This'll probably feel more like a blog than a forum post but I thought I'd share it anyway.
You know what really grinds my gears? People who rave about "amazing" bands and songs when said bands and songs have done nothing of note worthy of them being given that label. Call me a music snob if you will, but I personally feel that music should popular because it's good not good because it's popular. I recently argued about this with a friend (a more or less dickish friend that pesters and annoys me at every opportunity, I really don't know why we are friends at all really) after he'd posted on facebook about the line-up at T in the Park. I replied to it with "Congratulations capitalism. There's one awesome band there." - I was referring to Airbourne, whoare batshit insane live and in it for their fans. Admittedly, when I made that remark, I had not noticed a couple of not-so-bad bands (Madness and The Prodigy to be precise; they each have some enjoyable songs). Of course he had but one option: the "personal opinion" card that everyone plays. "Music is based on personal opinion" he says. "Good music is based on talent" I says. "No, good music is based on talent too" he says. Now I didn't know how to come back to that at that time, but after a few days I had a brain wave - I didn't post it though, I thought there was no point going back since it would just look like i was clutching at straws. But anyway, I came to the realisation that the wankerchief was wrong. Good music is not based on opinion, enjoyable music is. Good music still relies on talent, and the appreciation of more than a single generation of listeners.
To me, I feel that for a song to be truly great, each area of the song must be a masterpiece in it's own right and it must be appreciated by different generations of listener. As an example, I'm going to use Judas Priest's Locked In and Underdog by You Me At Six. Ignoring the fact that I personally feel that love and relationships are such a cliched basis for songs to be written about in today's mainstream music industry, I've picked these two songs because that's what they're more or less about. Now when I look at each area of these songs (the vocals, drumming, guitar work and bass playing) I see a great contrast. You have Rob Halford's incredible voice coupled with Josh Franceschi more or less talking to a beat with a mediocre vocal talent. You have Glenn Tipton and Ken Downing powering into the strings with intense solos coupled with Max Helyer and Chris Miller playing the same note three times before switching to another note to be played in triplicate (occasionally breaking that monotony during the chorus). You have Judas Priest's drummer (the name of which I am at a loss to find, Wikipedia indicates that the drummer has changed often) keeping a good rhythym (although such songs as Painkiller and Ram It Down have much more impressive displays of brutal drumstick barrages, not to mention Ram It Down having a bloody awesome solo) coupled with Dan Flint hitting the same two drums for about ten seconds before switching to a generic drum beat at the chorus. Why should I even listen to a band whose members play instruments with as much finesse as I do, let alone consider them "amazing"?
See I've noticed that songs that are played with more impressive musical proficiency tend to last longer. Judas Priest have been around since the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and still have a huge fanbase that has now carried over a few generations - yet bands like You Me At Six tend to stay within the boundest of the generation within which it was conceived. I've often thought that bands like them only became popular because somebody liked it for whatever reason (however plausible or implausible that may sound) and eventually it spread and spread until eventually the music industry became trapped within a prison of capitalism and peer pressure where people (mainly those my age at around 19/20) are force fed new "amazing"/"stunning"/"essential" albums - by Joe Bloggs and the Mediocres, Planet Earth's next top cash cows - and only listen to it and like it because they believe their friends will and do too - imagine a circle of sheep all following the one in front of them forever - until it's reached the point where they've just brainwashed themselves into thinking that they like it to fit in with their friends. But that's just a theory.
The point I'm trying to make is that the music industry should be just like any other job - it shouldn't be easy and you shouldn't do it if you're not good at it. Why should I spend my hard earned money on the albums and live performances of a band that are as good as playing an instrument as I am? If people want to waste their money on mediocre bands churned out by the music ndustry then let them, I'll save my money on the bands and musicians that know how to entertain a crowd. You may think my comparison between Judas Priest and You Me At Six was biased and unfair (or you may not care less), but it had to be done to get my point across. Put it this way, why should I spend my money on Twilight when Dracula has been around much longer and does the whole vampire thing much better?
That felt good.