Immersed as I am in pop music (and with the other music I listen to generally being things I get online with no intermediaries, and not being artists people tend to chat to me about) I had almost forgotten the idiotic music snobbery that exists out there. In recent years I have come into contact far more with an inverse snobbery, where pop fans sneer at boys with guitars and bristle at any suggestion that a dumb pop star miming to a generic dance song they didn’t write is any less artistically valid than The Beatles. So reading Twitter during Beyonce’s headline slot at Glastonbury was a sad reminder of the more traditional snobbery out there.
Meaningless cliches like ‘proper music’ were bandied about with a depressing inevitability and there was an avalanche of people writing moronic comments about artists writing songs and playing instruments. Because clearly a female pop star who can dance couldn’t possibly write songs (people still argue that Madonna is ‘talentless’ after 25 years of writing some of the most iconic pop songs in history!) Because clearly Northern Uproar or Cast were ‘proper bands’ whereas Aretha Franklin, The Supremes, Frank Sinatra or Elvis are all talentless cretins.
I’m not someone who seeks to level all popular music – I can appreciate the unique connection that exists with an artist who sings their own material, providing it’s done well. I also recognise the difference between the latter artists I mentioned above and other artists who not only don’t write their own songs, but can’t particularly sing either. In the end it’s about that connection and whether it’s done well. People who get bogged down in analysing how a song was made before they will allow themselves to enjoy it or view it as valid are people I feel sorry for.