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Where's the Music?

You may have noticed in the indices of works that music isn't listed as a medium. This isn't exactly intentional, but there are good reasons for it, and I don't see it changing any time soon.

The main thing is that I'm not proud of my taste in music. It's like what Guil. asked Ros. in Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead:

Don't you discriminate at all?

As the joke has it, I like both kinds of music, country and western. I like some classical music, but can't tell good performances from bad. But mostly I'm a slave to commercialism: I grew up listening to Top 40 pop music, and that's still most of what I know and like. (That would be the pop music of the '80s, plus that of the '50s and '60s, which got airplay as classic oldies at the time.)

So, not only do I not discriminate, I'm not even “widely listened”, and so don't have any good basis for judgement.

In case you're wondering, I do consider myself to be fairly widely read (although I specialize in older fantasy and science fiction) and also to be widely educated … that's what makes me feel competent to assign ratings to books.

Not only do I not have a good basis for judgement, I also tend to use the wrong criteria, looking for, say, novelty of form rather than danceability. How can an artistic criterion be wrong? Easy. I think there's a reason people are attracted to music, a purpose to music, you might say, and if you judge using a criterion that's not related to the purpose then you're just wrong. It'd be like judging books by average word length rather than readability.

Finally, in addition to the above, it's possible that by not rating works of music I may be able to avoid dealing with composite actors, or, worse, composite actors that change over time, which is what bands are. It's clear to me that any decent database of music ought to capture information about both bands and members, and that's more work than I want to take on.

Having said all that, I'll go ahead and give my one musical opinion, which is that I like REM. Here are my favorite albums.

Fables of the Reconstruction
Life's Rich Pageant

New Adventures in Hi-Fi

Interestingly, the ratings I'd assign to the albums don't follow one of the standard chronological patterns. My first two favorites were (I think) the peak of the initial creative impulse, and were followed by some so-so albums, but later another excellent one popped up.


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@ June (2000)