20 July 2006

A follow-up on DMB and BFF

I knew that my post on DMB and BFF would raise a few hackles, and thanks to Carrie and Katy for offering other points of view. I certainly know that many people love the music of Dave Matthews and Ben Folds, finding in it everything I can't. And it's great to have that voice represented here.

I would like to touch on something mentioned in Carrie's comment, since I think it could inspire further discussion.

Carries mentions feeling unsettled by my comment "life feels more manageable because for at least one track, someone else can feel your feelings for you," saying instead, "What I connect to so intensely in Ben's music is his provocation of intense feeling in me, not for me."

And I realize that my point was not as clear as it could be. What I meant was that a frequent joy of pop music is recognizing my own feelings in someone else's music. It's not that I stop feeling but that I feel a rush of connection as I hear a private emotion recreated in a song. Sometimes, the song articulates something I couldn't express yourself, and so does seem to be "feeling for me," but I never give my feeling over to the artist. As Carrie says, I just have my own emotions provoked.

So that's a bit of clarification. Please keep discussing if you feel so inclined!



At 10:34 AM, Blogger Laura B said...

Dear sweet Aretha, now that I am FINALLY hooked back into the 21st, no 20th, nay make that early 20th century invention called electric power, I can get my blog on.

While I loathe DMB (mostly for the constipated howl of DM himself and their inability to innovate much within their gimmick of proggy-newgrass-pop-rock), I used to like them in high school. Same for BFF, although I did recently have a hilarious bonding moment with a new friend as we sang along to BFF in his car.

We can all argue back and forth, but the point is that we all listen for, react to, and latch onto different things in music. For me, lyrics aren't so important, but extremes in either direction will get my attention. For you, drummers who play in 11/8 time and can smack the hell out of a good polyrhythm while still keeping a booty beat might not be so important, or even distracting. That's the benevolent nature of pop music: there's such a glut of it that we can all find something that we enjoy.

I also think that the image of many of these artists (and their fan bases) plays into how we react to their music--hence Katie's description of frat-boy music, or earnest chick-rockers. It also affects what shape their future output will take; if DMB hadn't become wildly popular, would they have continued to churn out the same type of music? Or would they have started experimenting with electronic sampling, or maybe stripped down their sound to something a bit more austere or simple?


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