Patrick (patrick___) wrote,

The Most Divisive Music?

When I discover someone is something of a music aficianado, I have a tendency to want to talk about music with them. I'm a fan of a large number of styles of music, but what I've discovered is that the most divisive style of all might well be "dance music" (aka, "electronica", "techno", "club music", "rave music", etc.) The world seems to be pretty well split between those who think this is an interesting/valid art form in its own right, and those who dismiss it as meaningless music for tone-deaf hedonists.

It's so interesting to watch the conversations unfold. I'll be talking to a kindred spirit about the merits of 80's indie rock and be getting along so well, but when the topic of electronic dance music comes up... they at look at me as if I'm from another planet. "You actually enjoy that stuff? Like as actual music?" is the definite vibe one gets from someone who does not share the same value for dance music that I do.

It's interesting... some of these same people will have respect for, say, hip hop. Because, even though it shares many musical similarities, it at least has *lyrics*. They might even try to respect the more avant garde forms of electronic music, even if they don't actually like it, because they know it's supposed to be somehow sophisticated. But plain old-fashion house music, trance music, dubstep, and the like? Not a chance.

Sometimes an artist of this genre becomes so well known even the scoffers of EDM will be willing to accept it as real music. Daft Punk in particular comes to mind right now. But it's really the exception that proves the rule. These people are the Pitchfork readers of the world - willing to accept dance music if it reaches some sort of cultural acceptance, but not really on its own merits.

Interestingly, I know a lot of software developers and other IT professionals that enjoy electronic dance music as valid enjoyable music. I think it's because we often value music that's both energetic and yet good background music at the same time. Music with too much lyrical content can become distracting when coding. Dance music provides energy to keep you motivated, but with a minimalism that keeps you from being too distracted at the same time. Computer programmers are also far less concerned about the so-called artistic integrity and cultural sophistication associated with the media they enjoy. If they enjoy it, why do they care if whether or not its considered to have some sort of social/cultural sophistication?

What do you guys think? Have you noticed dance music being divisive like this? Or would you say other forms are more so? I think you could also make a case that hip hop and country are similarly divisive, although in very different ways. Likewise, CCM, as well.

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