Tony Bennett - 'Music Is Either Good Or It Isn't.'

March 23, 2014 -

Arrun Harker

Quoting Arturo Toscanini, arguably one of the greatest symphonic composers of all time, acclaimed singer/songwriter Tony Bennett at last stated something I've been wanting to convey for so very long, particularly with regards to dance music: "Music is either good or it isn't, it's not someone's opinion."

The 87-year old jazz singer contended in an interview with GQ that, essentially, those in the know, those being accomplished composers, know whether something is good or not. It doesn't matter what your opinion is. And he's right. I'm sure there must be a multitude of people out there who truly believe that 'Stupid Hoe' by Nikki Minaj is a piece of gorgeous art. This part is what stems the counter arguments: 'beauty [or art] is in the eye of the beholder.' I, and apparently Bennett and Toscanini, respectfully disagree. Music has always been about soliciting emotion, yet so much dance music is all about the instant gratification - the heavy drop that stimulates the adrenaline, the pop-infused, cheesy super-saw progression that every big name producer has used a dozen times across different keys. But the truth is, if the only emotions we can feel from dance music are adrenaline and superficial euphoria, we are hugely limiting ourselves.

There are producers out there who can convey true, unequivocal art through dance music. Just listen to anything by BT for example. Sure, he has his songs which are much more adrenaline based, and he has his songs which are more cheesy, pop-infused progressions, but he also has songs which solicit empathy, sadness, anger and everything in between.

Tony Bennett

The point I'm trying to make, is that the standard of music seems to be on the decline. People are becoming less and less prepared to invest a part of themselves in a song. How many people still see a painting, and admire it's finesse, or audacity, or subtlety for twenty minutes? We need to embrace a more diverse range of artists who produce more than instant mp3 gratification; undiscovered treasures, instead of the same 30 Tomorrowland headliners, year in, year out. Seek more in dance music, and producers will be necessitated to create greater, long-lasting art, not the next Beatport Top 10 chart topper which becomes an instant momentary trend and disappears just as quickly. If they fail, they will lose their audience. And if they can't convert, then Bennett's point will have been proven, and we will see who the true artists of the dance music arena really are.

Here's a link to the interview in question (via GQ) 


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