Opinions

I'm going to try and expand here about what I have learnt about both music and how we all enjoy it differently to each other.

I learnt from feedback during "Request Week" that my opinions are not neccessarily the same as other peoples.

Not really - I knew that already.

What I didn't expect is the amount of feeling that people have for their own favourites.
Now, I am used to people hating my music. I like freeform Jazz and Frank Zappa, so I hear a lot of "Isn't he just playing random notes", "It sounds like someone throwing a bucket of cutlery down the stairs" and my favourite, "Didn't he take a shit on stage once?"

So what is it that makes us form our own opinions on songs, music and art in general?
Why is it that someone can like a certain chune so much that they can live their life for it, but another individual can hate it with the same passion - or even worse think nothing of it?

Music is not maths, there are no absolutes. However, we do have a "control". And that is the song itself. No matter what else is different in our opinion, the song, as Robert Plant once sang, remains the same.

So we have to look to external factors in trying to analyse musical tastes.

I was told off because I didn't 'get' a certain chune. I was informed that the lyrics were funny.  I don't think I had even listened to the lyrics that closely.
That's what is so great about music and art in general. It's open to the interpreter so much.  I have found an art form that I think I know a lot about, and it is strange that sometimes it is not the song itself that I am looking at, or am being moved by, but what it represents to me. Does it stir a memory? What was the history of this recording? Is there something special about the people involved?

The lyrics of that particular song clearly hadn't resonated with me.

Perhaps that is why I like Pollock so much as a painter - it is all (about the viewers) interpretation. Some may see dancing figures in a May ritual, others leaves on the wind, and worst would be only to see dripped ink on a canvas.  Occasionally, I too hear musicians only leaving drips on a canvas.


And that is the essence of trying to write about music.  As a writer you have to be passionate, you have to involve yourself and the reader has to understand that it is all someone elses opinion - and that is all. 
If I listen to this another day, in another country, in another mood, my opinion of it, through my own interpretation through external environmental factors, will be different. 

Just look at the bits I wrote on "A Kind of Magic" and "Down, Down" - I admit, freely, that the songs are crap, but it was the environment surrounding me at the time that shaped my opinion of it, and all the successive years and experiences that may have changed that.

So when you read about music and the author states something  is 'good' or 'bad', stop and remember two things.
1. If they didn't state whether they like it or not, the text is not worth reading - throw it away. Writing without opinion or passion exists already.  It's called a maths text book, and nobody wants to read that.
2. Remember their opinion can be based on millions of external environmental factors throughout their life. The most important factor in forming their opinion is probably whether they had a good breakfast that morning.  

As the environmental factors in our lives are constantly changing, so must our opinions. If you can't change your mind, you can't change anything.

As a final thought, a wiser person than me (probably FZ) once wrote;

"Writing about music is like dancing for arcitechture"

To which Laurie Anderson wonderfully replied years later;

"...but what about a square dance?"