[I don’t really know where I’m going with this, but bear with me]
Let’s talk about fandom. Fandom is a beautiful thing. Groups bonding over a shared love of some silly little cultural locus, ambivalent to the opinions of others. It gives us strength, reinforces our sense of self, and justifies all those abstract opinions locked deep within us. At its best, a fandom acts as a lightning rod for creativity and expression, with fanart, fanfics, and cover songs allowing individuals to display their skills to a forgiving audience. However (because there is always a ‘however’), at it’s worse it becomes an entitled blob, making demands of the very medium that it took comfort from. There are numerous, numerous, articles about the toxicity that fandom can dissolve into if not kept in check. The whole Star Wars debacle springs to mind as one where it was falsely assumed that the creators in anyway owed the fans anything. I mean, come on, people, it’s commercial media! It exists to eke out as many pennies as it can from a fickle public; and before your all go on about “messing with George Lucas’ vision”, just remember that he’s the biggest panderer of them all. Media, whether corporate or independent, should always be viewed as follows: You like what you like and what you like will still exist even if the thing that you like is given an epitaph or addendum that you don’t like. Fandom is great and all, but it’s just a by-product of the creative process. A sign that what you’re doing has value (not that you need signs to tell you that). But it’s not why you create and it sure as heck plays no part in the creative process (unless you want to leverage shiny coins from their naive wallets). You’re not owned by anyone. FYI, there’s no clever twist in my song choice this week, I just wanted to get that off my chest. But here’s a tune I haven’t heard in forever which my much missed sibling reminded me about. It is just the absolute beans.
Now, just because I am deeply sceptical of giving fandom a role in the creative process doesn’t mean I don’t care about it. I care deeply. It’s just that empathy can be a prison, an acceptance that the thoughts that others have of us should exclusively dictate our actions. As if the effect should precede the cause. I dunno, it just feels such a restrictive and dishonest way of developing a culture, doesn’t it? Genuine empathy doesn’t come from making yourself conform to another’s subjective perspective, it’s in helping them understand the world as it actually is, as you actually are. Of course, I can only speak for myself, we can only speak for ourselves, but I have spent far too much time losing my sense of self whilst trying to game the social algorithms. It’s just all so draining, and, now that we’re on the cusp of something … different, it’d probably be good if we take stock. Realise what’s most important and what really matters.
More than a composer; more than a musician; more than an academic and writer; more than anything in fact, I consider myself a fan. I simple, naive, wide-eyed fan of music. Not of any particular genre or artist, but of the whole goddamn abstract possibility of it all. I love how it allows me to exorcise emotions within the safety of my own mind. I love how it causes uncontrollable bursts of movement in my limbs. I love how it can evoke deep memories far stronger than a photograph ever could. In my heavily biased perspective, it sits as the greatest of the arts simply because it can be anything to anyone. It’s not that music sets you free (as when the song ends you will still be where you were when it started), but you are most certainly free within the music. In that short demarcation of time, you can be what you want, fandom be damned.
My thoughts on Hot Hot Heat are pretty irrelevant. I obviously have subjective feels about how Elevator was a bit of an anti-climax after the riot of Make Up the Breakdown, but I never demanded anything more or less of them. If I had then it’s unlikely we’d have been offered the sheer pop-genius of 21 @ 12. Something to be thankful for.
Yeah, bit of an odd blog this week. No apologies, though, I do this for me.
I’ve been writing this blog on and off for a while now, so why not dip back into the halcyon years by having a read of these related posts:
Judge not, lest ye be judged. If you feel the urge to subjectively critique my own musical work you can find it by clicking here.