68 - Michigan Daily Weeke Maga ine - Tiursdaygtober 16, 1997
(Weekend, etc. Column
Let us take a bit of a journey, shall
A trip into the superior. self-ritht-
eous mind of the music critic.
I notice you cringe slightly. A little
out of fear, perhaps. Could it be you feel
disdain for the haughtily sophisticated,
trendily cultured and loftily high-
browed opinions of the music critic?
Could the wrinkled brain of the mod-
ern music critic - undoubtedly as
The Michiganfaily Weekendi Ma
Stores Car wide sel<
pierced, tattooed. goateed and swathed
in loose-fitting velvet as the bohemians
themselves - untap some kind of
deep-seeded anxiety for the average,
slightly timid reader?
Fear not, my friends. Allow me to
simplify the complexly artistic mind of
the critic into a slightly less intimidat-
ing credo of sorts, outlining some logi-
cal foundations of these judgmental
gods of rhythm and dance.
N If it's country, it sucks.
The Fugees are the cutting edge of
Anything by anyone who's bitter,
disgruntled or generally dissatisfied
with the state of society is deep, dark
and, hence, sophisticated.
This includes anything by the follow-
ing groups: lesbians, black people
angry at The Man, white people disillu-
sioned because their parents have too
much money and also anyone in gener-
al who refuses to bathe on a regular
As soon as any of the aforemen-
tioned people become embraced by pop-
ular audiences, they have sold out and
thus aren't truly counter-culture any-
more. Therefore ...
U Anything that
can be classified as
modern pop is
devoid of soul,
heart and artistic
is good, If it's a
popular product of
a time before this
decade, it's some-
CHRIS how innocent and
FARAH free of all the cor-
A A's rupting influences
that make modern
pop so devoid of
soul, heart and artistic integrity.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying I
personally agree or disagree with any of
I think lots of black people have good
reason to be angry at America's social
structure, and I think a lot of them make
pretty good music - although just as
many make pretty bad music, too.
Rather than inspire me to join a line
dance for some down-home fun, coun-
try music usually makes me want to get
in line for a bottle of Pepto Bismol to
spare me from wretching my guts out.
And who knows? Maybe people who
don't take showers or women who don't
shave their legs are better musicians
because they have that extra 15 or 20
minutes a day to work on their songs.
I don't know. I don't know what real-
ly makes a song good or bad, or what
makes a particular genre better than
another one. And I don't think any of us
- critics, musicians, teachers or the
Pope himself - really do know what
makes good music.
I think we do, however, know what
we like - and based on that entirely
relative standard, we often make some
very sweeping assumptions.
Assumptions that too often get branded
as objective truth.
What matters about music -the
only kind of objective, good or bad, that
can really be determined i- s howr it
makes individual people feel. Not
whether it fits into a certain set of artis-
tic theories, not if it conforms - or
doesn't conform - to some critic's per-
sonalized notions of what is hip, cul-
tured or trendy
Maybe Bush and Smashing
Pumpkins lack the feeling and soul of
Hendrix. Maybe they play up teen angst
to sell records. Maybe they lack talent.
But for some reason, who knows
why, some people like them. Some peo-
ple will remember with fondness the
first time they heard "Machine Head"
on the radio. I certainly won't, but who
am l - who is anybody -- to try to take
away or lessen that legitimate experi-
ence for those people?
Songs, whether we happen to like
them or not, take on an identity or mean-
ing of their own once they weave them-
selves into the fabric of a listener's life.
It no longer matters who they were sung
by, what period they were originally
from, or if they're rock, rap or R&B.
Music - all music - transcends
over-generalized boundaries because it
means so much to individuals.
Ecen country .., or so I'm told.
- Chris Farah can be reached at
Continued from Page 5B3
Batmanghelichi agreed, saying, "I
really like Schoolkids' because they
carry a wider selection of imports for
music I like, and that I can't find any-
Other students like Engineering first-
year student Susan Cho were not so
impressed with Schoolkids' intimate
atmosphere. "My first impression of
the Annex was stinky because it's seedy,
dark and has weird music I've never
heard of," Cho said.
Across the street looms the over-
whelming shadow of one of Ann
Arbor's most commercial music stores
- Borders Books and Music. Borders
offers an overwhelming selection of
jazz, blues, international, gospel, pop
Borders does, however, have a small-
er variety of reggae music and a very
limited collection of rap and R&B
music. The store tends to concentrate
mainly on mainstream artists.
The adjoining bookstore and cafe
are convenient to many students. Cho
said these make her appreciate
Borders' music section. "Borders
doesn't have a lot of imports, which is
a little disappointing. The main things
I like about it are the chea
comfortable atmosphere, the
selection and the adjacent ca
But Batmanghelichi didn'1
selection at Borders as di
"Borders doesn't carry a lai
tion of the music 1 like -
Mode, Velour 100, Morr
because it is mostly gearec
Tower Records, a popular
chain, located on South U
has a similar musical col.
that of Borders, and it alsc
wide array of videos and mu
Cho was impressed with
variety of music and literati
sorts of music; however,
plained of the bad customer s
was in the store for a good 3C
and not one sales person c
But, Cho added, "1 don't l
service deter me from chec
their large selection of all th
One downside to Tower
though, is that Tower's
exceeded those at other are
Most CDs cost more th
except newly released CDs,
BRYAN MCLELLAN/ Daily
The billboard outside Hill Auditorium advertises upcoming musical events.
Continued from Page 413
A stroll among the practice rooms at
the Music School gives a good sense of
the range of music presented during the
school year. The notes of a Chopin
etude melt into the improvisation of a
trombonist, which mixes with the vocal
runs of a soprano working on a Mozart
The whirlwind of musical events tak-
ing place at any given time is mind-bog-
gling. Performers plaster Music School
stairwells with recital flyers and concert
announcements for everything from a
violin recital to a lecture on percussion
But while performances provide pub-
lie outlets for aspiring musicians,
dancers, singers and actors, a different
kind of performance is often over-
looked. Events that involve the history
and theory of music are also abundant at
The Stearns Lecture Series, which
takes place four times per academic
year, spotlights ethnomusicological lec-
tures. The annual Curry Lecture also
explores musicology. Additional lec-
tures can include topics ranging from
music theory to the theory of singing or
playing a particular instrument.
As Chase noted, "to a musicologist, a
lecture or publication of an article is
equivalent to a performance."
And what performances they are.
Michigan plays host to top musicolo-
gists from around the country, as well as
featuring faculty and guests in numer-
ous recitals and master classes each aca-
To help keep track of what's going on
in the Music School, the Campus
Information Centers are adding School
of Music Events into their centralized
"Starting the first of the year, the
Music School will be part of that service
for people who want to know what's
going on on campus,'" said Chase.
Perhaps Ira Gershwin said it best:
Who could ask for anything more?
Go Loco i
A F roa il
For More Information Contact:
BIANCHI-ROSSI TOURS at
Web site: www.bianchi-rossi.com
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