(We're all about further ramifications here at JTMOUE.)
Still haven't actually gotten to the book yet.
(We're all about overscheduling here at JTMOUE.)
But check this out: bass wizard Steve Lawson recently had a cool post about a cool post about a cool post (see how this Internet thing works?), and all three tie into this topic nicely.
An excerpt from the primary document (the context is an experiment in which the trajectory of a given song's popularity could be "rewound" and tested numerous times):
In each of the eight social worlds, the top songs -- and the bottom ones -- were completely different.
For example, the song "Lockdown," by 52metro, was the No. 1 song in one world, yet finished 40 out of 48 in another. Nor did there seem to be any compelling correlation between merit and success. In fact, Watts explains, only about half of a song's success seemed to be due to merit.
"In general, the 'best' songs never do very badly, and the 'worst' songs never do extremely well, but almost any other result is possible," he says.
Because the first band to snag a few thumbs-ups in the social world tended overwhelmingly to get many more. And who received those crucial first votes seemed to be mostly a matter of luck.
How many of us are willing to admit that that beautiful tune we hold so dear, that authentic expression of heartfelt artistry, that potent signifier of some significant event in our lives, may actually be something we have (at least in part) been conditioned to love?
There is a lot of writing about musical likes and dislikes as if they are scientific, subject to the play of immutable laws (most musical analysis-based criticism takes this tack -- which of course is fine as far as it goes). But what if musical taste is actually a very complex kind of choice?
What if our record collections are full of things we (again, at least in part) decide to like because it suits some larger agenda about who we think we are or who we want to be?
These are silly questions, I know. I'm in a silly mood.