Face-off between Andrew Bird and Justin Bieber

What defines good music?

I’m endlessly fascinated by the arguments people make when wrangling over so-called good music versus so-called bad music.  Although music is incredibly nuanced, often this debate centers on the quality gap between popular/mainstream music and alt/underground music, with the stuff dominating the airwaves pinned down as inferior to the stuff that is less accessible.

True, it can be difficult to get an earful of alt music if you tune into channels of mass communication, but that doesn’t necessarily mean omnipresent stuff is lowbrow and the rare stuff is automatically better.  Nevertheless, many, many people (who shall remain unnamed…I like to “protect” my “sources”) think it so.  Are they right?  In many cases, yes, but in many cases, no…not all music playing on the radio 24/7 is trashtastic.  For example, Bruno Mars is quite popular these days, and he surely has talent.

Now, here’s a typical case of the too little-too much discourse.
Good? Andrew Bird
Bad? Justin Bieber

My conclusion is, who cares about definitions!?  If you’re of the opinion that Ryan Seacrest-style countdowns are populated by garbage, there’s plenty of other avenues (record store! Sirius Satellite Radio! YouTube! Murfie.com!) to quench your music-type thirst.  On the other hand, if you think that alternative music is pretentious or grating, just turn on the radio and access your good music definition by flipping to any popular station.  Moral is, considering the host of media technologies out there, definitions aren’t even necessary and kind of nonsensical…unless of course, arguing is your definition of a good time.

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