The Problem With Underground Music Is…
… that people often more obsessed with the idea of it being underground or exclusive, instead of good or innovative.
Music is an art form whose medium is sound. This art form serves to entertain, educate, uplift, console, empower, bring clarity, and so-on. But like any art form, there is often a self-proclaimed elite.
At what point are we more concerned with the idea of elitism, than the quality of one’s work?
At what point does it become about proving a point, rather than indulging in what moves us?
It never ceases to amaze me to see how many DJs have such limited tastes, musically. It’s almost like they’ve forgotten that they are… you know, DJs.
Many seem to end up going one of two ways. Either they play only the hot tracks of the moment… the most obvious low-hanging fruit which people will recognize… or, they niche themselves down into oblivion.
Some people aren’t happy until they divide their audience into such a small group, that they have a right to complain about how nobody gets them.
Music doesn’t have to draw lines like this.
Can’t we just like a song for what it is? Even if it takes itself too seriously, it doesn’t mean that we have to.
Many of us will remember the minimal techno “craze” at the end of the 2000’s. This was a perfect example of a good concept gone bad: trying to take an idea (dance songs stripped down to emphasize the hypnotic qualities of a beat, giving the track breathing space) to its most extreme conclusion (9 minutes of the same terse “kick-clap-kick-clap” rhythm, with a few bits of white noise sprinkled in to remind you that it’s a song and not a loop).
I won’t knock anyone for the type of music they like (my own Spotify playlists are all over the place). But I can’t help but think that much of that mnml surge was a push towards an ideal, rather than towards enjoyable tunes.
In other words, a chance to prove a point (like how enlightened or unorthodox they are). It’s like punk rock, with worse music.
Indulging in an art form based on its concept, rather than on how it speaks directly to you, only encourages the kind of conformity and stubbornness that many claim they are escaping from.
I would never tell you to stop playing, or listening to, so-called underground music. Or popular music, for that matter.
All I’m saying is, shouldn’t the criteria for our track selection be some combination of “it’s good” and “it works”?