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.

Good Friday

I am what many people would, quite accurately, describe as a non-practising Christian. However I was brought up in a society that reflected mainly/many Christian values and broadly respected the ’10 commandments’ for example. I would assume that many people would align themselves with this ‘philosophy’, even though they don’t ‘go to church regularly’, as they use (or possibly abuse) the ‘church’ for baptisms, marriages and when it comes to dying and, I feel sure, would resort to ‘talking’ to a ‘higher authority’ when faced with trauma or something/events beyond their normal day-to-day lives.

One of the problems with the demise of the ‘established church’ in the U.K., is that politicians (supported by those that voted for them) have also eroded many other parts of our established systems (and even the so-called and much maligned establishment) and ‘infrastructure’ and, as a consequence, left us with very little to ‘lean on’ when we need it most. This also means, of course, that other ‘things’ have stepped into the ‘void’ including shallow alternatives (largely generated by the media) and other established but mis-aligned (with our culture and values as a nation) religions that have not evolved in parallel with the (our) so-called ‘enlightenment’ that we in the U.K. ‘discovered’ in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Some of these religions, of course, still exhibit and ‘push’ the very values that we moved on from (and began to leave behind with massive consequences and quite literally pain for virtually everyone) in the 16th century. In turn these religions more than amply provide the fertile ground for ‘recruits’ and internal national and international conflict, that we are increasingly beginning to see in the early 21st century. For many. if not most, there is increasingly little to fall back on in a world of unlimited choice.

It seems ironic that we now have more choice than at any time in the history of the human being, having destroyed so much that would have helped us to determine what was good or bad, right or wrong, affordable or not, sensible or stupid etc etc. Let’s face it, choosing and then buying a coffee in the high street is a challenge these days, so how can we now possibly cope with the more important decisions.