I have been listening to pop / rock music from the very early 1960’s and can remember buying my first 45 single, namely Poetry in Motion by Johnny Tillotson in I think it was 1961.
For the last 50 years or so I have listened to rock, classical, jazz and a good deal of world music. I was thinking the other day that in every genre of music there are certain composers and performers I just “don’t get”
With classical music it is the compositions of Joseph Haydn (I am of the view he wrote the same symphony 102 times), WA Mozart (with certain exceptions), Benjamin Britten (vastly over – rated except for Sinfonia da Requiem) and amongst contemporary composers the cacophony produced by Harrison Birtwistle.
As far as jazz is concerned my blind spot is Charlie Parker (yes, I know this is heresy) and the whole band of “Be boppers” who sprang to the fore in the mid / late 1940s. I have tried listening numerous times (even bought CDs by Parker, Gillespie and Monk) but cannot make a connection with what they are doing.
Finally we come to the world of pop / rock music and no doubt I will invoke the wrath of some musicologists and fans of the artists I am about to list who I still “don’t get”……………..
Buddy Holly – insipid caricature of a performer, his records sound vacuous and anodyne and I do not understand why people think he is such an influence on modern rock music (I still think he looks like a Chartered Accountant who went through the wrong door and into some recording studios).
REM – devoid of musical creativity, made the same album several times over and created a middle of the road “generic sound” that appealed to millions (I am not one).
Oasis – the “wannabee” Beatles but with only a smidgen of the talent of the “fab four”……….surprised they didn’t get sued for ripping off Beatles melodies and doing it rather badly. Thank god we don’t have to put up with the punch-ups of the Gallagher brothers and the whining vocals of Liam any longer.
Coldplay – middle of the road compositions performed with polish but devoid of any emotional feeling and about as exciting as a bowl of shredded wheat. Enormously successful but I can find nothing in their music that is of interest to me.
The Clash – a band that have reached iconic status amongst music critics and performers and led by that man of the people Joe Strummer. A man of the “left” with real street cred, except for the fact he had a very privileged upbringing and went to “public boarding school”. The clash would jump on any left wing political bandwagon (the Billy Bragg of their day) and produce music that was dire, repetitive and obviously with “political” lyrics. Punk was a con, mainly talentless yobs and 99% of the music produced in that era has (fortunately) gone the way of all flesh.
I realise that my choices are contentious but these are artists I can find no emotional connection with. I am not saying they made “bad music” but just music that did not offer me anything.