At the beginning of June, I shared seven black artists you can blast in your kitchen while you drink red wine to soothe your soul. At the beginning of July, I shared six black artists you can play for those world-weary, two-cups-of coffee-can’t-chase-away-the-exhausted anger, just need a smile, early mornings and late nights. Last week, a friend asked me for any unpopular music opinions I had, and I had way too much fun so I’m sharing some of those here in lieu of artist recs for August.
On The Music Itself
“Borrowing” a bass line or beat from a better song does not make your song a ‘unique twist on a classic’. It does not make me think you’re wicked cultured or awash in music history. It just makes me want to listen to the original, better song.
Wrapping your shitty pop song in the gorgeous tones of a gospel choir physically pains my heart. Listening to somebody’s mega-talented grandmother wail in the background while you try to croon more energetically than you fuck makes me wish she’s getting paid millions for being stuck singing a song about your ex. Write songs worthy of the dulcet tones of a gospel choir or leave the stage.
Screeching an earsplitting high note to emphasize the emotion. I like Beyonce as much as the next person, but her singing as Etta James wasn’t it. The only thing emphasized is my desire to change the station or turn off the tv. If even Beyonce is getting dinged for this, you should think real hard before you try that high note, mmkay?
Pretending you came up with your voice/style/dancing/etc…in a vacuum. Jackie Wilson is who Elvis Presley wished he was. Harry Styles’ best work is when he’s imitating Bowie and the Beatles. Nicki Minaj is an unoriginal mix of Da Brat and Lady Gaga’s leftovers. Lady Gaga would be better served sticking to old jazz and soul music, but I digress. Stop lying. It’s 2020. We all know the truth.
People’s Reactions to Music
Labeling musicians or bands as under/overrated.
Look, you and your five friends not knowing of a singer until you “discovered” their official VEVO video on YouTube does not an underrated artist make. Conversely, absorbing the 2–3 most played songs of an artist through cultural osmosis does not make them overrated.
Led Zeppelin, ACDC, The Beatles, Kendrick Lamar, Tupac, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, and others have all been labeled overrated to me by wire-framed-glasses-wearing-white-men who want to explain music to little-ole-black-girl me.
That list includes arguably one of the greatest groups of songwriters, some of the greatest rappers, and one of the greatest bands of musicians. (I’ll let you guess which.) Overplayed on radio, cheesy commercials, and shows/movies for the over-40 crowd? Sure, I’ll give you that. Music pioneers? Also yes (and still being imitated to this day.) Overrated? Not in the slightest.
Mistaking your subjective opinion for objective fact
Bob Marley was a revolutionary, an artist with the heart of a humanitarian, and beloved for good reason. He’s also not the greatest reggae musician though you wouldn’t know it if you got sucked into a conversation with those same framed-glasses-wearing-men. (Psst…..he also wasn’t the most gifted musical member in his band, but let’s not get into all that.)
Subjectively liking a musical artist/band does not magically make them the best any more than subjectively not liking them could magically make them the worst. I don’t subjectively prefer rap music. As a friend once rightfully described, I only listen to rap when I’m severely depressed or murderously pissed, but that doesn’t mean rap is objectively awful. Just not my preference.
Granted, Marley’s a pretty tough pill to swallow as an example, but I see this mistaking your preference for fact everywhere from people who love Pearl Jam and Nirvana to people who love the Beach Boys and 90’s-era-Britney-pop, from people who slam those who like Taylor Swift and One Direction to those who think a list like this is objectively true just because the person writing it is in Billboard or Rolling Stones.
Share your unpopular music opinions in the comments below. :)