I have started discussing the problem of Arabic Music in a previous post. Roba has helped with a nice comment, that I would like to use in continueing the discussion.
The question: why are there many bad Arabic songs today?
Roba had 3 main points:
1- Some modern songs are better (e.g. Nanci) than others (e.g. Maria).
2- The younger generation (kids, as Roba called them) actually think that Maria is good.
3- Music is not just good or bad - it depends on the occasion (e.g. wedding vs every day)
Before we delve into the discussion, let me re-cast the question. Of course, music is one of those "taste" issues that people cannot just agree upon. Furthermore, people tend to like their own music and hate that of younger generations. The question I'm posing is beyond all these variations. If you take all these measures in account, you will still find that the modern Arabic pop songs are not just different; they are actually bad relative to older ones.
In the first post, I stated that since music is taste-based, then "good/bad" criteria must be defined by the collective opinion of people, thus: popularity. And that created a dilemma: how come many people say that modern songs are bad but still they listen to them?
The solution is simple: popular does not necessarily mean good. As Roba has said, she might not mind dancing to a Maria song at a wedding, but that does not mean that the song is actually “good music”. So, people might like bad songs, but they appreciate good ones.
I think this is true in all ages. The Viennese audience was amazed by Beethoven’s 9th symphony, but, they were not dancing to it at their festivals or little parties. There must have been some form of light folkloric “dummy” compositions that were played at homes.
So now the question we have is: Why is some music popular but not good?
And that, I will inshallah try to think more about for my next blog...