Popular and obscure.

instantdeath999instantdeath999 Washed Up
edited March 2009 in History of Rock
I was going to post this in the Randomly Crap Out Your Opinion thread, but figured it was thread worthy.

Do you feel that it is more important to be familiar with pop culture, exploring mostly popular artists as a first priory, and then making your way to the obscure? Or should lesser known artists be of equal importance to discovering the influential and/or popular?

Because I have not been interested in music even half as long as many who frequent these forums, there is still well known music that I have not heard, like the entire Brit pop movement, the hair metal movement, or a great percentage of Jazz trends. However, I have found that I do often enjoy lesser known acts, sometimes more than the well known. I'll take noise rock over arena rock any day, for example. Of course, it works on the flipside. Despite being exposed to many great underground Thrash bands, I still love Metallica.

Or should popularity and influence be disregarded when listening to music, and be judged on substance?

I decided not to make a poll, considering all possible views/answers.

Comments

  • afterstasisafterstasis Washed Up
    edited March 2009
    your first priority should always be exploring music in a way that is most beneficial for you, but never get too comfortable or set in your methods.
  • l-o-tl-o-t Road Warrior
    edited March 2009
    I'd say obscure can be equally as imprtant as popular. But some things are popular just because they got lucky, you know? There's a lot of "unpopular" bands out there that I'm sure deserve as much respect as mainstream stuff.
    Of course popular stuff is easier to get into because it's so accesible. That's why I, now am just(relatively) starting to expand my musical world. I'm coming to realize I've only just splashed around a bit in the shallow end of the Rock pool. I think I'm starting to become more aware of the deep end...
    But then, Some popular bands are popular for a reason. Sometimes they really are among the best at what they do. And I suppose sometimes popularity can inspire a band to write deeper more complex material. The Who, for example, were so progressive with their music going from rebellious noise(good noise) to Tommy, to writing one of the best albums ever(Who's next) then being able to go right back into catchy Rock songs! Would they have made this progression if they had not been discovered and signed and exposed to the public eye? Who Knows?

    Iteresting disscusion you've opened up, I think. I'd like to hear from some of the guys who relly know what they're talking about.
  • warthogdbwarthogdb Opening Act
    edited March 2009
    I think sometimes folks spread themselves to thin in exploring all kinds of genres in a very shallow way and never probe deep enough to find what they might really like.
  • l-o-tl-o-t Road Warrior
    edited March 2009
    warthogdb;2145433 said:
    I think sometimes folks spread themselves to thin in exploring all kinds of genres in a very shallow way and never probe deep enough to find what they might really like.
    I'm afraid this could happen to me one day. I love music but I don't want to become a music snob, right? One who knows a lot about music but dosn't quite get it...
  • instantdeath999instantdeath999 Washed Up
    edited March 2009
    warthogdb;2145433 said:
    I think sometimes folks spread themselves to thin in exploring all kinds of genres in a very shallow way and never probe deep enough to find what they might really like.
    That's an interesting point. Is it better to know a few artists from multiple genres, or hundreds of artists from one genre?
  • ShadowolfShadowolf Unsigned
    edited March 2009
    Music is music, you just listen to whatever sounds good. For many, popular music artists are a gateway to lesser known ones, and the majority of underground acts recognize the influence of popular acts on their own sound.

    It's obviously really dumb to hate on artists just because they are popular. But I think for somebody to truly appreciate music, that they would make some kind of effort in seeking out some of the more obscure acts, and not base all their listening and music discoveries on radio, Rolling Stone, Grammy's, and charts, or whatever.

    The underground music scene offers a greater amount of choice in which we aren't necessarily force-fed singles-driven top names, and it has a diversity of artistic freedom that allows for a bigger flow of genres that are unrecognized by popular music.

    There isn't really a right or wrong way to listen to music or to make discoveries. I bet everybody started listening to something popular at first, and worked their way down before settling onto a range of bands in very particular genres. Sometimes, we repeat that step over again -- say, when some devoted metalhead suddenly discovers Sonic Youth or My Bloody Valentine or something, and works his way down from there yet again.
    Some underground genres, I feel, kind of required some kind of familiarity with the underground on some level before being easily accessed and found, as some of these genres have fewer strings attached to popular music genres to trace up to.
  • afterstasisafterstasis Washed Up
    edited March 2009
    warthogdb;2145433 said:
    I think sometimes folks spread themselves to thin in exploring all kinds of genres in a very shallow way and never probe deep enough to find what they might really like.
    i don't think you can go wrong by exploring more styles/genres...
    most casual listeners won't bother anyhow, so that mostly leaves it to those of us dedicated enough to dig deeper.

    true, it's a bummer how you'll rarely find someone who can name more than a few reggae or jazz artists ("yo dude, i love bob marley and sublime. i'm a total rasta head!"), but when it comes to people who actively check out a wide assortment of music it's in my experience that they do a respectable job.
    instantdeath999;2145443 said:
    That's an interesting point. Is it better to know a few artists from multiple genres, or hundreds of artists from one genre?
    i would say that variety is always a good thing, provided the person in question enjoys roughly the same amount of music in both scenarios.
  • Onslaught_feiOnslaught_fei Headliner
    edited March 2009
    I listen to music I like. I try not to over think music. Sometimes I explore and venture into new areas and sometimes I revisit old favorites.

    Popular artists have more influence and effect many bands. Lesser known artists come with a degree of integrity. I cant give you any formulas for exploring music.
  • GowienczykGowienczyk Pooper of Parties
    edited March 2009
    Variety is definitely important to develop the musical mind, it also narrows your ignorance (although it may refine your arrogance) to a field not common to the radio rock listeners. You should want to be as informed about music as you think you need to be and respect the effort put into works, especially.

    On the subject of limiting yourself to one genre, I mean it's good to know what you like but it's one thing to learn on a genre and another to make yourself narrow-minded to music as a whole by doing as such.

    ...or something like that.
  • instantdeath999instantdeath999 Washed Up
    edited March 2009
    Onslaught_fei;2145465 said:
    I cant give you any formulas for exploring music.
    I don't mean to come off like I'm requesting it, I'm just looking for opinions on the matter, considering I find many with the "if it's popular it sucks" attitude.
  • afterstasisafterstasis Washed Up
    edited March 2009
    instantdeath999;2145468 said:
    I find many with the "if it's popular it sucks" attitude.
    in order to further streamline your musical education i recommend acquiring a real life ignore-list for people who genuinely think popularity holds any sway over a piece of music's quality.
  • ArmsAreLoudArmsAreLoud Road Warrior
    edited March 2009
    If it's good, it's good. I generally lean towards more popular and well-known bands, simply because most of what I listen to is from reccomendation from others. However, ZO2, a virtually unknown independent hard rock band from Brooklyn is among my favorite bands of all time.
  • LolicatLolicat Road Warrior
    edited March 2009
    I don't think you used a good term. I think everyone should be familiar with 'pop culture', yes, but I don't think the music is itself that important, rather you should try and be aware of the influences of whatever movements are in question. That said, listening to a track by one or two bands never hurts, just to get an idea.
  • MronoCMronoC Road Warrior
    edited March 2009
    I just listen to what I feel like listening to regardless of how popular it might be or how many other bands have been on more "must-own album" lists.
  • Soror_YZBLSoror_YZBL Road Warrior
    edited March 2009
    The answer to the question is No.
  • onidragononidragon Road Warrior
    edited March 2009
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