'...there lay the paradox: music that boldly and aggressively laid out what the singer wanted, loved, hated – as good rock and roll did – challenged me to do the same, and so, even when the content was antiwoman, antisexual, in a sense antihuman, the form encouraged my struggle for liberation. Similarly, timid music made me feel timid, whatever its ostensible politics.' - Ellen Willis
Not entirely related, but have been thinking a bit about authors unconsciously reproducing their (socially conditioned) neuroses / desires in their work, versus the conscious manipulation of such (socially conditioned) drives. Mind on the page honesty versus intellectual engagement risking emotional distance. Obv the greats manage to construct a balance between these imperatives.
For pulp / genre / comics, as well as for pop music, the former is the prominent active ingredient. It's interesting the way the effective + affective representation of sometimes extreme, sometimes ugly, sentiments (love, hate, sex, violence) can be enlightening in themselves.
Not entirely related again, but have been thinking a bit about the contention of a lot of poptimists (Tim Finney is the one I remember voicing this view) that all music can be treated with equal seriousness. Some authorial intent is more conscious, more intentional, so treating it 'seriously' may involve traditional activities like unpacking the lyrics, poses and ideology of the performer, this on top of the historical work of situating the artist / scene within its context, all quite sober and academic. Where authorial intent is more difficult to discern, or less well developed, the poses and ideology to be found in the context around the artifact may provide matter for similarly sober investigation. I wonder... in cases where the idea of a piece is simple, direct and powerful, the listener doesn't have much room for exegesis, and so is forced back onto reflecting on their own response. I guess there are many avenues for 'seriousness'...
Scattered thoughts, obv.