm against B, and it looks like to be against B, I have to be against A" is exceedingly corrosive and robs people of their free will as individuals. It's what's led to the current social state of polarization. That's general, and so not inherently political. No further.
   267. Davo Posted: October 08, 2019 at 06:54 PM (#5888086)
Co-sign 265. He’s a Trad-Cath and I’m a commie, but we both agree on the big thing.
   268. PreservedFish Posted: October 08, 2019 at 07:08 PM (#5888087)
if people want to discuss the impact of capitalism on human relationships, and human happiness, I think it's a fascinating topic, and one that spans the political divide.

I'd really like to see Davo and snapper hash it out in detail.
   269. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 08, 2019 at 07:27 PM (#5888093)
I'd really like to see Davo and snapper hash it out in detail.

:-) Not sure how we dress that up as pop culture, though.
   270. Omineca Greg Posted: October 08, 2019 at 08:07 PM (#5888102)
Hey, I just heard this song! It's got some crazy ideas in it...I wonder if they're worthy of discussion?

We are all prostitutes
Everyone has their price
We are all prostitutes
Everyone has their price
Everyone!

And you too will learn to live the lie
And you too will learn to live the lie
And you too will learn to live the lie
Everyone has their price

Aggression!
Competition!
Ambition!
Consumer fascism!
Consumer fascism!

We are all prostitutes
Everyone has their price
We are all prostitutes
Everyone has their price
Everyone!

Capitalism is the most barbaric of all religions

Department stores are our new cathedrals
Department stores are our new cathedrals
Our cars are martyrs to the cause
Our cars are martyrs to the cause

Our children shall rise up against us
Our children shall rise up against us
Because we are the ones to blame
Because we are the ones to blame
Because!
Because!
We are the ones to blame...
They will give us a new name
We shall be
Hypocrites hypocrites hypocrites

Now that's what I call substantive!
   271. PreservedFish Posted: October 08, 2019 at 08:54 PM (#5888125)
:-) Not sure how we dress that up as pop culture, though.

As far as I'm concerned, any conversation that doesn't devolve into partisan bickering is OK by me. I am interested in both of your ideas.
   272. Nasty Nate Posted: October 08, 2019 at 09:10 PM (#5888132)
:-) Not sure how we dress that up as pop culture, though.
Just use Simpsons quotes!
   273. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: October 08, 2019 at 09:18 PM (#5888138)
Now that's what I call substantive!

Picked that one up used in, probably, Tempe in the early '80s. Must admit I tend to prefer Mark Stewart's Maffia stuff to the Pop Group.
   274. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: October 08, 2019 at 09:21 PM (#5888139)
I’m a commie


Are you sure that's still the case? Sounds like you're totally up in the air, waiting for the next wind to blow --

I began watching their movies so I could better follow Carney’s books, and the combination of the two has just been wonderful, it’s opened up a completely new way for me to think about life and art.


For the love of your Southern Baptist god (or maybe you've read or watched something lately that flipped you over to, I dunno, Zoroastrianism?), please don't take up watching Leni Riefenstahl ...
   275. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 09, 2019 at 10:05 AM (#5888206)
So, I have no desire to rehash the "substantive vs. non-substantive pop music" discussion from the last couple days, but could we go meta on the subjectivity/objectivity topic for a bit?

Over in the Star Wars thread, our very own Mellow Mouse, hardcore relativist/subjectivist when it comes to music, posted that someone had ranked the Star Wars movies "in the correct order." I chided him for it in light of his views on music - all in good fun, of course, and maybe he didn't mean to imply an objectively correct ranking. But it did get me thinking, and we've touched on this a bit here IIRC but not much: Why does it seem like people are much more willing to allow for some objectivity for movies than for music? I think a lot more people are willing to say that one movie is definitely better than another, or that certain movies are lowbrow, mindless or yes, even non-substantive, than they are for music. This includes some of the hardline musical subjectivists here, IIRC. Am I totally off base with that? And if not, why do we think that is?
   276. PreservedFish Posted: October 09, 2019 at 10:22 AM (#5888209)
Why does it seem like people are much more willing to allow for some objectivity for movies than for music? I think a lot more people are willing to say that one movie is definitely better than another, or that certain movies are lowbrow, mindless or yes, even non-substantive, than they are for music. This includes some of the doctrinaire musical subjectivists here, IIRC. Am I totally off base with that?


