Sunday, March 14, 2010

soft rock.... can ya dig it?

YES! Yes I can!

Soft rock as been written off in years past as sad attempts at music making; fluff piece for the slight of heart; songs for middle-aged woman to cry their eyes out to (just take the opening scene from Bridget Jones' Diary or a spot from the first season of Glee).

But I would beg to differ that while you can't deny the sappy power of a soft rock ballad there is just that, a power.

Yes, I myself, prefer Chicago's early stuff to the Peter Cetera driven tunes but every time I hear Biggest Part of Me by Ambrosia I can't help but melt into it's slow groove and over-the-top proclamations of love.

Now let's take a slight diversion.

I hate art snobs. For me it comes down to the question of authenticity.

Some people like to argue that because something doesn't make sense or follow the traditional conventions (aka free jazz, ambient, or even to some extent psychedelic rock), that automatically makes it more interesting and artistically important. I have found that I completely disagree with this mindset.

I would agree that art forms that aren't so easily understood can hold great value in expressing emotions and ideas in ever changing forms; that in turn may or may not propel a society forward. However, I just happen to think that those other "traditional" art forms are just as important, if not more so.

Take Marvin Gaye's 1971 album What's Going On. Filled with songs about damaged race relations, senseless war involvement, pollution, poverty, drug abuse, crime - these are not common topics for pop songs.

Was this album listened to by millions and millions since it's release?


Was it considered a commercial hit?


Did it have something important to say about hate, love, and peace?


In my book, this kind of art is 100% significant. So what if Mercy Mercy Me continues to play on Oldies stations around the world? Does it make Gaye's message any less true or relevant? I don't think so.

Which gets me back to what I was talking about in the first place. You may have dismissed soft rock in the past but I would ask you to give it another try. These songs speak straight to your heart. Just give in. Stop resisting. Let yourself go. And for pete's sake, don't take yourself so seriously!

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