Monday, February 13, 2017

Beyonce Worship

I still don't get this.
I don't have anything particularly against her...I just don't get the fawning, prostrating, cultish, near-religious adulation, nor the political overtones.
Me not getting it doesn't mean there's nothing there, obviously.


Blogger Pete Mack said...

Well yes, it's silly, but it's mostly a result of how gossip rags make money.
But yes, Beyoncé really is a very good and original musician. "Lemonade" is a fascinating piece of performance art. The only comparison I know to make is to Hamilton. Yeah, that good.

11:56 PM  
Blogger The Mystic said...

Well, if you want to get serious, define acceptable criteria for her achievement of the reaction you cite among her fans and then look to see if she fits the bill.

I personally suspect she's great for a pop star, and okay-ish in the grand scheme of music, but everyone has separate criteria for establishing such things. Some people just want a catchy tune, some people want insightful lyrics, some people look for innovative time signatures, some people are after counterpoint...

I used to think music was a pretty easy thing to judge. I thought there were a few obvious and universally agreed upon criteria along the lines of technical proficiency and innovation which could be used. But, once I honestly put that theory to the test and found some really horrid music which was, nonetheless, very innovative and extremely technically proficient...

Anyway, I still think judgment of music is a relatively straightforward matter, but to really have a sensible discussion about it, one must begin with a clearly defined scope rather than how most such discussions begin:


Person B: "Whatevs, she blows ass. 'Snot even real music."


7:44 AM  
Blogger Pete Mack said...

Easy to test: go watch Lemonade videos, compare to the same for Adele's win. The former are _different_. You don't have to like the genre to get it. (For example, I don't like most rap, but Hamilton and some others is really great stuff.)

11:37 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Just for the record, I'm not committed to any proposition about Beyonce sucking or anything. I just don't really get whatever there is in her music to get...and *a fortiori* I don't get the hyperbolic, sycophantic adulation of stuff like what Drum links to.

Incidentally, though, I agree with the consensus about *Hamilton*: basically unbelievably, off-the-scale, absurdly good. My jaw actually dropped open and I sat there gaping at the speakers incredulously when S. rex first played it for me. I know some people who maybe take their Hamiltonphilia a bit far...but I get it.

12:21 PM  
Blogger Pete Mack said...

Like I said, different.

You may not like it, but I suspect you'll be impressed.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

You know, I honestly don't know what to say about that. I've only heard the song in passing before, maybe not even the whole thing, and never paid much attention to it. I kind of like (what seems to me like) the hint of reggae-esque syncopation at points...but really it just doesn't grab me...and I'm not sophisticated/smart enough about music to have detached appreciation that's independent of liking something.

Anyway, honestly, for all I know, it's great. But it's kinda hard for me to think of anyone who's so good as to warrant the kind of weird, way-over-the-top-of-the-top praise that Drum links to.

But I got no dog in this fight.

4:16 PM  
Blogger The Mystic said...

Pete: what about that video impresses you so?

Side-note: I think we probably disagree here, and I'd love to have an actual conversation about it (I love analyzing and understanding music), but I find it's hard to discuss music with people because people often love music so deeply as to be offended at the suggestion that it's not as great as they think it is. I lived a long time with a great deficiency in that area, and I work on overcoming it, myself.

But I thought I'd put that out there lest you take offense over any future disagreement on the topic.

And that's all part of why I try to be real specific when discussing music. There's a lot of subjectivity involved, and there's no real 100% objective reason to dislike a piece of music unless its lyrical message (or overt and unavoidable non-lyrical artistic intent) is immoral, as far as I can tell, but if we seek to compare music regarding specific qualities, and compare we must if we are to defend assertions of an artist's brilliance, I think it can be accomplished.

4:47 PM  
Blogger Pete Mack said...

Winston, there are two questions with different answers. One: does she deserve all the over the top praise? Of course not. "Deserve" has nothing to do with clickbait. The other is "did she deserve a Grammy?" I think the answer is probably yes. I don't pretend to listen to Beyoncé all that often--recently it's more imagine dragons and 90s alt rock. But I can recognize that she's a good artist.

10:12 PM  

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