Don't suck!
July 9, 2001 10:57 AM   Subscribe

Don't suck! Statistical analysis for this heretical popular music marketing idea.
posted by geronimo_rex (13 comments total)
Very interesting. Of course, any survey/product/report that includes the Eagles immediately loses credibility with me, since the Eagles are the worst band ever. Except maybe for the Beatles. Each had only good song - "Disco Strangler" for the Eagles, and "Tax Man" for the Beatles. Thank goodness Paul got out of that terrible Beatles junk and moved on to something worthwhile - Wings. But back on topic, it really is an interesting view on music & marketing.

P.S. I'm totally serious about the Beatles & Eagles - they really are lame.
posted by davidmsc at 4:33 PM on July 9, 2001

Whether or not you like the Beatles or the Eagles, Dave, can I call you Dave(?), you have to admit that historically, they were both important musical acts. (The Beatles far more so, IMNSHO, than the Eagles)

I'd be really curious as to why you think the Beatles, in particular, are lame. Do you simply mean that you don't like them? Or do you have some sort of deep insight into their alleged lameness?
posted by jaded at 5:31 PM on July 9, 2001

That's really small.
posted by rodii at 5:44 PM on July 9, 2001

Jaded: Of course - please call me turn, can I call you a cab? ;-) OK, Jaded it is.

Yes, means that I don't care for much of their music. Some of it was catchy ("Paperback Writer"), to be sure, while others ("Hey Jude" springs to mind) seemed to be pointless exercises in putting people to sleep. Beyond the music, however, was the near-revolution that the Beatles supervised, if not caused. It can be argued that the sharp decline in *morality* (hard to define, easy to spot) began with the introduction of the Beatles and their subsequent transition from quirky little pop tunes to New-Agey, hippie, counter-cultural icons. Far be it from me to discourage an occasional rebel yell, when necessary, but theirs seemed quite pointless and inspired only by their curiousity about how they could shock, offend, or otherwise the existing state of the culture. I know, it was mostly Lennon, but "the Beatles" get full credit.

In addition, the self-importance of both bands in the eyes of their current crop of fans is really off-putting. People seem to regard them as some sort of demi-gods who can do no wrong. I mean, let's get real - I love music as much (or more) than most, but I don't stop everything I'm doing and gaze vacantly whenever a great song is played. Nor do I loudly proclaim "(Insert band/artist here) is the greatest!" Music is just waaaay too subjective, largely, to proclaim any given artist/song as the "best" except for the individual who is listening. Remember Elaine's boyfriend who went *spacey* whenever "Desperado" came on the radio? Perfect example.

On the other end of the spectrum, as an example, is Bowie. His music rarely (until early 90s) was uninspired or boring, and he always sought to incorporate new sounds & techniques. His "rebel" nature manifested largely in his manner of dress & stage persona, which served to challenge commonly-accepted norms of gender, fashion, and identity.

Am I splitting hairs? Perhaps. But the very least, Bowie made counter-cultural statements that looked good, rather than simply shaggy & unkempt.

And I will acknowledge that both the Eagles & Beatles were, historically, significant (but so was Hitler). ;-)

Hope this helps explain my attitude.
posted by davidmsc at 5:50 PM on July 9, 2001

Um...I didn't mean for my second post to be so small. I don't know how it happened. Did I forget to close by > in my first post, which affected all following posts?
posted by davidmsc at 5:51 PM on July 9, 2001

Small be gone.
posted by kindall at 5:57 PM on July 9, 2001

Crap. Didn't help, did it?
posted by kindall at 5:57 PM on July 9, 2001

small no longer?
posted by youhas at 6:43 PM on July 9, 2001

David: A cab won't be necesary, I'll catch a bus. yeah.

That's precisely the kind of...thoughtfull...answer I was hoping for. And for the most part, I'd have to agree with you. One of my biggest pet peeves about musical conversations is the "qualitative" statement thing, i.e. statements such as "the Beatles suck", when in fact they mean "I don't like the Beatles". I'm not really a big fan of the Beatles, myself, so I'd agree with much of that, to a point, anyway. I seem to recall a link, don't know if I saw it here or elsewhere, to an analysis of the Beatles lyrics as being mundane, which actuallly explained their popularity....but I digress...

I'm going to have to disagree with you on the post 90 bowie, though. I happen to think that his last couple of releases are pretty good. Sure, he's jumped on the "electronica" bandwagon, but I can think of worse things for him to do (cough, Blue Jean), and I can think of worse people to do it, (cough cough, Madonna). I'm inclined to give the guy a little credit and view it more as an experiment, and a realization that "hey wow - there's this entire new soundscape I can work with", rather than him just jumping on for the electronic-popularity ride.

At any rate. That evergreen "study" shows one thing, if nothing else.....there's just no accounting for taste.
posted by jaded at 6:45 PM on July 9, 2001

It can be argued that the sharp decline in *morality* (hard to define, easy to spot) began with the introduction of the Beatles

Wait, I'm confused. I thought the sharp decline in morality began with the introduction of ...

  • Inter-gender dancing;
  • Frank Sinatra;
  • Booklearnin';
  • Hot pants;
  • Elvis Presley;
  • Rap.

posted by geronimo_rex at 6:51 PM on July 9, 2001

I thought it began here.
posted by jpoulos at 7:51 PM on July 9, 2001

The nation went to fuck as soon as Kirk made out with that green chick on Star Trek.

By the way, I think Bowie's Earthling is one of his best works ever. He didn't merely jump on the bandwagon, he incorporated the style into his own sound.
Earthling doesn't sound like any other record of that late `90's time period.
posted by dong_resin at 9:36 PM on July 9, 2001

a great article, tho i disagree with a few of his main points, such as:

-napster was only a big deal because choice on radio and in stores had become restricted and focused on manipulatable, short term artists.

this rings false because the vast majority of napster users i knew fell into many categories - kids wanting top 40 / beatles floyd etc.; obsessives wanting to o.d. on their artist with bootleg live stuff, and endless remixes sometimes custom built; people interested in simply having whatever was handy to play on their desktop, and rotated random napster use with realaudio and the cdrom drive; and the people interested in obscurities, cheating the system, making pirate mixes, making cds with hundreds of tracks because that seemed neat, etc.

-cds will stay for a long time, but the record companies will die soon

uh, this seems like just wild guessing for the hell of it on the part of the author. if it were a scientific paper, i'd say his results were valid but his conclusions were unfounded.

there's a little fun to be had at RIAA's listing "hollywood sndtrx" as the #3 performer, sure, but there's a cool nascent meme here when you push on it. why ISN'T hollywood sndtrx every bit the... artist that, say, our despised eagles were? we all knew that kid in college who collected soundtracks. it's screwy, they have no substance, they're just a collection thrown together by the marketers, right?

but culture is valid because it is culture: top 40 is good and worthy of discussion because it is top 40; hollywood sndtrx is the hottest performer of the decade. genre as artist.
posted by mitchel at 10:48 PM on July 9, 2001

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