Modern Music Discourse: Open Questions

is the new fandom getting every single reference? and is that a good thing?

Modern Music Discourse: Open Questions

I love overthinking stuff. 

I love overanalyzing. 

I love my theory, and my references, and my research side-projects, and… 

Beyoncé, Kendrick/Drake, and Taylor Swift just put down encyclopedic tomes of lyrics and references in the past few weeks. 

But there are so many references, I’m starting to wonder how much the music itself matters. 

Is new music appreciation more focused on if you understand all the references, just so you can discuss it online and help push its popularity through the modern social funnels?

If you got that Kendrick was double entendre-ing Drake’s cat by name… if you got that Taylor was referring to her ex by song title space exclusions… if you got that Beyoncé was - well, just being Beyoncé (have you seen the wiki?!)

The details feel as, if not more important than the songs.  

Jon Caramanica called it something like living in a “post-Genius” (as in the rap lyrics site) world. A Dissect-ification (as in the podcast, which I’ve also loved and previously written about) era. All deep analysis, less broad awareness. 

I didn’t expect the comments to hit me as hard. 

It’s not that music used to be better when these interpretations were left to being more personal. 

But it is making me question the purpose. 

Is it all about taking notes? Or hearing the notes? 

It’s the Music Business. 

Creating the modern discourse is part of the business. 

Kendrick, Drake, Taylor, Beyoncé - they are masters of this. 

And like I said at the top, I’m a sucker for tearing stuff apart to put it back together! But, I’m suddenly aware of how much there is to tear apart. It’s almost overwhelming. 

My feelings are mixed on this. I know I can tear something apart and then still appreciate letting it wash over me. But are we post-genius, Dissectificationed, too wiki-notey for our own good right now?  

Is the only way to be a fan to be fully engaged in the deconstructive discourse? Is this a new status thing? Is this why people don’t “sell out” anymore, because getting all the in-references is pop-status enshrining?!

I’m conflicted, with no good answers. Who has thoughts? Who has resources?