Friday, January 16, 2009

Does it change how you hear the music?

Can you enjoy the music if you don't respect the artist? Is it possible to appreciate the music if some experience has tainted you against the one who performs it? Can you be objective about the quality of the recordings when you think you know the artist and don't like what you perceive him to be? Is it possible to pay money for a CD or a concert ticket if you don't agree with the singer's politics?

For me it's always been pretty simple: yes. None of those things affect my enjoyment of the music. If they did, I'm sure I could find something wrong with almost every musician I have listened to. Barbra Streisand is a vocal democrat that speaks strongly against all conservatives. Frank Sinatra had strong ties to the Mafia. Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison were drug addicts and alcoholics.

I've found that the music can speak for itself. I can listen with complete objectivity and enjoyment. For some, it's impossible. They base all their musical taste on the "perceived" personality of the person performing. When in reality that performer most likely has an image that he/she portrays in the media and has another image he maintains in private. For me, the two just simply don't affect my music listening pleasure.

Enjoying the music,
Texas Fan


you begin again.... said...

Interesting question but I think the answer is often more complicated. Everyone has a different level of tolerance of others' POVs or strengths and weaknesses. Most cannot tolerate an element (real or imagined) in an entertainer if they are already sensitive to it. For example: if someone has been hurt by someone who's an alcoholic or drug user, you won't find Janis Joplin or Jim Morrisson on their iPod. If someone feels persecuted for their religious or political beliefs, they may have a hard time with an entertainer who wears an opposite POV on their sleeve.
So ultimately there are no generalities when it comes to whether the personal beliefs or practices of an entertainer is going to affect the listener. It really is down to the individuals.

texas_fan said...

Exactly. It's up to the individual. That's why I asked the question. I knew what my answer was. What's yours YBA?

Crissy said...

If I don't like a particular artist I just don't listen to their music period. I don't buy their cd's and if one of their songs comes on the radio I'll change it to another station. I know this isn't part of your question, but I feel the same way about certain actors as well. I won't rent their movies or watch them on cable or any of the big four networks either.

texas_fan said...

Is it that you don't like their music or you don't like them because of another reason and that affects whether or not you like the music?

Crissy said...

I don't like them personally because of something they've said about Barry and or the fans and while I may have had no problems with them before, it turned me completely off of them and their music.

Palm Springs Savant said...

I find I enjoy music differently in the car (where I can sing along loudly) versus online, versus on my iPod. Its all about my other surroundings when I am listening I think.

you begin again.... said...

It took me a while to get back with you on this because you know how I am with the whole "big picture" POV on things. ;-)
I can't go through an entire list of who I"m comfortable with and who I'm not because that is one VERY long list of people and the subtle details would crash the blog.
So here's how I see it: all celebrities have that status because they are packaging some aspect of their persona for sale to the public. The only difference between their product and something like Coca-Cola is that the packaging is less tangible and the product is more personal.
The question I always ask when something hits the news or TMZ is: "How much of the product they are trying to sell to me is made up of some form of their personal activism or commitment to whatever cause that goes across the grain of my own sensibilities?" Clearly that is going to vary from person to person and from cause to cause. If someone supports causes in their private life that are different from mine, that's generally not a big deal. Now if they want me to purchase that POV via a movie or concert ticket and just "shut up and listen", there's going to be a conflict. There are very few entertainers I have written off because I feel they are either forcing a POV down my throat or they claim to espouse "tolerance" while being disrespectful of anyone who disagrees with them - as part of the entertainment "product".
So for me what it boils down to is, what are they selling, and am I interested in buying it. I love the free market!

texas_fan said...

Great POV, YBA. The one time I remember being forced to listen to a celebrity's personal activism was during a Streisand concert in Boston. She brought out a Bush lookalike and proceeded to make political comments and jokes about the President. The one thing that redeemed it for me was that she announced that she had personally ok'ed that portion of the act with GW and I had heard he found it funny. For her it was a jab, but the comedy aspect of it made it tolerable. However, I doubt even that would have deterred me from being a fan of her music.

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