Axis of Awesome: Proves Dave’s Point

I'm going to do my best to keep this short, dear readers, because my colleague Dave has already summed up this issue so well in his post Jay-Z and the Dixie Chicks. He wrote:

"Its been my opinion that there are only three genres of music: Classical, Jazz, and Pop.

…music genre within these three is defined by the social contract of the audience's expected behavior. During classical performances, the audience sits quietly and applauds only after the set is finished. At jazz concerts the audience is expected to clap after solos as well as the end of pieces, and at pop concerts, the audience is allowed to do whatever it wants, whenever it wants. For some reason it is easier to lump artists in the first two genres into their respective category and sleep soundly at night knowing that Franz Schubert and Iannis Xenakis are both Classical composers, and Charlie Parker and Ornette Colemen are both Jazz sax players."

Dave was saying that the average listener will turn on the radio and hear a diverse array of music from different backgrounds and styles, but in reality they are all pop music and therefore more similar than dissimilar. This strikes a chord (music pun) with listeners who in someway define themselves by their musical tastes. I'm sure you all know someone who will throw out blanket statements like "I hate country music." or "rap sucks". Dave makes the point that structurally, all this music is similar (the same?) and the differences exist in surface level texture and marketing. And I quote:

"The only difference between the Ramones and Taylor Swift is a mini skirt and a distortion pedal."

I have recently been fortunate enough to stumble onto the comedy stylings of The Axis of Awesome, and a performance piece that illustrates this point.

I'm not trying to offend anyone here, this isn't a bad thing, just a true thing. I get it that music preference is a big deal to people, myself included. I just think that it is important to realize what is actually going on below the surface. Dave has also written an article that I feel is deserving of a read (or re-read) entitled Listen More and Hear Less, which talks about how portable music has de-educated us all about music. Listening to music 100 years ago meant knowing someone who played it, or attending a live show. 50 years ago meant sitting in your living room around your enormous record player. Now we are bombarded with music constantly, and while it is great that we can hear so much new music, we are losing the ability to actually Listen to it. We rarely just sit and listen to music as entertainment anymore, it has become the background track to our lives. iPod on waiting for the bus, stereo blasting while your cleaning the house. Anyway Dave sums it up much better and you should read the original post.

Now onto a technical note. As you have probably noticed Those Who Dig has recently received a little face lift. Part of the new layout is a revamped comment system. We would really like to hear from all of you out there in dig nation, so give it a chance. I would like to say thank you for anyone reading this article. This site means a lot to me and I know it means more than you can know to Dave, Kyle, and Steve, so show 'em some lovin'. Leave a comment, send them an email, buy a pint glass. They pour their hearts and souls into this. And if you haven't checked out the newest arm of Those Who Dig head on over to The Digcast and check out their podcasts. You dig?

Ivan

Ivan digs everything about music. He is fascinated with the accessibility of music and the ability of everyone on this planet to create it, and writes to help more people appreciate that fact. He is currently based in Milwaukee, WI.

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