The myths about ‘popular music’ in the late 20th and early 21st centuries…

I have read a number of posts on Twitter recently that have encouraged me to write this short blog, which some are likely to feel is somewhat of a diatribe.

These Twitter posts are not infrequent and reflect views clearly and widely held, that so-called ‘popular music’ is…and should be seen as… ‘on a par’ with music that is commonly described as ‘classical music’. Such a myth has been developed and encouraged by the ‘music industry’ (and in the case of the Beatles, by the city of ‘Liverpool’) over the last few decades and has meant an almost universal brainwashing of global citizens that this is indeed the case and that it is all accepted as ‘music’.

In the strict sense of a definition, of course, much of it is ‘music’, but the key issue for me is whether ‘art’ and especially ‘great art’ (of any type) is determined by the level of great (public and massed) adulation OR by its great content and quality. For me it is and should always be the latter.

It just cannot be, that even the ‘great’ Beatles, who managed to strum a few naive, repetitive and bland chords on a guitar to accompany some arguably catchy lyrics, could possibly be compared with even the weaker output of, say, JS Bach, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky or such composers. This is, frankly, an insult to anyone with reasonable senses or sensibilities.

So how have we arrived and this ludicrous point in civilisation given that, up to now and especially following the ‘age of enlightenment’, things have generally move forward and improved. I don’t have the answer for this ‘u-turn’ in our development as human beings, but it is clearly accelerating downwards based even on a cursory analysis of, say, Spotify. There we see a lot that makes even the Beatles look vaguely acceptable.