Friday, March 7, 2008

Guilty pleasures

Ah, one of my favorite music topics: guilty pleasures.

Composer Alan Theisen, looking smokin' hot in that jacket / shirt / tie combo, comes out of the metaphorical closet and proudly declares: Guilty pleasures? I don't need no stinkin' guilty pleasures!

I like the cut of his jib. I'm a prog rock geek, so it's somewhat assumed in that fandom that I'm a foe of disco and punk. Not so! I'm also a staunch advocate of hyper-complex serialism, so I'm not supposed to enjoy Puccini. Absolutely not true!

Now, to be fair, when I was a teenager and early 20-something, I was a horrible music snob. However, I was also a hypocrite: while railing against the 4/4 thump of disco --if it wasn't in 7/8 or 5/4 or 13/8, it was barely music to me, I'd loudly proclaim -- I secretly loved to bits songs like Stayin' Alive and I Feel Love and the glorious Dancing Queen, because, you know, they're brilliant pop records. Luckily, as I grew older, I realized that it wasn't the music so much as the tribal aspects of that snobbery that I was engaging in. Sometime in my late twenties, I started to categorize music simply along a bad > great continuum.

I still have some old aspects of that snobbery lingering around: I simply refuse to say that Billy Joel is as great a composer (he is a fine songwriter, however) as Beethoven as some silly pomo ironicists do, or that they even should be considered using the same critical parameters. However, I'm such a music slut that I'll listen to almost anything that isn't reggae (OK, I love a few Bob Marley songs) or minimalism and find something to latch on to.

I do have to disagree with Mr. Theisen on his choice of the Air Supply song he mentioned. It's obvious, duh, that Making Love Out Of Nothing At All is superior to
Even the Nights are Better. I mean, MLOONAA mentions sports!

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