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On Modern Dance-Party Music

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Are the current most popular singles, like "The Time (Dirty Bit)" by the Black Eyed Peas or "Only Girl In The World" by Rihanna, quality music according to Objectivism?

Their rhythm typically mix dance with rap, and their lyrics tend to be about enjoying life (according to them, it consists of going to parties, getting drunk and getting girls). Can that constitute objectively good art?

Only Girl In The World

I want you to love me, like I'm a hot pie

Be thinkin' of me, doin' what you like

So boy forget about the world cuz it's gon' be me and you tonight

I wanna make your bed for ya, then imma make you swallow your pride

The Time (Dirty Bit)

I had the time of my life

And I never felt this way before

And I swear, this is true

And I owe it all to you

Edited by JacobGalt
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Are the current most popular singles, like "The Time (Dirty Bit)" by the Black Eyed Peas or "Only Girl In The World" by Rihanna, quality music according to Objectivism?

Nothing about Objectivism suggests what makes up quality music or other kind of art. Quality is about skill and communication of subject matter. A philosophic system deals with broad abstractions and principles, while judging quality of music is something much more specific and particular. Objectivism could only indicate *that* there can be standards of quality for art, just not *what* those standard are.

Edited by Eiuol
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I generally don't think it's good art, but it's not really trying to be. As the name suggests, the main purpose is to provide something to dance to at clubs and parties, and it serves that purpose well.

EDIT: Added: Just because something is music doesn't mean we should try to judge it by the Objectivist definition of art, as trying to be a selective re-creation of reality according to the artist's value judgments. For example, take the background music in a suspense or horror movie. One should judge whether that music is good or bad against its goal, against what the composer is trying to accomplish. I would ask: does this music successfully create suspense and add to the effect of the movie? Some scores accomplish them very well, and I would call them "good" scores even though they don't attempt any recreation of reality per se. Similarly, if the music you're asking about provides something that is easy and fun to dance to, it has achieved its purpose.

Edited by Dante
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I personally think it sucks too. Some portions of it I enjoy, some of it is catchy, but overall I don't really like them.

When it comes to art, good art or bad art is just about how skilled it is and how well it portrays its subject or whatever. But art conveys a sense of life, and whether you enjoy a particular work of art depends on your sense of life. So it's possible for art to be good, but for you to hate it. So I think there's two criteria for personally judging a work of art. How skilled it is, and how well it agrees with your sense of life. But I may be forgetting other things Rand may have said. I've only recently read The Romantic Manifesto.

Art is a selective recreation of reality. Music included. I don't think these pieces should be dismissed as not art altogether just because they're dance music. There is still a sense of life conveyed I think. The artist still selected for what they thought was metaphysically important. A lot of modern music, not just dance music, seems to be disgusting to me. And if we were to dissect it, what kinds of things do they seem to find metaphysically important?

In a lot of modern popular music, it seems to be all about partying, getting drunk, getting laid, doing drugs, being a gangsta. But I've also noticed the sort of stereotypical "black man" type of thing going on. The sort of whooping and hollering and "Awww yeeeeah" type of thing going on. I kind of see a hedonistic thing going on, but I also see a sort of blind, frenzied pack-animal type of element in this last thing I brought up. It's done because it's popular, and it's done to be popular. Because it's "cool". I'm having a hard time elaborating on this last, deeper element that I sense in it. Like the pack is what is metaphysically important to them. Maybe someone here will know what I'm talking about.

Dante, I think music in a movie is different from music that stands on its own. The movie itself is the work of art. The director's job is to integrate the various elements of the movie into a whole. So in that sense, yeah, you'd judge the music in a movie by how well it integrates with and supports what the director is going for in the movie. But that doesn't necessarily mean that every piece of music can possibly be exempt from being judged as an independent work of art.

Edited by Amaroq
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that doesn't necessarily mean that every piece of music can possibly be exempt from being judged as an independent work of art.

Great post but I disagree with the last part. I think it is very important to have a context with which you can go about judging a piece of music. All music is created for a specific audience or purpose and it seems pointless to judge it independent of that fact.

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I'm a big fan of hip hop and electronica music because I'm a big fan of dancing. I hated Black Eyed Peas until I danced to to remixes of their music in the club. Many songs of that kind could be defined as sound design rather than music, but for purposes of dancing it doesn't matter. It serves its purpose. I agree with many of the criticisms levied here, but I advise all to be careful what music you brand as "evil."

--Dan Edge

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When I listen to dance music, I tend to judge it by the same standard I judge other music. How it makes me feel. I suppose you can say that a piece of music can serve the purpose of being "danceable", but I don't think that makes it good. Though I suppose I must remember that to be good is to be good to someone, for some purpose.

The thing is, (if I were to go to a club,) my goal wouldn't be to just find music that has a danceable beat. I want to find music that makes me feel. I'm not looking for music I can move to, I'm looking for music that moves me.

I'll give you some examples of (in my opinion) some of the most moving, "danceable" music I know of.

DJ Tiësto - Heroes

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