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  1. #1
    Ratchet Ass Moon Fairy Comeback Girl's Avatar
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    Default Who or what determines what is good or bad taste?

    You know those songs that you hear on the radio everyday? Not the ones that are in the charts at the moment, but the songs that seem to have been rusted into the playlists of most regular radio stations over the years. A few weeks ago, I realized something about these songs: when these songs first came out, no one I knew actually gave a fuck about these songs. No one really liked them, no one really hated them, they kind of fell into the 'meh' category. They still fall in the 'meh' category. Yet someone (radio stations? DJs?) determined that these were the songs that we should keep listening to, because they were 'good taste'. Meanwhile, when I look back at the songs that people actually liked back in the day, these songs are the songs that are considered to be 'bad taste' nowadays. They've become 'guilty pleasures'.

    Of course, I'm just in my early twenties, so you could say that this is just because I'm barely out of my teen years, so teens were pretty much my reference group and teens are basically known for their bad taste. Unfortunately I'm not just talking about my peers. I remember how around 2000 my parents and pretty much all their acquaintances who fell into their category (high brow, intellectual baby-boomers) were all crazy about Ricky Martin, Enrique Iglesias and Jennifer Lopez. Now come on, how many people would not react ashamed if they were caught listening to 'Livin la Vida Loca', 'Hero' or 'Let's get loud' nowadays? Who would proudly admit that they like to listen to this music, without any excuses like or trying to convince the rest of the world that their ACTUAL taste is waaaaay better? Very few, I can assure you.

    (Before you get curious about what music I listen to: last Thursday I spent hours listening to early Britney Spears songs. Yes, that is bad taste. But trust me, Thursday I actually had a very good day. If you ever decide to take a peek into my music collection, I guarantee that next day you'll be in a morgue. And you'll be dead. Because if I have to scale the badness of my taste in music from 1 to Big Mac, it would be three large Big Mac menus with extra cheese and on the Big Macs, a shitload of ketchup, extra salt on the fries, five Red Bulls and a McFlurry. That bad.)

    Now I'm just curious: how do 'we' as a collective determine what 'we' should like and which elements of the past we'd like to keep socially acceptable for the future? Whose job is it to decide what stays okay and what doesn't? Do you agree that it's necessary to divide preferences movies and music into a 'totally' and a 'guilty pleasure' category?

    And who would I be to not finish this way too long post with some 'bad music'?
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Comeback Girl View Post
    Now I'm just curious: how do 'we' as a collective determine what 'we' should like and which elements of the past we'd like to keep socially acceptable for the future? Whose job is it to decide what stays okay and what doesn't? Do you agree that it's necessary to divide preferences movies and music into a 'totally' and a 'guilty pleasure' category?
    This is a great question, so thanks for bringing it up.

    Firstly, I would say that the answer depends a lot on what kind of music you are listening to. However, in the mainstream music industry, this question is ultimately determined by a combination of market forces and the images Hollywood tries to promote as fashionable. Whatever music the drones keep buying (and increasingly, downloading over the net) will be maintained, and vice versa. You probably already understand that most music you hear on the radio now is most of a business venture than an art, and for this reason it is becoming quite homogenized. The idea of the artist expressing himself through music is an unfashionable, Romantic concept which conflicts with managers' expectations.

    Thankfully, we have the internet. This means that any music which deserves to persist can persist if people have the will to promote it perpetually.

    To talk a bit about what I'm more familiar with, I believe that academic institutions are as out of touch as studios, if not more, with what kind of music people actually want to listen to. Probably due to most of them being born in the 40s, 50s and 60s, they promote modernism and discourage form and order in music, but all they have to do is go onto Youtube and see what pieces of music have the most hits. I can see this playing right into my hands, but yeah.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Amalie Muller's Avatar
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    I determine what's good and bad taste. Me alone.

    Good taste: Regina Spektor, Taylor Swift, Joanna Newsom, Bjork.

    Bad taste: Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Alanis Morissette, Britney Spears.


  4. #4
    Senior Member Jaguar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amalie Muller View Post
    I determine what's good and bad taste. Me alone.
    Ditto. The word "we" in the OP makes me break out in hives.

  5. #5
    Google "chemtrails" Bush Did 9/11's Avatar
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    I'll bite.

    Remember when the Library of Alexandria got burned to the ground, and we lost a shitton of.. well, everything? We probably won't have that problem anymore. We can store stuff digitally. Or photocopy. There's very little that would need to be physically preserved. (Although...)

    What should we 'preserve'--as in, emphasize and pass down? Whatever we wind up passing down and prioritizing. It's a natural force. There's no 'should' about it--whatever will be passed down will be passed down. Our collective taste is just a sign of our time, just as music from the early 60s and from the mid-1800s.

    Although we have catalogs such as the 'Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum' and archives of Top 40s, they do more 'housing' than 'dictating' what we ought to preserve.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kullervo View Post
    To talk a bit about what I'm more familiar with, I believe that academic institutions are as out of touch as studios, if not more, with what kind of music people actually want to listen to. Probably due to most of them being born in the 40s, 50s and 60s, they promote modernism and discourage form and order in music, but all they have to do is go onto Youtube and see what pieces of music have the most hits. I can see this playing right into my hands, but yeah.
    Rutgers Researchers Crack Pop-Song Formula
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