I don't think you're off base.

For one thing, movies are a much much much more strictly limited art form. They've existed for a century or so, and a very small number of people (Hollywood) exerts an IMMENSE influence on virtually all global practice of the art. This foundation gives the entire world something like an agreed-upon criteria for artistic success. Films also include many elements of "craft" vs "art" - for example, if a special effect looks unconvincing, or if an edit is awkward, or if the plot has holes, one can reasonably say that the film just doesn't work in somewhat the same way that one can say that garlic in a soup was burnt, or that a chair is wobbly, or that a tailored suit doesn't fit the customer correctly.

Music, meanwhile, is universal to the human experience, unimaginably diverse, almost unapproachably so. You can throw this African folk music on and only the most provincial idiot wouldn't immediately recognize that this comes from a tradition so profoundly foreign that it is obviously impossible to evaluate using the same standards as we use for Frank Sinatra or Led Zeppelin or whatever.

Very complex topic, and I've steamrolled over a lot of nuance, and one can find reasonable exceptions and objections to every point I've made, but I think this begins to get at it.
   277. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 09, 2019 at 10:29 AM (#5888211)
Good points, but it seems that the subjectivism doctrine w/r/t music applies even if you limit the musical field of the discussion to a very narrow slice of music to which virtually all of your first (full) paragraph applies, i.e. English-language popular music.
   278. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 09, 2019 at 10:36 AM (#5888219)
You can throw this African folk music on and only the most provincial idiot wouldn't immediately recognize that this comes from a tradition so profoundly foreign that it is obviously impossible to evaluate using the same standards as we use for Frank Sinatra or Led Zeppelin or whatever.
Eh, the drummer is OK, but he's no Bonham.
   279. PreservedFish Posted: October 09, 2019 at 10:45 AM (#5888223)
I guess I would say that even if you limit the music to just English-language American music, there is still a massive gulf between the two arts as far as breadth and diversity goes. Major Hollywood studios produce about 100 movies per year, most of which are meant to be very broadly appealing. Movies are expensive, and that barrier to entry slows the introduction of novel ideas and perspectives. Sure there are smaller studios and niche productions, and movies loaded directly to Youtube, but not the same extent as in the music industry, which is wildly decentralized. And the borders in music are much more porous.

Just answering the question straight from my gut, I'd say that it's not difficult for me to evaluate a film, almost any film. I can say "this worked for me, this didn't," and I can say that for Satyajit Ray as much as I can for Michael Bay. But with music I have no such confidence. I mean, I still evaluate and rank music regardless of origin or context according to my own likes and dislikes, but I'm much more willing to say "I don't get this, but that doesn't mean it's bad."
   280. PreservedFish Posted: October 09, 2019 at 10:52 AM (#5888225)
I think the differences between The Godfather and Fast & Furious 3 and The Notebook and even Tokyo Story and Hiroshima Mon Amour are much, much smaller than the differences between Lil Pump and, well, Mozart. Music is just a more diverse art form, which should naturally make anyone less confident in their judgments. I find that the more movies I see, the more I 'get' the art form, whereas the more music I listen to, the more humbled I am by my ignorance.
   281. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: October 09, 2019 at 10:57 AM (#5888226)
Over in the Star Wars thread, our very own Mellow Mouse, hardcore relativist/subjectivist when it comes to music, posted that someone had ranked the Star Wars movies "in the correct order." I chided him for it in light of his views on music - all in good fun, of course, and maybe he didn't mean to imply an objectively correct ranking.


