Monday, March 12, 2018

Music has meaning

I want to spend some time on music this week. Then I'll get back to misogyny, although there is some in today's post, which is part of why it's even necessary.

Last week I gave three different acts tepid - if not actually bad - reviews. Even giving one always gives me a a fair amount of distress and guilt and self-doubt, so not having anything that I liked there made it kind of a rough week. That was worse with Patent Pending because while I don't know for sure that anyone that I like loves them, they are still pretty adjacent to a lot of musicians I like.

Musically I like Patent Pending more than the other two, but a big problem for all of them was lyrical content, and some of the self-doubt centered on that. Is it fair to downgrade a band because I don't like what they're saying? Obviously that's reasonable for personal listening, but I also try to remember that tastes vary and people have different needs, and it's okay that a band that isn't for me may be very important for someone else. Did I review appropriately as someone who looks beyond personal preferences?

That's where the misogyny comes in.

If I had listened to Patent Pending a few years ago, I may have let them slide. After all, when you are listening to a band singing about how Princess Peach isn't worth it, and how this girl doesn't care and this one is plastic, et al, you can always tell yourself that they wouldn't think that way about you. Some women really are shallow and mean, and it's not even meant to be taken that seriously because Princess Peach is a video game character, ha ha!

I mean, really, that's why they made me think so much about emo.

Maybe that means it's time to talk about "Bedroom Talk" by The Starting Line.

When I was at the beginning of my emo listening, I thought they were so emo it was funny, and then I started to like them, especially that song, and then I looked up the lyrics.

First of all, the guitars are good. I like that part. The vocals have a pleading to them that is probably part of why I thought they sounded "so emo". On that level it sounds romantic. Lyrically, it says "I'm gonna tear your ass up like we just got married and you're all mine now."

That is considerably less romantic.

It doesn't have to be that way. "I'm going to make love to you like we just got married" probably sounds too trite, but there could be another way of expressing it that doesn't sound painful and violent for her.

It could could still work on another level, like if you were exaggerating the animal passion for humorous effect but both sides were into it, but the girl doesn't get to have a lot of say in it. There are references to his big plans, and references to him needing to put her out like a fire. He is in a hurry, and she is not, but she still needs to do what he wants. You can totally have a song that only sees one point of view too; that is not necessarily bad.

However, when there is only one point of view, and in that point of view the other person is clearly only an object, who must therefore be subject to the other's will, then it isn't even surprising that violence comes up, because why not? It can be gratifying for the subject and the object doesn't matter.

I know that sounds like overthinking, but look where it has gotten us. Look at how many young gymnasts have been molested, and aspiring actresses raped and physically injured and had their dreams killed. Look at how many brilliant minds have had things happen during their post-graduate work that caused them to change fields. Look how many ideas have been ignored in meetings.

Look at the kind of narcissistic greedy predator that got elected.

This is not saying that all lyrics have to be about serious subjects, but the mindsets that are out there matter. To feed into something harmful without examining it does damage.

It matters.

And if I can't really enjoy a band that doesn't see that, I stand by that.

And if their music is so compelling that I can't help but enjoy it, I will still be aware, and I'll note that in the review too.

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