On the one hand, I completely understand this need for excellence. If you don't nitpick every little thing to impossible expectations (no matter whether it's purely based on opinion, or taste, as must inevitably be considered in the judgment of art), how are you to decide what's exceptional? How do we get great American literature without people breaking down every little piece? When something can surpass those high expectations, it is an impossible, triumphant feat, and it is worth the praise of millions.
To some people. To others, it's just a piece of writing hiding in an inconsequential anthology that sits on a shelf on your way to the teen paranormal romance section, where the real gold is.
Art--and life--is all about taste. What we like, what we don't like, what we're enthusiastic about, what we despise. It's these opinions that get us excited about conversations when people share them, and even when they don't--we have spicy interactions with others, arguing or gushing. I love critical discussions, I really do--but there are times when it feels, to me as both a writer and as a general person, like it's all people can do.
What's cool about the United State of Pop series is that DJ Earworm likes to pick up on thematic similarities between the most popular songs of the year, and mash them all together in a story from various voices. It's always so cool to me to see this because he seems to hit it right on the money every time, capturing this general American feeling--from the economic crash in 2007 to this desperation of 2008, to the live-it-up-if/while-you-can of 2009, to the going-down-with-our-ship resilience of 2010, to the hopelessness of 2012, to the rebuilding and momentum gain of 2013.
So it's inspiring to me to see that 2014 seems to be about building a better world. Each year that goes by seems to be building more and more tolerance in the US and everywhere else, and it's so thrilling to see this message prevalent in social conversations, among Millennials, and starting to latch its roots in the modern world.
I love that 2014, musically, has felt like there's been this push to relinquish all the hate and criticism we've been harboring for so long. Most of my friends and family know about my obsession with Taylor Swift (aka T-Swizzle), and therefore my love for shake "Shake It Off" message and performance is predictable. But there's also Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass," shaking off the body-hating haters, and of course, Frozen's/Idina Menzel's "Let It Go." I love Idina Menzel's response to those commenting on her notes--it's so easy to forget how good people are at things when we're so focused on the singular mistakes.
But just in case you're not convinced, there's also John Legend's "All Of Me," embracing the whole of another person and allowing the whole of yourself to be accepted (and even loved). There's Pharell's "Happy," pushing away the people who want to bring you down. Even Iggy Azalea/Ariana Grande's "Problem" talks about the sense of elation of letting a bad influence go. Whether you think today's music is "crap" (and if so, you're probably just not listening hard enough) or whether you think it's gold--oh, right, I don't care. Because what I think is that it's awesome, and I don't have to let anyone tell me otherwise--and I am so, SO excited that this message seems to be more prevalent--and more unified--in today's mainstream music wave. It's a message of tolerance, and standing up for yourself, and trudging onward when the discouraging voices become too much, and WE--as a nation, as a generation, as a culture--seem to be embracing this message.
Friends, family, acquaintances, musicians, DJ Earworm, readers--I wish you spectacular 2015s, filled with fun, laughter, and the ability to say "to hell with it! I'm doing what I love. LET THEM EAT CAKE."
...and the ability to eat cake yourselves, too. Because cake is delicious, particularly when it's not a lie.
PART OF THIS COMPLETE BREAKFAST
Blog not recommended for sober consumption.