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“Art does not look as good when it goes down in value”

“Art does not look as good when it goes down in value” is a quote from an upcoming Adam Goldberg movie. It’s one of those witty quotes that when can seem axiomatic. The pleasure of our eyes and ears are effected by the financial forces placed upon what we see.


I have been circling a similar question for awhile: when we love music is what we love the music or is what we love the outside forces placed upon the music and how we react -agree, disagree, even notice at all- causes us to adjust our relationship with the music. For instances: Black Eyed Peas The E.N.D. and Regina Spektor’s Far. I have been listening to both albums all year but I always thought Far was a serious if flawed artistic statement and The E.N.D. will.i.am’s perfect pop move but disposable by definition. A moment this summer now past. But I don’t think that now.


Because “music does not sound as good when it goes down in value”. The failure of Far to break pop has made it less valuable to me. Spektor’s inability to sell out Radio City Music Hall makes my tix tonight a bit less valuable to me: everything else is exactly the same. The music hasn’t changed, I am sure Regina will be within distance of as excellent as she was at the Beacon earlier this year. But her failure to move forward makes me undervalue. This is not (quite) an inversion of Aqilante’s hystical review of MJ’s “This Is It” but it is not a dissimlar hit. It’s not enough that I get to see Spektor, you have to want to see and not be able to.


The opposite end of the spectrum is Black Eyed Pea. I loved The E.N.D. when it was first released but I loved N.A.S.A.’s new album when it was first released. BEPs I still llisten, the remixes, the remixes of the remixes, David Guerta’s BEP remix of “I Gotta Feeling”. Relentless boom boom powing all year long and the pop fans of my acquaintances, the Steve Diamond’s, the Mike Malones, there is an air of agreement is the overwhelming sense of only in America since President Obamas election has its soundtrack in will.i.am (who wrote “Yes We Can” during the election) had found the perfect soundtrack.

The economic and social hoo hah surrounding The E.N.D.  makes it sound better, jumpier, more exciting. None of this lies in the recording, on the turnstiles, it lies in what the world surrounding it imparts upon it.

So listening to music becomes more complicated again. It goes up and down in value like the stockmarket but on a subjective, arbitary level. What I think I like is not what I like.

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