Anonymous asked in Entertainment & MusicMusicRock and Pop · 1 decade ago

Why is it that some music has a higher ''Art-status''?

Like Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band. Dada Blues. Verbal and musical chaos, but very complex at the same time. Deep, but very open, very direct. Unique!

Why has the Captain's music such a high ''Art-status''?

Because it's bizar, and eccentric? Because not everyone can listen to it, and enjoy it? Because it takes ''acquired taste''? Because it's absolutely one-of-a-kind?

What does it take for music to get this Art-Status?

Same goes for artists like Frank Zappa, and David Bowie. Their music is different; their music is not just's art.

But why do you think this only goes for certain bands and artists? Why is some music just ''''music, and other music ''art''?

Your opinion is very much appreciated, since I have been thinking about this for a while now... :)

12 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    My opinion is "high art" music is where people care about the MUSIC first, and if it sells that's a bonus. I don't think it ever broke Warren Zevon's heart that he only had one "hit" (and, of course, it was his worst song -- proving that the only way to sell is to appeal to the LCD). He would rather have played to 500 people making quality music than play for 5,000 making junk. And I admire people like that. J.D. Souther once said that everyone thought being labeled a "cult artist" (critically acclaimed but not commercially successful) was a great thing -- "until you ARE one for a few years." Well, some people don't care, they're going to stay true to their art. I don't see that John Prine (one of my favorites) has ever altered his songwriting to "appeal to the masses." If you like it, fine; if not, he's not going to kowtow to the masses. God bless him.

    I was also thinking about this the other night while reading some research material. People of my generation and before were not the least bit ashamed of having broad tastes. My parents, for instance, had albums by Jim Reeves (my all-time favorite), Hank Williams, Johnny Horton, and Patsy Cline, but they ALSO has records by the Platters, Dean Martin, Gogi Grant, and Don Ho -- and a Glenn Miller record, too! Today you won't find many people who would want to diversify that much. As a result, even people who perform in a person's particular favorite genre won't get discovered. I mean, we see it here on Y!A all the time: "what bands sound like (insert band's name here)?" If people wanted to diversify, the question should be, "what bands sound absolutely NOTHING LIKE (insert band's name here)?"

    You stated it quite well: it's the originality that sets them apart. If someone has never heard John Prine or Tom Waits and they ask you what they sound like, you tell them they sound like themselves and no one else. You cannot do that in popular music, because there's a set formula to "commercial" music. Those who follow it want money; those who throw that formula in the trash respect their craft.

  • GIND
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    I'm not sure I see Bowie as art music, but for Zappa and Beefheart, I'd say they have artistic intentions. While The Beatles may have been innovative, they still made pop music, with the exception of "Revolution 9," one of their worst tracks. There was no way that Trout Mask Replica could receive mainstream radio play. It clearly wasn't pop music.

    Does this mean that catchy tunes will never be regarded as highly as dissonance? This hardly seems fair; why should hours of Bob Dylan song-writing be thought less of than the music of those that can't even play their instruments? Well, unfortunately, that seems to be the way it is. Dissonance, and acoustic electronic instruments are good for creating art music, guitars aren't. The reason for this is probably modern classical music, which uses similar ideas, the idea being that if these scholarly composers were using electronic instruments and dissonance, a "pop" artist using the same must be on a higher level.

    I suppose David Bowie's Berlin period might be considered art music. Krautrock is pretty arty. Other rock artists that make art music might be John Cale, Brian Eno, Tangerine Dream, and perhaps The Velvet Underground.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It's hard to answer this without coming off as incredibly pretentious, but I think a lot of the buzz phrases are properly being thrown out there, particularly "pushing the envelope."

    I just deleted a bunch of stuff because it was coming out really pretentious. Let's try again. It's also very difficult because like Fonzie said it's incredibly subjective. I'll just go with how it works for me.

