Sunday, July 6, 2008

A Not-Necessarily-Musical Question

Pretend, for the moment, that you are a musical artist. Someone compares your work - at this point, you are free to imagine whether it is the song you just sang, your latest album, your entire ouvre - with someone else's work. Are you upset that someone has just suggested your work is derivative, or do you welcome the comparison to other artists? Discuss.

1 comment:

bill said...

Oddly, I was thinking of this in a slightly different context. In describing a singer I'm guessing not many people have heard, I name-checked four other artists. Most of whom aren't that well known either, so I'm not sure how useful it was.

It bugs me when I do it and it bugs me when I read it in a review. But sometimes when describing the unfamiliar it helps to ground it in the familiar. Doing it well means avoiding the derivative description and using the comparison as a landmark to then discuss what's good/unique/different/bad -- staying away from "if you band A you'll be sure to like band B."

For the artist being labeled, I'm sure it's annoying and I sympathize. I'd also think their level of annoyance is contingent on how much they like/respect the artist they're being compared to.