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Aesthetics (Nevermind / Nirvana)

From: "andrew cooke" <andrew@...>

Date: Mon, 27 Nov 2006 11:53:50 -0300 (CLST)

Someone on Mefi (EB?) posted a description of why they thought Nirvana
were good.  I was based on the idea that they communicated some feeling
(alienation, whatever) in a genuine way.

(Want to add scare quotes to so many parts of that.)

I didn't find that at all convincing.  It sounds very Romantic and (heh)
un-genuine.  Like an explanation learned by rote (or, perhaps, one thought
up to win an argument rather than convey the truth).

I remember when the album first came out (in particular I remember one
conversation with a friend - Caleb - during coffee at the IoA; curiously
(in that this is what *I *remember) it was about his reaction to the
music, rather than mine).  I don't recall anyone commenting on how it
communicated alienation in a genuine manner.  I do recall being surprised
at how *good* the music was.

Of course, my good may be another man's communication in a genuine way. 
My point isn't (at least directly) that my reaction was more emotional, or
more complex, than the communication explanation.  Rather, the music was
good ebcause it was surprisingly interesting.  It sounded new.  It was
more tuneful than I expected (I walked to work listening to a NoMeansNo
track - that was more like what I expected, or, perhaps Pearl Jam when
they are off-peak, although I knew neither of those bands at the time). 
It had reassuring structures, but was also complex in interesting ways. 
You could listen to the album and both hear something familiar and
something new.

It also had attitude, which is closer to the communication idea.  But the
attitude was largely a facilitator - it made the music accessible, or
appropriate, or cool - rather than an explanation of why it was also so
good.

This relates to what I was saying (trying to say) earlier about Tomas
Munita.  Good art is somehow indulgent.  Enjoyable like chocolate, but for
the brain.  It seems to do this in two ways.  By pushing certain emotional
buttons and by provoking an intellectual response cocnerned with
categorizing the work.  The latter needs something new, while the former
tends to be familiar (presumably there are a limited set of things that
push one's emotinal buttons).  My doubt about Munita is whether it has
enough of the latter.

Nevermind had both.

Andrew

PS I should read some aesthetics.  It's a part of philosophy I've never
botherd with.  Presumably the above is said much better - and no doubt
corrected and dismissed - elsewhere.

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