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Coraso

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This is something that I have been thinking about for a long time, and with all the oppinions and discussions happening on this board right now about Jars' newest project, it's even more relevant, and has me thinking... What if we just stopped worrying about critiquing music, and just listen to it for what it is.  I think it's good to have oppinions and preferences, but I began to realise that maybe we've (our society in general) taken it too far.  Perhaps we've become so distracted with comparing, analyzing, critiquing, and criticizing music, and even art in general, that we've forgotten its true purpose: entertainment and enjoyment. I think there's a healthy level of criticism, but it's very easy for it to become our main focus and forget why it's made. So what do you think? When is it enough? When is it going too far? Please discuss!

(Oops... Thread topic should read: What if we listened to music for enjoyment)


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SethM

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I agree that we've taken the reviewing/critiquing culture a bit too far - blogging and user review sites might have made it simple for people to voice their opinions, but genuine critiquing and the ability to write a good review still eludes 99% of people.

Criticism is important - aside from sales, it's the only thing artists have to gauge the success of their work with a general audience, and it can be something that provides impetus for artists to go beyond the safe and clichéd.

A pet hate of mine is reading reviews where the reviewer - who isn't a musician or creative person beyond being a reviewer - feels they are 'entitled' to certain things from artists, or rather they wrongly equate their own expectations with entitlement, so when expectations aren't met, there's a seen that 'this artist has let me down', as if the artist owed something people. Obviously, I'm of the opinion that artists don't owe anything to fans per se - it's their right to create the art they want to create, and our right to enjoy or not enjoy that work. I may personally be disappointed that a work didn't live up to expectations, but the artist should feel beholden to those expectations - unless all they care about is the money. 

I think we need to keep in mind that there is a distinction between art that entertains and art that is purposefully transgressive for whatever reason. However, while the former carries the potential to be just as challenging, the later tends not to 'entertain' as much as 'educate'. That's the power of popular art, I think, and the reason it engenders such strong responses in people and the urge to write about it.
Coraso

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Quote:
Originally Posted by SethM
Criticism is important - aside from sales, it's the only thing artists have to gauge the success of their work with a general audience, and it can be something that provides impetus for artists to go beyond the safe and clichéd.
That's a good point.  I agree. 

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forn03

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I also think that music art is designed to be connected with.  People create it as a form of expressing their spiritual side, whatever that may be rooted in, and we have to wrestle with whether or not we can accept that as something we too can connect with, hence the need to criticize it.

As mentioned, it's over- or unfound criticism that creates the issues you're referring to.
clayhazelnut

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I don't think I could get much enjoyment from listening to music I didn't like. I mean, I'll use an extreme example here - if someone gave me an Insane Clown Posse CD and told me that I should enjoy it for what it is (side note: this actually happened), I don't know if I could do it. My ability to critique music on at least a basic level is, as I see it, an absolute necessity.

Having said that, there are some outlets that do seem to value comparison and determining the best of the best over all else. Pitchfork has this down to a science, for instance. They generally have good taste, which makes it an easier pill to swallow. I should also note that as arbitrary and unnecessary they are, I will always love reading big 'best of' lists. Always.
Coraso

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Quote:
Originally Posted by clayhazelnut
I don't think I could get much enjoyment from listening to music I didn't like. I mean, I'll use an extreme example here - if someone gave me an Insane Clown Posse CD and told me that I should enjoy it for what it is (side note: this actually happened), I don't know if I could do it. My ability to critique music on at least a basic level is, as I see it, an absolute necessity.
 
Yes, but I don't think you're really getting my point.  I am absolutely not saying that you shouldn't have personal preferences and tastes when it comes to the music that you personally enjoy and want to listen to.  Basically what I'm trying to say is that I think whenever a new album comes out, the number one concern for more and more peope seems to be analyzing and critiquinq the music, like it's their job or duty, and in the process totally forget why it was truly made, which is for our listening enjoyment.  However it is up to each individual to decide for themselves whether or not they will listen to it. 

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GuitarJark

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I'm not really understanding your point. It sounds a lot like, "If it entertains you, then it's doing its job and shouldn't be critiqued further." The obvious counter argument being that when I say something is bad, it isn't entertaining me. Thus, it fails at what it is trying to do.

The thing is, just going by what entertains you is so subjective that it's pretty useless if you're trying to suggest it to someone. Some of the movies I absolutely hate, others find extremely entertaining. I critique so that I can give a reason why I like or dislike something. Why doesn't a given album or movie entertain me? Or why does it? This allows me to do what a critic is supposed to do, suggest whether or not others should invest their time and money in these albums and movies.


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Coraso

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Quote:
Originally Posted by GuitarJark

The thing is, just going by what entertains you is so subjective that it's pretty useless if you're trying to suggest it to someone. Some of the movies I absolutely hate, others find extremely entertaining. I critique so that I can give a reason why I like or dislike something. Why doesn't a given album or movie entertain me? Or why does it? This allows me to do what a critic is supposed to do, suggest whether or not others should invest their time and money in these albums and movies.



