Things That Don’t Make Sense #165

What is with the criticism that singers who don’t write their own stuff are somehow not as good as tsinger-songwriters?

The cognitive dissonance it must take to hold this belief astounds me. I have never once met someone who has said, “I’m not going to this performance of ‘The Magic Flute’ because it’s not original work by the performers.” Likewise, all classical music.

Even assuming that the difference between high and low culture is a legitimate thing and not a bunch of classist malarky, what about covers? I’ve never met a person who didn’t like a good cover of a popular song because the singer didn’t write the lyrics herself. People love covers. As evidence, I submit the popularity of “Glee” and the Imitation Elvis Industry.

Moreover, absolutely no one uses this logic in any other area of life. No one chides actors for not co-writing their scripts. If they do write them that’s pretty cool, but by and large, people recognize that the skills it takes to tell a story on paper and the skills it takes to bring that story to life for an audience are different things. How is this different with musicians? I submit that it is not. Some people have the temperament to write songs and some people have the temperament to perform them and if those things overlap that’s great but often they don’t and that’s fine too.

Would you go to dinner at someone’s home and tell them that the food they served was somehow less delicious because they used a recipe they didn’t create themselves. Of course you wouldn’t. That would be rude, crazy, and crazy rude.

How on earth is hearing a song on the radio different? If you liked it then just enjoy it. Life is nasty, short, and brutish. Enjoy the damn song and don’t quibble over who gets the royalties. It ain’t you so let it go.

I’m not a member of the Beyhive but can everyone please cease and desist stating the fact that the songs on Lemonade were “written by committee” like it somehow lessens their brilliance? Are you so anxious to take away glory from an amazing album, performer, and team that you’re really gonna sit there and tell me you think committee work is (a) somehow easier than working individually and (b) doesn’t produce good results? Please.

Good art happens by committee and always has. Don’t believe me? Look up the history of Bernini or Rembrandt.

I find it telling that I mostly hear this “they don’t write their own songs” line in reference to powerful female vocalists like Adele and Beyonce. Even if Nickelback did write and perform their own songs they still suck. They aren’t somehow inherently better because the person who wrote them sang them. It seems like this whole elevation of the singer-songwriter is just another attempt to put mediocre white men (*Cough*Bob Dylan*Cough*) ahead of brilliant women and I am not here for it

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