As music fans, listeners and nerds, we tend to overanalyze our music at times. In our search for something we truly enjoy, we have come to the point where we are bringing in outside influences to the way we make our opinions on music. It’s pretty common nowadays to encounter a comment such as “I hate this band, the singer is such a douche” or “Such an awful band, their live show completely turned me off from them.” It’s fine to have such opinions, but is it making us forget about the one aspect of music that truly matters above other things?
Are we letting go of the importance of a good song? All of a sudden it seems like we are worrying more about the artist than his songs.
Case in point: this past Spring, when Jonny Craig perpetuated his much-publicized “macbook scam.” The discussion brought about a barrage of fans of Craig’s previous work turning against the frontman and his releases. Craig was not the only one who received backlash from the community; Dance Gavin Dance also received a lot of insults, causing many disgruntled fans to turn their backs on them. While I was never too fond of DGD’s work with Craig, the incident didn’t prevent me from continuing to enjoy his work with Emarosa and Isles & Glaciers. Yet it seems like I was one of the few to follow that example, as many ex-fans closely associated the scandal with the man’s music.
It has also come to my attention that many people seem to disregard bands based on their fan base. Obviously this is another factor that shouldn’t influence the way listeners see an artist, at least not to the extent that it does. Recently there have been several instances of this in regards to the popular hip-hop collective Odd Future. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that their fan base is the most respectable one there is. They do have a tendency to act “tought” by yelling things like “Wolf Gang” and “Kill people, burn shit, fuck school,” which can be obnoxious. Could that be a reason to disregard the fans? Definitely. Could that be a reason to disregard the act? Absolutely not.
A Day to Remember has also suffered from this in recent years. With their rise in popularity, their live show has been described as “a mix of scene kids and bros.” I will admit that doesn’t sound too pleasant. However I don’t see why that should prevent you from going to see them if you enjoy their music. Do listeners really worry about how they’ll look if they are seen at a concert packed with people that don’t necessarily match their ideals? Do they really care about that more than if they enjoy the music or not?
It’s not just the kind of fans an artist has, but also who they associate with, that seems to irk some listeners. It’s not hard to remember a time when Rise records was seen as the destructor of modern music. A lot of their signings were highly criticized, such as Attack Attack! and Breathe Carolina. The label was so shunned by music fans that it came to a point where many completely disregarded all of their signings. As of late, with Rise cleaning up their name, it seems like Victory Records has been the target of everyone’s hatred.
The extra things we take into consideration not only make us hate certain bands, but lead us to like some as well. When a musician appears to be either “nice,” “a bro” or “down to earth” listeners tend to view their music more open-mindedly (a prime example of this is The Wonder Years’ Dan “Soupy” Campbell).
The same can occur when a band plays a good live set. Not too long ago, a fellow MEB staff member mentioned to the other writers that he had gained more respect for Escape the Fate after seeing their live set. This member claimed that the band played a good set, and that the fans were really passionate about the music. While I respect his change of heart and his view on it, I have to respectfully disagree. Despite the fact that ETF might have sounded great live, it doesn’t seem like it should make any difference if the band’s music is already detestable.
We are going through a time in which we have access to a tremendous amount of information. It’s obviously affected music in several ways. While the value of music is the first to come up when thinking of this issue, the way we view music has also changed. We have made things a lot more complicated than they need to be. Some might argue that it’s part of the beauty of music, and I somewhat agree. However, with every little foreign detail we add to an artist’s work, we also take away from the true hero of the story: the song.