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Thread: Rap is as good as Shakespeare

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    I don't know how the Danish equivalent of high school English teachers are, but I'm convinced that they could kill the genre of erotica by teaching it in class.
    Yep, something don't change.
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  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Beardsley View Post
    But even without the performance, it's immediately obvious that Shakespeare is good writing and good storytelling.
    Good storytelling certainly, hence my question about the Sopranos, but I'm not so convinced about the writing.

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    I think we need to discuss this matter even further.

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perikles View Post
    My wife ... Or she has no taste.
    Well, she did marry you, after all.
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  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    Well, she did marry you, after all.

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by potoole View Post
    I think we need to discuss this matter even further.
    Well the good news is, this is a discussion site.

    A friend of mine often quotes (someone) who said, "The art is to hide the art." Heartbreaking moments in films and books can have the viewer or reader in tears. But if it's overly obvious that that is the effect the writer is striving for, the effect is diminished and can even fall flat.

    I find with rap, and some performance poetry, that it's so obvious what effect the writer is trying to provoke in the audience that it's simply embarrassing.

  7. #67
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    Funny thing is, with pop I'm annoyed by the often total lack of attention to the feeling the song is bringing across versus its subject. Especially commercial dance music can be terrible at this: whether they are singing about the new love they found or there loved one who just died, the emotion of the music itself is identical. Idem dito with dance covers of older songs. They give them an atmosphere that often totally misses the point of the lyrics.

    I don't think I'm making an overstatement when I say that my instrumental electronic music more clearly brings across the desired emotion that many songs with lyrics that ought to give a hint in the right direction. They go like "I'm so sad, lonely and without energy to do anything today" while on the background an uplifting trance theme with a high-energy beat plays. And I'm left totally confused.

  8. #68
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    This reminds me of a time in the 80s when everything was "deconstructed", apparently, which seemed to mean deliberately singing an emotional song without putting any feeling into it. The Human League version of "You've Lost That Loving Feeling" springs to mind.

  9. #69
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    Paul Beardsley

    I find with rap, and some performance poetry, that it's so obvious what effect the writer is trying to provoke in the audience that it's simply embarrassing.
    Worse than embarrassing.

    But I'm an old fuddy-dud
    PO'T

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Beardsley View Post
    A friend of mine often quotes (someone) who said, "The art is to hide the art." Heartbreaking moments in films and books can have the viewer or reader in tears. But if it's overly obvious that that is the effect the writer is striving for, the effect is diminished and can even fall flat.
    One of the reasons why the Buffy episode "The Body" is really hard to watch (and is by critics considered one of the best episodes ever broadcast by any show ever) is that it's totally without music.
    Every other show where they have a major well loved character die and the entire episode is about that death, they use lots of music to tell the viewer what to feel, and because feelings invoked through mood music are not invoked by empathy with the people, the impact is lessened.
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  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
    Funny thing is, with pop I'm annoyed by the often total lack of attention to the feeling the song is bringing across versus its subject. Especially commercial dance music can be terrible at this: whether they are singing about the new love they found or there loved one who just died, the emotion of the music itself is identical. Idem dito with dance covers of older songs. They give them an atmosphere that often totally misses the point of the lyrics.
    I'm reminded of the multitude of people who were dancing vigorously to Zappa's "Dancing Fool".
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  12. #72
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    One of the most requested wedding songs is a beautiful ballad by Whitney Houston, I Will Always Love You. The title certainly sounds all weddingish... everlasting love and all.

    But it's about someone leaving.

    If I
    Should stay
    I would only be in your way
    So I'll go
    But I know
    I'll think of you every step of
    the way

    And I
    Will always
    Love you ...


    Real weddingish.
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  13. #73
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    Well, at least they don't request "Love Like Anthrax" (later shortened to just "Anthrax") by Gang of Four:

    I feel like a beetle on its back
    and there's no way for me to get up
    Love will get you like a case of anthrax
    and that's something I don't want to catch

  14. #74
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    I heard a DJ on the radio once say that he had U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" played at his wedding. Couldn't tell if he was serious or not.

  15. #75
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    My favourite true wedding story from the early 1990s (hey, I'm helping to hijack my own thread)...

    The elderly lady who plays the organ at the church was approached by the happy-couple-to-be.

    Couple: "We'd like you to play 'Everything I do I do it for you' when we come into the church."

    Lady: "Eh?"

    Couple: "Oh, it's a song by Bryan Adams."

    Lady "Eh?"

    Couple: "It was number one for weeks and weeks."

    Lady: "Er, sorry, I don't follow pop music."

    Couple: "Oh, and it was the theme song in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, starring Kevin Costner."

    Lady: "Oh yes, I know the one."

    Couple: "You do?"

    Lady: "Yes, I can play that!"

