I’m a bit concerned. Every once and a while, pop music actually gets it right – not terribly often, but it happens. An artist comes along that actually has substance; as in, great music, relatable themes, good song-writing, and pretty impressive musicianship. And for a short while – it catches on. “This is amazing” people say, “What have we been missing?” And, after a while, it fizzles out. The artist or band is still successful, if not because of their dedicated fans, then because of the success at the climax of their hype. Something else may or may not come along with the same redeeming value – it’s hit or miss really.
We’ve seen it with U2 & Dave Matthews. Yes, still popular; however, not the big ‘it’ artists of today. Mumford & Sons are certainly at the peak of their fame & popularity – which may or may not exceed even higher. And for a rare moment, even I, a snide & prideful composer, do enjoy this band that is widely popular among everyone. And even if they diminish in popularity, it won’t devalue their music by any means – and it will certainly make their true, close, and hardcore fans more prideful of their prized band – and more resentful towards imitators.
So, as a composer…as a musician, what do I feel towards this cultural life cycle of a band captured in the eye of pop culture? Is this something I want for myself and my music?..To have my most successful music photographed in audio form in peoples’ minds while everything else I’ve written that is predecessor & successor forgotton? Or is it better to not have broken through that pop-culture barrier at all. If only we could reach that happy medium where our music supports our livelihood without falling off the edge of the popularity cliff… would we be satisfied?
Us composers certainly write for ourselves – and us more spiritual composers write for an ever-approving Father; however, we still want edification…somewhere. Where does that balance lie?..or does it?