Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Sippican Cottage Musical Test dell'Acidità

Everyone likes what they like. They don't know why they like it. They assemble reasons to explain their affection after the fact. It's a weird form of post hoc ergo propter hoc. Because things happened in sequence, the first caused the second. With pop music, it's a sequence of one thing. I like it. Fire up the confirmation bias furnace. Unroll your cart-building plans after the horse steps on your foot. He couldn't do that if he had a cart in front of him.

I mentioned pop music, but music is no different than any other topic in this regard. Everyone works backwards. It goes something like this:
  • I like it
  • If I like it, it's good. No way I could like something bad
  • If I like it, there must be a good reason
  • I am wise, so the entity that produced the thing I like must be important
  • Liking important things makes me more important
  • If you do not like what I like, it's because you're a philistine
I have never successfully convinced another human that it's perfectly OK to like dreck. I have pointed out many things that are dreck to persons who liked them, but did not think they were dreck. This always led to one of two reactions, either of which resulted in enmity towards me, not the thing itself:
  •  You're right, it is dreck. I can't like dreck, so I can't like it any more. I hate you for ruining my fun
  • It's not dreck. [Insert name of person with no talent here] is a genius, and [insert name of magazine here] says so.
The whole mindset leads to 50 year old men telling you that Motorhead is Mozart, and Camille Paglia telling you that Madonna is Moliere.

So, to make things easier, I've invented the Sippican Cottage Musical Acid Test:

If you're from Liverpool, and your composition is played Santuario-di-Madonna-di-San-Luca-skiffle style by five Bolognese men a half a century after you wrote it, you're on to something with your approach to songwriting. That's as far as I'll go.


Johnny Glendale said...

While I certainly don't hate you, I do think of you with curious amusement every time I hear "Sultans" (not a masterpiece, but, personally, enjoyable). I also always turn it up and try to find what repulses you so. Haven't found it yet.

Leslie said...

I like all kinds of dreck that have only personal, time transporting qualities- doors to memories I have forgotten. It is enough. No one has my memories, so no one needs to like what I like. I do like you, despite dissing some of my dreck.

Anonymous said...

You have a great impact on others.
I never realized I hated snout houses so much, or why, until you clarified it.

Leon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leon said...

He lives! Johnny beat me and Gerard to the punch line. But seriously I've missed your challenging my thinking and vocabulary and sincerely hope you've be successfull in whatever endeavor it is that's kept you too busy to write. (Why do I find typos after I publish a comment? )

Casey Klahn said...

Did you read that California Buddhist book, "This is some good drek?"

I like your theory of like causality.

Mike Anderson said...

The whole dreck-to-Philistine thing resembles our culture's neverending Quest To Be Cool. And the harder you try, the un-Cooler you get. I just admit there are no moral qualities to cheeseburgers, Mexican beers, or bebop, but I like them because they're Stupid Fun, you're not a bad person if you don't, and that's enough.

Sam L. said...

Mr. Sippi, if THAT is as far as you'll go, I guess that's good enough for me. It usually is. And today's pretty usual for me.

Larry Geiger said...

You like this one because it sounds a lot like the spare heir? Or is he there in the background? And the rhythm is sort of like how he would play it?

SippicanCottage said...

Hi Larry- I hope you're swell.

I love that the drummer in this video has one arm in a sling.