I was agreeing (subjectively) with the subjective ranking presented.
   282. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: October 09, 2019 at 11:05 AM (#5888228)
Hiroshima Mon Amour


John Foxx-incarnation Ultravox' finest song, IMHO. Though My Sex is way up there as well.
   283. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 09, 2019 at 11:05 AM (#5888229)
I think the differences between The Godfather and Fast & Furious 3 and The Notebook and even Tokyo Story and Hiroshima Mon Amour are much, much smaller than the differences between Lil Pump and, well, Mozart.
But what about the differences between Lil Pump and, I dunno, the Foo Fighters?
   284. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 09, 2019 at 11:06 AM (#5888230)
I was agreeing (subjectively) with the subjective ranking presented.
Would you even say that ("the correct order") in an offhand way about music, though? If I were to rank artists or songs in a particular order?

I'm not trying to read too much into your particular choice of words, so if the answer is "yeah, it was just something I typed in 5 seconds," fine. I just think there *might* be something there (in light of what PF is saying), but maybe not.
   285. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: October 09, 2019 at 11:10 AM (#5888232)
In addition to what is said above (most of which I agree with), making music is a MUCH simpler and easier task than making a movie. High quality music (in a technical sense not a I like this sense) can be made by essentially just one person (though often it is obviously more than that). Making a movie that looks and sounds good is a HUGE task that requires a large team of technical experts in order to rise above amateur hour.

The complexity of making a movie and the fact that it requires large numbers of people (both behind and in front of the camera) means many many more points of failure than is present in a typical song or album.

When I hear a song I can be fairly certain I am hearing the song that the creator truly wanted. Because of everything mentioned above and budgetary constraints that go along with it, when I see a movie I can't make that assumption. Terrible acting can sink a movie, for example, and you can't just throw it all away and start over like you can for a song (except in very rare circumstances).

Because of all that there is an additional way one can judge movies that is not usually available for music and that additional dimension is a bit more objective (not perfectly so, obviously). Terrible shot framing, dialogue, acting and such are (i would assert) at least somewhat objective.

There is subjectivity in both movie and music criticism though, of source, I am not trying to suggest otherwise.
   286. PreservedFish Posted: October 09, 2019 at 11:11 AM (#5888233)
But what about the differences between Lil Pump and, I dunno, the Foo Fighters?


Yes. Still a meaningfully larger gap, even though you've artificially limited it. It could be Lil Pump and Kamasi Washington, Lil Pump and Lucinda Williams, Lil Pump and Hans Zimmer, Lil Pump and Joanna Newsom, Lil Pump and Philip Glass.

Do you disagree?
   287. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 09, 2019 at 11:11 AM (#5888234)
Terrible shot framing, dialogue, acting and such are (i would assert) at least somewhat objective.
But terrible lyrics aren't?
   288. PreservedFish Posted: October 09, 2019 at 11:17 AM (#5888237)
But terrible lyrics aren't?


Sure they are. I think both forms have elements of craft and elements of art. But I think film is closer to "craft" on the spectrum, and music closer to "art." If you follow my dichotomy.
   289. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: October 09, 2019 at 11:17 AM (#5888238)
Would you even say that ("the correct order") in an offhand way about music, though? If I were to rank artists or songs in a particular order?


In casual conversation? Sure. In a discussion where I was taking a relativistic stand? Nope. Which is why I plead "guilty as charged" in the other thread.

I believe a few things about art in general. It is overwhelmingly subjective and it is "owned" by the consumer and not the artist. In other words the consumer of the art, their feelings, interpretation, and valuation take precedence. Of course I also believe that the collective opinions of consumers (educated critics and ordinary people) has more objective weight than individual consumers.

So for example Davo is free to believe Speed Racer is the best movie ever (or whatever), as a consumer of the art work he gets to love whatever he wants. However, if we want to try to tiptoe into attempting an objective view of the quality of the movie I will place more weight on the collective opinions and don't subscribe to "perfect relativism" where every single opinion or group of opinions is of equal weight.
   290. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 09, 2019 at 11:18 AM (#5888240)
Yes. Still a meaningfully larger gap, even though you've artificially limited it. It could be Lil Pump and Kamasi Washington, Lil Pump and Lucinda Williams, Lil Pump and Hans Zimmer, Lil Pump and Joanna Newsom, Lil Pump and Philip Glass.

