October 09, 2009


What is guiding music now, is there a guiding principle? It would appear that music--punk, underground, pop --(basically everything outside of hardcore political punk/Dead Prez lps)-- is being guided entirely by capitalism. As in Lady Gaga is Brokencyde is Pavement reunion. Morality is totally inconvenient frame, and capital is the only frame we really have to discuss or analyze, and, as my friend Kevin Erickson wrote to me yesterday "...it's eroded and displaced every other kind of values/morals language. But we don't like what it says about us
either, so we don't want to have any serious reckoning with this problem and we do whatever we can to duck that kind of accountability to ourselves and each other and we cocoon ourselves in every different flavor of evasion."

The current, all-pervasive resistance to meaning trend in music is a way of forgoing that conversation, that consideration all together. It is pretend. To assume that being against interpretation (or against anything bigger than whatever the singular listener might decide on a personal level) is somehow a more open idea (and somehow not political in and of itself), as if a work can be "just art", and that there should be no accounting for context , intent, it's makers point of origin--as if this is a flat, even world free of history. We cannot sever history; if we freed or suspended art from it's context--would it even still BE art? (We cannot sever history so that a swastika on an album cover can just be a mere decoration and exist on a purely aesthetic level.)

So what guides music now? Is capital the only language suitable? Available? Do we require a moral language?

Posted by jessica hopper at October 9, 2009 11:13 AM | TrackBack