Chuck’s having a pity party

Awww .. idn’t that sweet? … Chuck Peters decided to have a pity
party
for people who overanalyze songs, who “pick apart”
music “and dissect it” instead of simply enjoying “the
experience” of it all. “I feel sorry for them. They really can’t
just .. enjoy the music. … They are just too close to the music,”
he decides. “That’s all.” Of course nevermind that this whole
composite critic he’s conjured up is a fiction of Chuck’s imagination.
Honestly, Chuck … please, name me one person who has stopped being
able to enjoy music because he or she dissected a song too much. As someone
commented over at Chuck’s site, the really good music refuses to be reduced
to the sum of its parts, even when we try. And I know whereof I speak
on this. Because of course I thoroughly enjoy trying to understand and
explain (to myself and others) what makes a song work … or not. And
I enjoy figuring out what the difference is between music that you hum
along with or ignore or politely endure and music that absolutely blows
the top of your head off. The critic part necessarily involves the enjoyment
part. If you don’t enjoy the music, genuinely enjoy listening to it and
thinking about it and yes … experiencing it, why would you even bother?
I can understand someone else (like Chuck?) preferring not to approach
their listening experiences the way I do. Fine. Takes all kinds etc. But
what makes Chuck think people who listen to music this way need or want
his pity? And further more, when does making an effort to determine and
put into words why a song is more or less good stop being legitimate critique
and start being an exercise in picking something apart? Should we just
stop trying to make any effort to distinguish degrees of quality or artistic
value and just lose ourselves in “the experience” of music,
even if it stinks? And how is that not an agnostic version of saying “I
enjoy it so long as somebody’s makin’ a joyful noise for the lard so listen
to the words and not the music”? Is it possible we’re still having
this “debate”?

Imagine
if you ran, say, a radio station, and had to select songs to put on the
radio using this “make a joyful noise” standard. Coincidentally
enough, a respected and experienced and downright likable dj just recently
wrote
about this problem
of not being discriminating enough in radio playlists.
He wrote, in part, that not listening hard enough to the music and making
a decision about its quality without being discriminating enough can result
in “play[ing] sub par music. [Even] I have added songs to a play
list just because I liked someone.. but I constantly try to check myself
and make sure it doesn’t happen. I have added tunes one day.. then turned
around and pulled them off the next week wondering what I was thinking.
Always check,.. recheck..and check your play list again.” Can you
believe THIS guy who checks and checks and rechecks the music he puts
on his radio station (some people might say he DISSECTS it, to some extent)
… THIS guy’s name is Chuck Peters too? Who knew there were two Chuck
Peters running around with such wildly different notions of how to listen
to music?

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