Do you disagree?
I don't think it's an "artificial" limitation given that we had implicitly limited the scope of the previous discussion to English-language popular music (with vocals). I think we can all agree that, yes, for us to sit here and try to evaluate whether Nigerian folk music is "substantive," or to try to make an apples-to-apples comparison with Western pop music, would be ridiculous.

But as far as whether I disagree with your point...I think so, but I would need to think more about it.
   291. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 09, 2019 at 11:19 AM (#5888241)
Sure they are. I think both forms have elements of craft and elements of art. But I think film is closer to "craft" on the spectrum, and music closer to "art." If you follow my dichotomy.
That was more for MM, who yesterday argued that there was "nothing" objective to go on in evaluating music.
   292. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: October 09, 2019 at 11:20 AM (#5888242)
But terrible lyrics aren't?


I agree with the art/craft dichotomy (which is put much better than I did - thanks).
   293. PreservedFish Posted: October 09, 2019 at 11:22 AM (#5888243)
That was more for MM, who yesterday argued that there was "nothing" objective to go on in evaluating music.

I understood, but he was making basically the same point as me. Maybe my explanation was more subtle/flexible.

Of course there are objective elements to music. Singing out of key usually just sounds terrible. But even the objective elements are tricky to evaluate ... I prefer Neil Young's guitar to Yngwei Malmsteen's. Not that there's no equivalent in film - Davo often prefers non-actors to professionals, and unscripted to scripted, for example - but I think that generally, for some reason, we tolerate unstudied artistry in music more than we do in film.
   294. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: October 09, 2019 at 11:24 AM (#5888244)
That was more for MM, who yesterday argued that there was "nothing" objective to go on in evaluating music.


I did? I just did a quick review and I think I was arguing that no individual can objectively compare the substance in music across decades. I am pretty sure I never asserted that there was nothing objective in music. I might have missed that post in my review though, so feel free to point out where you got that impression and I will attempt to explain/justify/apologize for that post.
   295. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 09, 2019 at 11:27 AM (#5888245)
I got that from 247(2). Apologies if I misinterpreted you.
   296. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: October 09, 2019 at 11:27 AM (#5888246)
Side note: I have been listening to the podcast Switched on Pop (not as good as Hit Parade, but still OK). In it they analyze pop music from much more technical aspect than I would ever be able to. They are music experts, whereas I am guy who listens to music.

They most definitely can objectively evaluate aspects of pop songs that I couldn't in a million years.
   297. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: October 09, 2019 at 11:29 AM (#5888248)
I got that from 247(2). Apologies if I misinterpreted you.


No worries. I was just talking about evaluating substance in music and not the whole of music analysis. I tried to make that clear, but maybe failed.
   298. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 09, 2019 at 11:33 AM (#5888251)
Thinking out loud...I'm pretty much on the same page as far as music being almost infinitely varied and complex, whereas movies are a more constrained universe. I see where you're coming from w/r/t art vs. craft - not sure I completely agree, but what strikes me is that I'm not sure it's even relevant here, because there's a refusal to label even the most obvious examples of "craft, no art" music - the ones that are facially and completely analogous to Faster & Furiouser (or insert whatever crappy movie) - as non-substantive, lowbrow, lesser in the same way that you're comfortable describing the inferior movies. So yes, the spectra may be different overall, but things are very much the same at the one end. Why are they treated differently?
   299. Davo Posted: October 09, 2019 at 11:38 AM (#5888255)
(reads the last 40 posts)

holy #### you guys do not watch non-Hollywood movies do you?
   300. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 09, 2019 at 11:41 AM (#5888260)
I am not a "movie guy" at all. Clearly.
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