    So, on the happy day, the happy couple entered the church to the strains of "Robin Hood, Robin Hood, riding through the glen..."

  16. #76
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    Wedding dances...so few love songs are positive from start to end. As I'm getting married in a few weeks, we already made a list of worst wedding dance songs to choose.

    There were subtle ones, such as Paradise by the Dashboard Light. It starts good, but the last part is about him wanting to get rid of her because he can't stand her anymore...

    There were also less subtle ones. My favourite would be "I don't Wanna Dance" by Eddy Grant.

  17. #77
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    Man! I deleted and rewrote my reply three times.

    I just don't have a nice thing to say about rap at all!
    Time wasted having fun is not time wasted - Lennon
    (John, not the other one.)

  18. #78
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    Sting says he's always amused when people tell him they had "Every Breath You Take" as their wedding song. He wrote it about his ex-wife . . . during their breakup. If you listen to the lyrics, it's about a stalker!
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  19. #79
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    You can just about hear their brains during the wedding dance:

    My poor heart aches 2 3 4
    1 with every step you take 2 3 4
    1 2 3 4

    And even while counting steps, they don't get it.

  20. #80
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    The Bard Said it Best

    Although he could not have known about or foreseen rap music, the Bard summed it up best:

    "... Like a tale told by an idiot, all sound and fury, signifying nothing ..."

  21. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celestial Mechanic View Post
    Although he could not have known about or foreseen rap music, the Bard summed it up best:

    "... Like a tale told by an idiot, all sound and fury, signifying nothing ..."
    A pleasing resolution to the thread!

  22. #82
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    If you remember Sturgeon's law, because yes that's a good description of 90% of the rap out there.
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  23. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celestial Mechanic View Post
    Although he could not have known about or foreseen rap music, the Bard summed it up best:

    "... Like a tale told by an idiot, all sound and fury, signifying nothing ..."
    Pffft. Listen to some Public Enemy with an open mind.

    "Fear of a Black Planet". I'd call that a classic alongside (not above or below) Romeo and Juliet (just for an e.g.).


    (Disclaimer: I figure rap, hip hop etc. are equivalent for the purpose of this thread.)
    I don't see any Ice Giants.

  24. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by HenrikOlsen View Post
    If you remember Sturgeon's law....
    This is why to me it makes sense to ignore new stuff. Wait until the passage of time has sifted out most of the crud, then you get a much more efficient access to music or literature of merit. Half a century will do. Or a whole one to be more sure.

  25. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by HenrikOlsen View Post
    If you remember Sturgeon's law, because yes that's a good description of 90% of the rap out there.
    Ye-e-es... but I'm more than a little wary of Sturgeon's law.

    IIRC it was an exasperated, off-the-cuff remark he made when someone was dissing SF, to the effect of, "I'm not arguing with you when you say that 90% of SF is complete horses' hooves - but then again, 90% of pretty much anything is complete horses' hooves."

    It's often the case that the majority of examples of any given thing are below par, but Sturgeon's Law is often quoted as if it were a law. And it's not. It's just an observation that often holds true.

    A decade ago, one individual I know (part of the Interzone magazine editorial team at the time) went so far as to say that if you remove the 90% that is rubbish, then 90% of what remains is still rubbish. (He said other idiotic things too.)

  26. #86
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    A decade ago, one individual I know (part of the Interzone magazine editorial team at the time) went so far as to say that if you remove the 90% that is rubbish, then 90% of what remains is still rubbish. (He said other idiotic things too.)
    In a way he could be right, but you would be judging against a higher baseline. It would be relative rubbish.

  27. #87
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    I put rap and country in the same "listen-ability" column, but I actually listen to rap because it has a dance-able beat. The lyrics of both can be very powerful and thought provoking, even eloquent, but most of the time they aren't. Compare to hair-bands of the 80's, most have no thought provoking content. I think the difference is that rap and country revolve around people and interaction, while 80's hair-band songs revolve around a catchy cord or single line.

    I would say any artist or song has the potential to be as good as Shakespeare, but I am still waiting to hear an example with that quality. Not much compares to Shakespeare in my book.
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  28. #88
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    To me, it's apples and oranges. How many Shakespeare works develop plot & characters from start to end in 4 minutes? Right.

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    I'll listen to a bit of 80's rap, but I don't understand how anyone could believe that a 30 year old pop culture genre is as deserving of recognition as work that is still something of a golden standard after 400 years. That's just vanity along with a strong sense of entitlement.

  30. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
    To me, it's apples and oranges. How many Shakespeare works develop plot & characters from start to end in 4 minutes? Right.
    Largely my feeling, too: Shakespeare and rap are two art forms (if rap isn't an art form, neither is any popular music or any primarily oral form). To me, the OP's question is not entirely sensible, sort of like "which is a better vehicle, a Lamborghini Gallardo or a J-boat?"
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