    You know when you find a record that isn't just a collection of songs. It really feels like you're listening to something new, something really nuanced and something that almost goes beyond just what you're listening to. It almost goes that extra level because of a degree of stimulation. A way of putting it is I have this friend who is sort of a starting out producer, he's done a couple records and he's got particularly a good feel and ear for ear candy and taking the sound a couple steps past the live sound of the instruments. He's good with ambient stuff, and pads and what have you. Trying to add an extra dimension to the music. He sees an album as sort of an audio painting. I kind of think of listening to OK Computer or Kid A and how it almost felt like more than a record. I'd also put Abbey Road in the same light.

  • 1 decade ago

    i'd say that, in general, all music creation is art, period. of course some can be compared to the paintings of rembrandt, the abstractness of picasso or the sketches of a 2 year old.

    i have a high respect for the 'typical' art-rock; captain beefheart, velvet underground (despite heroine being the main inspiration), beach boys/brian wilson's smile album, pink floyd. i also hold in high esteem bands like shellac, tera melos, hella and mike patton pushing the boundries of rock and composers such as meredith monk.

    for the most part pop music is more entertainment, more comparable to a comedy routine; there is definitely an art to it, but also a formula that can be followed for a cheap laugh

    the 'art-rock' that is always talked about is the music that defied classification, defied expectations and did something no had done before and/or better than anyone else

    a man like buckethead is a guitar virtuoso, is his music art or merely pretentious 'show-boating'? i guess it depends on whether you like what he does or not

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Music as "art", Meg, is just like other art... It's in the eye of the beholder. In other words; I agree with Fonzie. It is really just opinons within a group of people on what is art and what is not. It is like asking... What is the Nature of Reality? It is purely subjective and only relative to each individuals bias.

    *** Just look at the definition of ART.. the creation of beautiful or thought-provoking works, e.g. in painting, music, or writing. So, it is truly subjective to the person asked. You could even take Fonzies idea of comparing Dali to a painting by a Chimp. Depending on who you ask they might actually like the Chimp's painting better. It happens.

    ***This could also be compared to the De Stijl art movement in the early 1900's. I may find it to be wonderful and powerful art whereas some may find it to be boring.

    Rock on Meg!

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It's pretty much because you draw a line between (relatively) pure entertainment, and this 'art-status' you're talking about. It's as simple as that in my opinion anyway.

    But, I don't know if I would go by what is considered 'art' - music is mostly art to me, but art is the most subjective anyway, I find a lot of music to be it, regardless if it's not classified as.

    Yeah that's all badly worded, I'm feeling groggy today, I hope I got my point across. :\

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Generally the art-status is achieved through exploration. Someone who just cranks out run of the mill pop songs, you know verse chorus verse, is always regarded as just music. Anyway who takes that extra step to try and fail, to create an experience, those people tend to achieve the art-status.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I think some bands are considered "art" because of their "pushing the envelope" or music. For example a ramones song is honestly just a few riffs or chords (though they made a masterpiece out of it) But let's look at Pink Floyd, adding electric sytnesizers and orchestras to their music as well as other unique sounds makes you hear stuff you never thought could happen in music. In my opinion, art is a current take on society expressed creatily, and I guess some bands made their music by this definition.

    Source(s): I hope i made sense.!
  • 1 decade ago

    It's a hard question to nail down.

    Something that softens your heart to motivate you too learn. For, me art has emotional elements. It can either teach me or or leave me confused and motivated to find an answer.

    Not sure how to "guage" art.

    One things for sure, Paul Simon had an "higher Art-satus" when teamed with Garfunkel. Eh...does that help you any?

  • 1 decade ago

    This is definitely one of those subjective topics. Someone can call Ashley Simpson "art" or Zappa 'art". Who's right?

    Personally, I think anyone who'd call the likes of her 'art' should get their head examined, but that's just me.

    It's like comparing Salvador Dali to giving a chimp a paint brush.

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