Let's Move

I was thinking about this today on a long drive.

Places I Would Want To Live In For a Few Years:
Las Vegas

Places I Would Want To Live In For a Year:
New York

Places I Need To Visit Still:
New England
South America

Favorite Smaller Towns in America:
Jackson, MS
Eugene, OR
Pasadena, CA
Destin, FL
Lake McConaughey, NB

Maybe these lists are not complete. I like alot of places.



Ok, it's a general topic, very wide in its scope. So let's narrow it
down to "what music is."

I was reading some reviews of an album on iTunes today, and I came
across the phrase, "If you don't like this album, you don't understand
what music is." I'll be honest, that made me laugh. Who made
LaterGator the expert on what music is?

It's something I've dealt with for the past few years as I've grown
musically and been put into some very differing musical situations:
What is music?

I play with those who would say that music is art, that it's an
expression, and only the most organic, bare, poetic, honest portrayals
of human life and existence are worth listening to. All it takes is a
way with words, a few chords, and an unpolished, moody voice, and
you've got art. Anyone can do it.

I'll be honest, that approach upsets me. Why did I spend so many hours
of my life so far perfecting skills, researching history and
technique, and ridding myself of the rawness that some people see as

So then, is the only true music the disciplined arts? Is the purest
form of expression found with complete mastery of the medium being
expressed? I love to hear people who are proficient (at least) on
their instruments. There is something inspiring about listening to
someone who has given much of their time and thought into mastering a
skill. It is a truer talent, however, when you can mix that
proficiency with emotion and communication. Those are things that
can't necessarily be taught. They separate good from great.

Can you be proficient and not expressive? Yes. Music can become
mathematical and methodical, as can anything (love, religion, visual
arts). I've heard plenty of concerts that sounded like a reciting of
notes rather than a portrayal of art. You can tell the difference
between good acting and bad acting, right? A high school play going to
be different from a blockbuster movie. Is that because the high school
students don't have something to say? Or is it because the big actors
have spent years training and gaining experience?

But does music have to express something to be good? Does it have to
reveal something profound about life and the human condition? If I may
complain about something, I don't like the word "cheesy." I've known
people that have a self-proclaimed "high cheesy meter." I've never
known any aspect of music to be more subjective than "cheesiness."
What you see as cheesy, I might see as fun. What I see as cheesy, you
might see as cool or modern. I think most rap music is cheesy, but for
some reason it sells, and people listen to it. Everything Fergie has
released is cheesy, but she's always on the top of the iTunes
downloads. I think some of the music I listen to could be considered
cheesy, but I also see the skill of the players, and can't call that
cheesy. Do you think classical music is cheesy? I could give you just
as many reasons why it's genious.

I'm tired of typing now. I never intended to end this with a
conclusion of "this specific music is real music." If you like it,
it's music to you. Just everybody stop saying their music is real
music. As much as I hate to admit it, rap is music. Pointellism is
technically music. Atonality is music, as much as Emo. I guess I am
now the expert, so if I say music is real music, then I'm correct,
right? I'm not afraid of people having differing opinions, I just
don't like those who put down another opinion to lift up their own. I
don't have to like rap or hip hop, but I won't think you're dumb for
liking it. It makes you happy, just like bluegrass or classical makes
me happy, then you should like it. Tha'ts all I have to say today.
Stay cool.

- josh