Sunday, October 29, 2006

Being Pretty or Ugly Depends on Who's Observing

It’s interesting to me how some people can see or hear something and call it beautiful while others observing the same thing can call it ugly. Maybe others have no opinion of it at all.

There are certain things that every rational person agrees is good or bad. All but psychotics and sociopaths would agree that thievery and murder are bad. And almost everyone agrees that having a good deal of wealth is better than living in poverty.

Those situations can be viewed from an objective standpoint. But even some subjective viewpoints can be generally agreed to by the vast majority of people. For example, almost everyone agrees that the sight of the Grand Canyon is awe inspiring. On the other hand, most folks would look with disgust at a puddle of fresh vomit.

What is most interesting, however, is that there are works of art or pieces of music that some people consider to be aesthetically very pleasing while others find them abhorrent.

Consider a famous painting such as the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, for example. It is obviously appreciated by most art connoisseurs. And there must have been some reason for it to become a priceless work. But if someone unfamiliar with the painting were to view it, he or she might very well consider it quite ordinary. What quality or qualities about a work of art make it pleasing, or expensive?

The same is true of music. Some people love listening to the classics, such as the masterpieces of Mozart and Hayden. Others find them boring. It probably depends on what aspect of music one finds most enjoyable: beat, rhythm, melody, etc.

For example, I find most music that is played on any Top-40 radio station abhorrent. But obviously the majority of music listeners enjoy it or else it wouldn’t be in the top 40. To me, most modern Pop and Country music is simplistic and trite.

I also tend to really loathe songs about certain subjects, regardless of the genre. For example, I really can’t stand songs about vehicles. There were a lot of early Pop songs written about hot rods, and there still is a lot of Country music written about pickup trucks.

I also can’t stand songs written about or for dances. That would include songs like Do the Twist, Do the Locomotion, The Bump, or Do the Watoobee. And I also find songs written about a specific genre of music very uninspired, such as Old Time Rock and Roll, C-O-U-N-T-R-Y, or that old Country song from the ‘70s, Kindly Keep it Country.

It’s not that I only enjoy songs with more substantive value; I also like a few with frivolous lyrics. But I generally prefer music that requires some semblance of imagination.

With paintings, though, imagination is not a requirement. I like realism in a painting. I can understand Impressionism and admit it takes talent to pull it off, but when looking at a painting, I prefer the ones that appear almost photographic.

In art and music, as in religion and politics, there is lots of room for personal preferences. I guess that’s a good thing, because otherwise, there would be only one or two genres of music and all art would look the same.

For that reason, I guess I can admit that there is a place in the music world for Rap, as long as it doesn’t invade my ear space.

No comments: