About
Content
Store
Forum

Rebirth of Reason
War
People
Archives
Objectivism

Post to this threadMark all messages in this thread as readMark all messages in this thread as unreadPage 0Page 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Forward one pageLast Page


Post 0

Friday, May 6, 2005 - 12:32amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Superb, James! This afternoon, I was being driven by my cameraman from A to B on a TV assignment. When I jumped into the car he had some headbanging caterwauling playing. I did my usual number. He said, "But millions of people love it." I said, "That's why the world is fucked." I came home to find your article in the queue, &, inspired & relieved, itched to post it immediately. Thank you for this breath of fresh air in the dreadful stench of contemporary cultural excrement.

Linz



Post 1

Friday, May 6, 2005 - 12:58amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
James,  I love that you're willing to listen to this stuff...

Please allow me to suggest a few "transitional" pieces so to lessen your shock.

Old Man by Art Garfunkel (Angel Claire album 1973 or so)
Fragile by Sting (Nothing Like the Sun album 1987)
I Was Brought To My Senses by Sting (Mercury Falling album 1995?)
Daniel by Elton John (Don't Kill Me I'm Only the Piano Player 1972?)
Love is Blindness by U2 (Achtung, Baby! 1991)
With or Without You by U2 (The Joshue Tree 1987)


I can provide an online listening environment for these. We won't expose you to Rush until you can stomach these.

PS: I'm not optimistic. :-) 




Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Post 2

Friday, May 6, 2005 - 1:01amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
The worst part about reading SOLO articles has been realizing how worthless the bulk of my CD collection is. *Sigh*



Post 3

Friday, May 6, 2005 - 1:13amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
If it has value for you, don't get yourself turned away by everyone else ;)

I disagree a lot about what people dismiss here, because of several reasons, but I think everyone has its own favorite music and musicians/singers.




Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Post 4

Friday, May 6, 2005 - 2:32amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
A further thought—the key to the power of James' article is here:

"Anything that could even resemble romance or sentiment appears not to have been even considered. This music is the perfect accompaniment to the 'cool' personality that is victorious in our contemporary culture. It is detached, impersonal, and thereby, I gather by its own definition, profound."

I have often said that the tragedy of the contemporary young generation is the fact that honest sentimentality has been drummed out of it by pomo Comprachicos. This generation, & I guess the two before it, are in thrall to tawdry cynicism & clever-dick, smart-ass mind-games, the very things I made a point of repudiating in the SOLO Credo. "Cool" has an awful lot to answer for, not the least being the lifeless travesties of actually *being* alive that its practitioners exhibit.

Oh, to get them to realise what they're missing. Mr. Bissell, at least knows!! :-)

Linz



Post 5

Friday, May 6, 2005 - 3:51amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Great article, James. It certainly is a screwed-up world we live in when even "detached, impersonal" caterwaulings with few traces of melody are superior to most of today's classical music offerings.

And to think you sat through an entire CD of Yes! Now there's an hour of your life you deserve to get back. Come on, all you caterwaulers: if James can subject himself to such soul-deadening excrement, then the least you can do is listen to a CD of his choice. 




Post 6

Friday, May 6, 2005 - 4:59amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Well, James, you tried. I give you credit. Actually, I think I guaranteed that cd? Let me know...

James, I do agree with you to a point about the anti-capitalist mentality in Yes, and the philosophy is flawed, I never denied that.

Otherwise, I won't begrudge you your assesment, if you don't like it, so be it. I will issue with one statement, that you need drugs to listen to it. I DON'T need drugs, thank you very much, to enjoy Yes. I have heard them since I was 3 years old. And the line about the bikers is laughable, since I grew up in that environment, and the last thing they wanted to hear was Yes. Steppenwolf, maybe.



Derek M., "Come on, all you caterwaulers: if James can subject himself to such soul-deadening excrement, then the least you can do is listen to a CD of his choice."

We've been over this a million times, WE HAVE! Stop beating a dead horse. :)

But in response to the challenge, I did venture into Lanza land. I didn't not like it, and I'm glad I did it. I even learned to play "I'll Walk With God." But it wasn't earth-shattering, and Mario and I failed to connect emotionally. Not a bad thing, just not me.

And the diversity of life goes on...

James, thanks for trying it out.
(Edited by Joe Maurone
on 5/06, 5:00am)




Post 7

Friday, May 6, 2005 - 9:33amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
I'd also like to state that it depends on the kind of rock you are listening to. Especially, the modern progressive Rock from around the 80s to the late-90s is full of such Mystery-riddle-cryptomatic-"cool"-wording, because it was a time in which mystery and conspiracy were inspected by the pop-world.

I myself can't feel any attachment to most of this prog-rock music, because although it is on a high level of instrumental expertise, it has left the area of emotion and building feelings (may they be sad, happy or extatic or fear).

