Bad Music: The Music We Love to Hate by Christopher J. Washburne, Maiken Derno

By Christopher J. Washburne, Maiken Derno

Why are a few renowned musical kinds and performers universally reviled via critics and overlooked by means of students - regardless of having fun with large-scale reputation? How has the suggestion of what makes 'good' or 'bad' tune replaced through the years - and what does this let us know concerning the writers who've assigned those tags to diverse musical genres? Many composers which are at the present time a part of the classical 'canon' have been greeted at the beginning via undesirable studies; equally, jazz, nation, and pa song have been all as soon as rejected as 'bad' via the academy that now has classes on them. This publication addresses why this is often so via a sequence of essays on assorted musical types and performers. The authors examine alternative ways of judging musical functionality past pompous academia and snobbish song feedback, and indicates new paths to stick to in realizing what makes a few tune 'popular' no matter if it really is judged to be 'bad'. For somebody who has ever secretly loved ABBA, Kenny G, or disco, undesirable track could be a in charge excitement!

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Additional info for Bad Music: The Music We Love to Hate

Sample text

People don’t just have unmet musical expectations, thwarted ideals of musical performance, occasion and experience, but feel that these ideals are being sullied. I want to note two aspects of this immediately. First, such a sense of sacrilege depends on a particular kind of musical understanding. Second, music here is making people angry because of its ethical rather than technical shortcomings (which is why we can be made angry by music in which in other circumstances we delight). I will turn now to a related but I think different kind of anger, rooted in issues of identity.

It evokes, too, Henry Ford’s sponsorship of barn dances for workers to promote the health of white culture, which he viewed as under assault by Jewish bankers and ethnic minorities (Peterson 1997, 59–66). Literary scholar Cecelia Tichi finds redemption in the unacknowledged (she claims) artfulness and complexity of country music, which she discovers in a curiously narrow and nonrepresentative sample of artists and songs with a distinctively bourgeois appeal, and which she forcefully and forcedly equates with the paintings of Edward Hopper and the poetry of Walt Whitman (1994; see Whisnant 1995).

Leaving aside the impossibly rich image of Adorno inventing country music in the 1930s, we can see in this flat dismissal exactly the judgment of value that William Ivey, Cecelia Tichi, and George Bush invoke (through a pointed absence) as a foil for their own enlightened appreciations. Debates about the boundaries of authenticity in country music are so common in the academic and journalistic literature on country as to virtually define the intellectual terrain across which country can be critically approached (Ching 1993, 2001; Dawidoff 1997; Fox 1992; Jensen 1998; Malone 2002; Peterson 1997).

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