What Is 'Good Music?'
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The other day, while reading my music textbook, I came across a column about judging song quality. According to the authors, a musical piece should be judged "by its ability to withstand repeated listening". They also claimed that a good song's lyrics "should have social relevance." I find this ridiculous; and not only this, but the whole idea of judging music in general.

First of all, it is a quite blatant and indisputable part of the human nature to group and compare just about anything in the world; music being no exception. To give an example, every time an artist innovates, instead of embracing the new product, we desperately try to bury it under some preexisting genre. Of course, if the song really is original, this ends up being an unfeasible task and we end up raging a battle of subjectivity over which genre it resembles the most. One should simply head over to a somewhat experimental artist’s YouTube page for proof. In addition, every time someone asks us whether we enjoy listening to music, in case of a positive answer, the succeeding question almost always demands of us to state a few genres we enjoy; this often followed by the labeling of a few other genres as “bad.” Again, the proof of this should be encountered by any somewhat outgoing person at least once in their life.

I find this all absurd. And the practice of trying to label music as "good" or "bad" is made even more ridiculous when it is not only practiced by casual listeners, but by people with actual musical training as well. What we need to realize is that once we label a sound as music, we are already implying its pleasant nature. We are implying that the sound we are dealing with carries some kind of harmony and is pleasant to at least some people’s ears. If it did not, we would not call it music to begin with; we would call it noise. An interesting phenomenon though is Noise Music. As the name would suggest, it exists on the border of noise and music. But still, even it should be, and is rightfully so, labeled as music, for it is a deliberate manipulation of unpleasant sounds that, as a result, actually end up sounding good to some people.

Long story short, it does not matter how important a song is, how complex it is, how good it sound to you or me. no matter how much we judge, no matter how many people agree with us, whilst dealing with this subject, we are fundamentally subjective, influenced by dozens of factors from the geopolitical situation of our era to the personalities and tastes of our families and friends. No matter what the critics want us to believe, there is no bad music. Art that is hated now still has a chance of becoming "classic" in the future. Led Zeppelin, a critically acclaimed Rock band that nobody dares disdain nowadays, was very poorly received initially, especially by the musical elite. Still, eventually, this very elite, reformed and modified to adapt the ever-changing times, contributed to making it the household name it is nowadays.

What I want to say is, do not disrespect musicians and their fans and keep your tastes to yourself. And if anyone tries to scorn you for the music you enjoy, ignore them. They will never be able to prove your tastes bad, and neither will you.


Reference:


What's That Sound?: An Introduction to Rock and Its History
by John Covach and Andrew Flory
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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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