But I still find that there are many "alternative" or "independent" groups, at least in Europe, who make music that can reach your heart and pull it everywhere. Perhaps they have a too much altruistic and socialist point of view on some things, but at least the love-songs are sad/great :)

Perhaps it is hard for many of you, since you are a lot older and it always depends on what you listen during your childhood.




Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Post 8

Friday, May 6, 2005 - 9:45amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Something has happened to me recently. I turned forty in October last, and with that, I ceased to be able to listen to most music. Certainly most music played on the radio. Obviously theres nothing magical or significant about 40. What is significant is that I dont have time for the shit of this world anymore. I dont want to be amused, or get an adrenalin rush, or be stimulated by music so much as I want to be *enriched* on a deeper level. Life is too short.

thanks for the article James.

John



Post 9

Friday, May 6, 2005 - 10:18amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
I'm staggered by the the good will in your responses! I wish I was as grown up as many of you are.
I really do understand that music is a remarkably personal experience and there can be many reasons for identifying with any form it takes. I always hope that people will try music that I recommend because it has made such a difference in my life. But if they don't relate to it I don't think less of them. There are many Lanza songs that only a Derek, Barbara, Chris, Linz and me would defend ( and some that even we can't make excuses for).
Never let anyone talk you out of something that gives you pleasure in music. But always know that you may see things in a different light at a later time.

Lance, I may take you up on some selections later. If you never recommended any piece of music I like, you will always be high on my list for your incredible advise when I was having problems with my partner.

Linz, you and I are so alike in how we hear much music that it is almost scary. Even so, I am still forced to to be compiling a list of 10 pieces of music that you have missed just to spare your soul from eternal damnation.



Sanction: 6, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 6, No Sanction: 0
Post 10

Friday, May 6, 2005 - 10:51amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
James, I think we can all relate to the urge to share music that touches our soul, and to get someone who thinks they won't like it to say, "Wow!  Yes, I get it, now!"

Lance has come up with a list of what I call "Play it for your Mom Songs".  Here is a really short list of "if these don't reach you, nothing will" songs.

1)  "Kiss from a Rose" by Seal.  Crank this one, and let it just wash over you!  I don't think you'd call it rock; it's probably more correctly described as pop.  But this is one that absolutely grabs me and shakes me up to the core.  It's gorgeous.

2) "Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)", the Stevie Ray Vaughn version.  Originally by Jimi Hendrix, I prefer the Vaughn version because it's played much more precisely and sounds clean and sharp.  Totally different style from the first song, but in me, it evokes the same emotional reaction.

(Note:  I like opera.  I don't listen to it much, but I love a good tenor aria played nice and loud (or even better, live).)

Maybe we all ought to come up with a list of 10 or so songs, and make James a CD!  We'll convert him yet.

(Edited by Laure Chipman on 5/06, 10:51am)




Sanction: 11, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 11, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 11, No Sanction: 0
Post 11

Friday, May 6, 2005 - 10:57amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Sometimes Objectivists try too much to "objectivize" music. To make it something which is indisputably (and independent of the context of the listener) either objectively good or bad period. End-of-discussion-thank-you-very-much.

They are certain if they recommend the 'right' progression of opera or country and western or rock to their friends or to the universe, others will surely love it too, since for them it is so immediate, direct, and visceral. Or else there is something flawed about others or the world, something base or deficient in their sense of life or total passion for the total tonal quality. (Or the more techno-geeky spin out long complex theories about neurology and the activation of mental centers by certain kinds of tones...and propose these behaviorist stimulus-response fantasies as complete explanations of response to music.)

While you can proclaim as completely objectively bad or good some extreme examples, music is, for lack of a better word, one of the more 'subjective' art forms in a certain sense of the word, much more so than literature.

It is -not- subjective in the usual objectivist sense that the sounds and words don't have a meaning, a mood, an authorial intent or that whether one likes it has no rational standards or reason.

But it is in a certain delimited aspect of appreciation:

A very significant percentage of whether we -legitimately- like or don't like a particular piece or even a whole category of music involves:

1. Associations. The saying "music is the soundtrack of our lives" captures a lot of this. How old we were when we first heard it, what it brings back to us about the times and events of those days, whether we were in a happy period when we heard it on the radio over and over.

2. Cognitive stylistic preference or personal cognitive needs. Some people need complex music, such as some forms of classical music because they are drowning in oversimplification, rednecks, lack of sophistication or challenge in their surroundings or history or life or career. But other people -have- those things met to a large extent and are instead drowning in complexity or information overload or over-detail in their lives or friends or profession and need nostalgia, simplicity, essentialization. They might very rationally prefer some country and western singers or simple ballads or pop-rock from a simpler and more innocent decade like the fifties or sixties.

Sometimes (but not always) what we respond to is what fills gaps. One can say of a piece of music that it supplies what one is missing: a certain kind of emotionality, a certain simplicity or complexity, a particular mood, a purity of voice: It doesn't have to work for anyone else and, all together now, It Just Doesn't Matter. One can say of a piece of music or a song, whether by Elvis or Lanza or Beethoven: "You complete me".