I understand your point, and when it comes down to it, I agree with you, and the basic thinking behind your logic. But, all I am saying, as I have tried to make clear, is that to me it seems that it has gotten out of hand.  It's not that we shouldn't evaluate and critique, it's just that to me, from what I've seen, many people have gotten carried away.
Your point on listening to what entertains you doesn't make sense to me.  Of course you are going to be subjective when it comes to what you want to  listen to. Why would you want to listen to something that you don't personally like?? It seems that perhaps you've got it backwards. Critics are subjective and biased, as are all humans, so going off of their oppinion and what they think doesn't give you the chance to come up with your own oppinions.
This is the great injustice. Many people won't give things a chance because they heard someone else talk about their subjective views on it, when in reality they may really enjoy it.

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GuitarJark

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Quote:
Many people won't give things a chance because they heard someone else talk about their subjective views on it, when in reality they may really enjoy it.


Have you ever read a well-written review? There are objective things that most critics touch on.

Is it generic? If yes, you might want to stay away and just watch the hundreds of other movies like it or listen to the hundreds of other artists like this. Generic art has no reason to exist and there's no real reason why you need to check it out. Sure, you might enjoy it, but if it brings nothing new to the table, then why even bother?

Is it well made? Is the cinematography well put together? Do the different parts of the song work well? Does the plot flow naturally? Are the characters developed? Does it succeed at doing what it sets out to do?

These are the things critics use to suggest whether people should see a movie or listen to an album. Whether or not these things are important to you is how you decide to give it a chance or not.

Another factor is what critic is giving the opinion. Some critic from a random site on the internet won't hold much sway with me, but if Roger Ebert or a similar respected name loves something, I'm probably going to check it out. If they hate it, I might think twice before seeing it. Sites like Metacritic and RottenTomatoes are nice since they can lump all these critics together in one place and give me a general idea of what the critics I respect most are saying. This gives me something to consider when deciding what to see in theaters or what to listen to.

Ultimately, if a critic is keeping me from seeing a movie or listening to an album, I probably wasn't too excited about it anyway.


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willb

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What fun would that be?????  LOL


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jesusgirl

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I don't believe that a certain sound should be categorized. But just because we enjoy something doesn't mean it's what we should be listening to. It would be nice to be able to shrug off all concern and simply believe that what we like is good. The fact is, however, that we live in a very tainted world, and we need to be especially careful what we fill our minds with if we claim to be followers of the One who exhorted us to be in the world, but not of it.

P.S. Lucky for us Jarks, we're fans of a good influence!

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adrnik

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We use music for different occassions too. A Cd I want to have on as background music won't necessarily be enjoyed in my car or at a party. Music I listen to to inspire me or help me with my faith or use in church services probably looses a lot as background music. 




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jesusgirl

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Quote:
Originally Posted by adrnik
We use music for different occassions too. A Cd I want to have on as background music won't necessarily be enjoyed in my car or at a party. Music I listen to to inspire me or help me with my faith or use in church services probably looses a lot as background music. 



This is also true. Me: I'm kinda odd...I listen to music not according to the occasion nor my mood, but to the weather and stuff...


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Coraso

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jesusgirl
I don't believe that a certain sound should be categorized. But just because we enjoy something doesn't mean it's what we should be listening to. It would be nice to be able to shrug off all concern and simply believe that what we like is good. The fact is, however, that we live in a very tainted world, and we need to be especially careful what we fill our minds with if we claim to be followers of the One who exhorted us to be in the world, but not of it.

P.S. Lucky for us Jarks, we're fans of a good influence!

This is a good point, except I don't think there was any discussion of argument on good vs. evil music, but instead on judging good vs. bad music (the latter referring to the actual quality of the music, not wheather it is evil or not)   


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jesusgirl

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I am well aware of what was being discussed. I just decided to bring something else to consider into the discussion. But...maybe it was a rather pointless thing for me to say...


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GuitarJark

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Reply with quote  #16 
You do have a point, we shouldn't turn off our brains and enjoy something without thinking about why we like it. There are some things that we as Christian shouldn't be enjoying at all or may find we are enjoying for the wrong reasons. So, not pointless.

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Coraso

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jesusgirl

I am well aware of what was being discussed. I just decided to bring something else to consider into the discussion. But...maybe it was a rather pointless thing for me to say...

Oh, ok. I was just making sure, and that's totally fine! Sorry if my post came off a little harsh, I didn't mean for it to be. And it is absolutely not pointless! Discernment is something we should always be doing, as the things we see and listen to can shape us into who we are.


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jesusgirl

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You didn't sound harsh. My reply probably came across as really defensive; sorry about that.


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I want peace but it's not what I'm used to.
I want love, but it hurts when it gets through.
I'm surrounded by people who don't think like I do.
Coraso

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jesusgirl

You didn't sound harsh. My reply probably came across as really defensive; sorry about that.

Naw, it's all cool.   


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