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Thread: Does your own worldview impact on the music that you listen to?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Cornwall UK

    Default Does your own worldview impact on the music that you listen to?

    This thread was inspired by another thread (in Uke Talk) about whether people were happy to buy from suppliers and manufacturers who held values and beliefs that did not match their own.

    So, the question is - are you happy to listen to music made by artists who have expressed opinions you strongly disagree with, or who openly support causes you are opposed to, or who hold beliefs you find objectionable?

    And to expand a bit - what about songs with questionable lyrical content? Both in terms of language use and/or some apparent 'underlying message'.

    Me - All my music is digital now, kept in the form of mp3 files in a folder on my laptop. I occasionally have a bit of a clearout of this folder and sometimes wonder if a song should be deleted, not because I don't like it, but because it is 'problematic' in other ways. An example would be the song Bangkok by ex-Big Star frontman Alex Chilton. It includes the lyric "Two slanty-eyed men, lying in bed" and every time it played I would find myself inwardly cringing and eventually it just had to go. On the other hand a couple of Cream tracks continue to survive the culling process (and a Blind Faith one) despite an awareness that Eric Clapton has openly made racist comments that I personally find deeply objectionable.

    What about you?
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Southern California


    I go with the music usually. The artists can believe whatever they believe. However, I hafta hold my nose while listening to some of their songs.

    I don't like political or antisocial or filthy language though, so I just don't listen to music with it.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Massachusetts, USA


    Nasty topic rap gets turned off immediately. Most all other music gets a chance before the gong sounds. I can enjoy music from most artists I disagree with politically, but if the song lyrics are blatantly political and negative, that usually gets the gong too. As the old saying goes, I vote with my feet. Movies are a whole different story. If the actors are all over the media constantly trashing the opposing party, I don't even want to to see them, and just do my own personal boycott of their work. The way I look at it, artists can get political at their own peril, 1/2 the audience will love it, the other 1/2 will write them off.
    Last edited by Ukecaster; 04-17-2017 at 09:56 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012


    As far as listening goes, no I don't let opposing actions, values or viewpoints held by the artist affect whether I listen to them or not. If I did, the scope of what I listened to would be a lot more narrow. I'm a big jazz fan and a lot of my favorite artists were junkies, alcoholics, unfaithful and some were abusive to their women. I sit on the conservative side of the teeter totter and people in the music business don't tend to be on the conservative side so it's not at all uncommon that I would be at odds with their viewpoints.

    As far as what I'll play on the ukulele, there are songs that I've chosen not to play because of their content. There are also some songs where I've changed a lyric in what was otherwise a good song.
    Last edited by mikelz777; 04-17-2017 at 09:59 AM.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2017


    Generally, I won't seek out or avoid an artist's music because of their political, religious, social or moral beliefs. But certainly my worldview impacts the styles of music I enjoy and listen to. My interests are varied but three that I currently avoid are contemporary christian (I don't want to be preached to), modern country (more like country-pop and not in the same league as old-time country) and rap (for it's mostly offensive lyrics and overpowering bass line).

    This is interesting though - since I have finally gotten to the point where I can sing and play at the same time I have become much more aware of the lyrics of the songs I have always enjoyed. Often I realize how trivial, banal, or outright stupid many of those lyrics are and I have to ask myself, "Do I really want to pursue this any farther?"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011


    Well, in high school English class they told us a work of art should be considered on its own merits, entirely apart from the individual who created it. Thus, we read "The Waste Land" without getting bogged down in a discussion about what a total dick T.S. Eliot was. We can (theoretically) love or hate "Tannhauser" no matter what we think of Wagner. The farther away we get in time, the easier this gets. Was Sophocles a nice guy? Who knows?

    I think this is much harder when the artist is contemporary. Bill Cosby's early albums were a huge influence on me growing up. The recordings have not changed, but my experience listening to them is certainly different now.

    Can I separate the work from the artist? Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

    Not quite the same topic, but closely related and very amusing:

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2013


    I don't usually follow what artists do or what opinions they have. Actually, I don't follow specific artists at all and rarely buy albums with lyrics-based songs. I often learn of artists through a specific song, not of a song through the artist. Most of what I buy are instrumental albums without sung text, so I don't typically know the views of an artist or their life history.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    FL, USA


    Just looked at my digital music folder. More than 90% of it is instrumental ... and the remainder is classical or sacred choral music and opera. I'm sure there is some outrageousness in the opera stuff, but it's mostly in languages I don't speak. LOL

    A bunch of stringed instruments tuned in fifths. And a bunch of cats!

    "There are two refuges from the miseries of life: music and cats." - Albert Schweitzer

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  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Sumter County, FL


    Really don't care about a musical artist's opinion about anything other than the music, and I doubt whether the artist is concerned about my views on anything, either. Having the music in common with someone is enough, and why ruin that with other stuff.

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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2009


    For the most part, I judge by the music and not the artist - like mikelz777 above, I'm pretty certain that many of the artists I enjoy were less than perfect humans. As long as their music doesn't glorify physical abuse, alcoholism, drugs, racism, killing, war, etc. it's all good. I might feel differently if one of the (few) still-living perfomers that I admire came out in support of bigotry or violence or a political party or cause that I strongly oppose, but that hasn't happened yet.

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