There is much more to say on this subject and on other arts besides music, but this is a start.

--Philip Coates

PS, I don't remember the lectures well enough, but I seem to recall Peikoff making the point in, as I told him immediately afterwards, his best lecture series (Understanding Objectivism) that Objectivists should not feel they have to love skyscrapers because Roark and Rand did nor should they feel that somehow their senses of life were less well-developed.

And his making the point that contexts and associations differ and that there are NO, repeat NO, moral judgments to be made about esthetic choices more widely.

And how liberating this was for robots and people.
(Edited by Philip Coates
on 5/06, 11:03am)

(Edited by Philip Coates
on 5/06, 11:06am)




Post 12

Friday, May 6, 2005 - 11:14amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Philip, you are so right.  I agree completely.  But, admit it, don't you ever have the urge to say "Oh, just listen to this one, just really listen!  You've GOTTA love it!" 

I think I'm one of those techno-geeks you talk about.  There is definitely something different about the brains of people who like country music, vs. bebop jazz, vs. heavy metal.  I think this would be a cool subject for a dissertation in neurology or brain science or something.  I was thinking, hey maybe we could come up with a chart along the lines of the leftist-rightist, authoritarian-libertarian chart, only for music.  I'm not sure what the axes would be, though.  (see, techno-geek here...)




Post 13

Friday, May 6, 2005 - 1:07pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
James, I'm a Rush fan and I have a decent sense of your views on music based on what you write, and I can tell you right now that you will not like Rush.  At best you might acknowledge the respective chops they have on their instruments, but you will probably wish that you had those moments in your life back. 



Post 14

Friday, May 6, 2005 - 1:13pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Hi Laure,

"But, admit it, don't you ever have the urge to say "Oh, just listen to this one, just really listen! "

Oh absolutely! I was posting about the subjective or personal component of response to music. I didn't post about the objective component, that all other things being equal (namely the contextual or personal stuff I mentioned) would appeal to everyone. ( For example, there is a CD of baroque music called "High, Light, Bright, and Clear". Those qualities are clearly -in- the baroque just like passion and emotion, sweetness, resonance is in the voice of certain singers and would appeal were it not for the contextual personal stuff. )

" we could come up with a chart...I'm not sure what the axes would be, though. (see, techno-geek here...)"

Uh-oh. Watch out. Have you met Luther? :-)



Post 15

Friday, May 6, 2005 - 1:22pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Lance, I may take you up on some selections later. If you never recommended any piece of music I like, you will always be high on my list for your incredible advise when I was having problems with my partner.


James, that's very sweet of you to say. You were in a lot of pain then and I'm glad things are better for you.

I intend to give Lanza a good listen at some point. I see how excited you and others get about him and hope to find the same kind of experience.




Post 16

Friday, May 6, 2005 - 2:02pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
James,

I really enjoyed this article. As I listen to Lanza singing Questa O Quella (thanks Derek) I nod my head in agreement to Andrew Bissell when he writes

The worst part about reading SOLO articles has been realizing how worthless the bulk of my CD collection is. *Sigh*
amen, brother :)

I am just SO grateful I took that leap to trying (and at times perservering) with some of the magnificent Lanza and other music that has been introduced to me via this forum.

Cielo e mar, ach mein liebes Gott, Derek/Linz/James etc, what have you done to me with this dastardly infection?

*Sigh*  *Sigh*  *Sigh*

David




Sanction: 7, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 7, No Sanction: 0
Post 17

Friday, May 6, 2005 - 2:27pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
You complain about the mysticism, etc. in Yes' music. Of course you realize the same can be said of most Opera (and most music, in general). Wagner comes to mind.

I love Yes and I love Opera - go figure. It's a mistake to think of this as an either-or proposition. Each style of music has its place. I don't compare Yes to the great composers. Yes is a pop group. Their music must be approached from that context. Opera (for me) is the highest art form possible (Puccini the pinnacle of that). Yes is a very good pop band. Their music is highly melodic and harmonically sophisticated. Their music also has a great deal of passion.

Reading your article, I sense that you don't enjoy the style of pop music from the 60s on. Maybe you should pick up the "Symphonic Music of Yes" - a symphony orchestra playing Yes music (not a great album but at least the style won't get in the way). But, if you're looking for anything in pop music to approach what you get in romantic symphonies or operas, you're wasting your time.




Post 18

Friday, May 6, 2005 - 3:03pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Jordan, welcome!  Great to see you here.  :)

btw, not to hijack the thread, but that photo is hilarious.  :)




Post 19

Friday, May 6, 2005 - 3:10pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
quote:

Jordan, welcome!  Great to see you here.  :)

btw, not to hijack the thread, but that photo is hilarious.  :)

:)




Post to this threadPage 0Page 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Forward one pageLast Page
User ID Password reminder or create a free account.