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Music isn’t binary, it’s all a matter of taste

This post was originally published on the Mumubl.com Newsletter. For updates and recommendations direct to your inbox don’t forget to subscribe.

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Welcome again to the Mumubl.com newsletter and my thoughts on the goings on in the music industry.

I listen to a lot of different music, I enjoy jazz and classical as well as rock, indie, pop amongst so many others. I spent years of my degree critically listening to electronic composers such as Karlheinz Stockhausen and I think all this listening has led me to take a more relaxed approach to what I find acceptable as “good” and “bad” music. Maybe I’ve also mellowed with age, along with it becoming apparent I’m less and less cool than I once thought I was (and believe me it wasn’t a high bar to start with). I won’t get into it too much in the intro but it’s a look at that whole classification that has gotten me this week, Glastonbury often brings some of this to the forefront. My general philosophy is there isn’t bad music really, just stuff not to your tastes – except Steps.

I always enjoy the feedback I get from anyone – on any aspect of the content produced at Mumubl.com so please don’t hesitate to get in touch – and of course spread the word – as Grant Nicholas sang on Feeder’s “Echo Park” album “tell all your friends”.

Thanks as always


[main image : Photo by Maggie Jones of Flickr]

Currently checking out – “In Times New Roman” by Queens Of The Stone Age

It’s that Glasto time of year again and you don’t need to spend much time on social media to see people decry all the terrible music that’s on, even of legends like Elton John and his headline set. Sure there are bad performances (Elton’s wasn’t one from what I saw). But I’m personally not one to take strong stances against stuff like this. It can seem lazy not to want to take a position, to not want to shout down poor music. But it’s often just as lazy to be snarky at artists that aren’t to your tastes, even whole genres, it doesn’t take much effort to throw a few slurs at something you don’t like.

When this site first started I had the obvious option of adding comments to posts and declined to do so. Not because I couldn’t be bothered to build a comment system but because I didn’t want to invite the trolls in. The whole ethos of Mumubl.com is about sharing what music means to you, what tracks and artists mean. Who’s right is it to say your experience of a piece of music isn’t valid? That you’re wrong? Wrong in what a song made you think or feel? I stuck with a like button and that was that.

So I try to take the stance there isn’t really bad music (challenging at times), there’s just music that isn’t to my taste. Could I argue that there is poor musicianship at times maybe? Or lazy cliché ridden lyrics? Or boring predictable chord progressions that don’t push anything new? Overrated artists and bands? Yeah, but so what? It may seem semantic but that’s different to just calling out something as shite. The lazy criticism feels like it often comes from a snobbish “cool” place. We all know popular music isn’t as good in some people’s eyes, Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift and the likes can put out as good a track as anything and they’ll be shot down by sneering indie diehards who would never accept anything by these mainstream artists. But these very same songs will mean the world to some people, will invoke such strong memories of times, of places – why is that any less meaningful than Ian Brown bouncing around to Fools Gold?

Which also leads to another contributing factor here – toxic fandom. DJ Trev on the Which Decade Is Tops For Pops podcast hit the nail on the head when he pointed out that some fans can spoil an artist just by their fanaticism. The Stone Roses fans who think they’re the second coming, the Oasis fans who think the only good tracks were released on a few albums between 1994 and 2008, even the mainstream Beliebers or Swifties or whatever you call Ed Sheeran’s groupies. Much like religion, dogma and fanaticism are rarely good – give me a broad church any day.

It’s probably also why I never really clicked with the podcast “Your Favourite Band Sucks” despite all the recommendations I got for it. Apparently it’s supposed to be a little tongue in cheek and a bit of a piss take but it just came across as mean spirited and immature. It felt like a waste of time when I could just be finding other music to listen to and enjoy, but look, again, if that’s your bag then go ahead.

Maybe don’t worry about being cool, it’s more enjoyable, you’re open to more and you don’t waste energy picking apart stuff you don’t want to listen to. Not shouting down so much as bad doesn’t mean you have to wholeheartedly embrace everything. Like what you like, listen to it, love it, promote it to everyone, “smile like you’ve got nothing to prove”.

Except Steps

Just not Steps.

This post was originally published on the Mumubl.com Newsletter. For updates and recommendations direct to your inbox don’t forget to subscribe.

Subscribe to the Mumubl.com Newsletter

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