The Bane of Popular Music

by Subomi Plumptre

I’m beginning to appreciate why Jazz, Country and Classical music are in a class of their own (relative to popular music). It’s not so much the style of music, as the elevated thinking that is required to create, relate to and enjoy them.

It takes patience to listen to their musical story-lines. Experience is required to relate to them; exposure, to understand them and good taste, to appreciate them. Only a contemplative soul can discern the subtleties of instrumentation that accompany them. Music from these genres is not in-your-face or shamelessly obvious. It must take self-assurance and nobility of soul, to refuse to tow popular lines so as to create complex art.

Pop music is like brash sex without foreplay or seduction. It lacks finesse. Classical music is a three-course meal accompanied by vintage wine, in a deliberately chosen restaurant with mood lighting. It calls to your spirit and invites you to plumb its depth and build a lifelong friendship with it. On the other hand, popular music sometimes leaves a sour taste in your mouth. The unashamedly formulaic sameness troubles you. Its baseness and disrespect for sexuality alarms you. You wonder how an artiste could take a chorus, repeat it over & over, add a beat and present it as a finished work of art. Sometimes, popular music does a pretty good job of capturing in three minutes all the things wrong with a generation – the shallowness; commercialisation and desperation.

I’m beginning to acquire the patience that’s required for elevated music. I am broadening and stretching my musical range. Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of different genres, especially Country and its kin, Bluegrass. It’s been an exploratory journey. I wonder where else music will take me.

The unashamedly formulaic sameness of popular music troubles me. Click To Tweet

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