Reflections: pop music vs. classical music

November 16, 2009 at 9:10 pm (Musings) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

music comic

Pop music vs. Classical

I’m not sure what it is, however, there has been an “elitist” bias among practitioners of classical music (and jazz to an extent) towards pop music. With their complexities, and often times, numerous years of study at music programs, classical musicians reverence of historical catalogues, yet it doesn’t improve their popularity among the masses.

On the other hand, pop music (in this case all popular music) keeps growing in popularity with the advent of the internet. Sometimes there has been collaborations like Metallica’s orchestral performances, or anytime you bring in a string section in a pop tune ballad.

Classical music activists say there is no interest to classical/jazz music & that in many ways it’s dying (sales of songs/albums). Critics blame it on the public for not appreciating the greatness of the music. Meanwhile, pop musicians like Miley Cyrus and Linkin Park sell tons of albums, itunes, merch, and ticket sales for tours. Today I checked ticketmaster and the top billed ticket price for Bonjovi concert was over $1,100 (and those were sold out within 10 minutes). And no offense, but I’m not sure if any pop artist will last as long as a Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin.

#1 Music is music & it needs be promoted through press, given publicity, shared, passed on to each successive generation. It doesn’t happen by osmosis.

My point, is that in my experiences as a music writer, I have got a lot of positive response from the pop music community and silence/ignored by the classical/jazz community. Now, I admit I don’t search out classical or jazz as much as pop music, but I have a beef with the “Classical” mindset.

Simple example, whenever I have contacted pop musicians/bands about doing an article or contacting them for background info, etc., I have usually been given a positive and response. They seem to welcome publicity and press. So, I’ve been sent many press releases, invites to shows, and made contacts within the pop music world.

On the other hand, whenever I have contacted classical/jazz musicians or venues about writing articles and giving some press on this genre of music, I’m usually “stiffed at the door.” I have contacted Koerner Hall multiple times, which is the new performance hall in Toronto specifically made for the RC (Royal Conservatory).

My beef is that I contacted them through the appropriate channels knowing that the 1st season of this concert hall is a big deal for Toronto. The thing is they didn’t get back to me with any response after taking my info down & saying it would be passed to “blah blah” and I think that’s poor that they don’t get back to me with at least an explanation as to why it’s a “no”.

If given press access, I would’ve went to the “9’s” in writing about all the great classical, jazz, world music performances that are going on there. And I really don’t understand it, because classical/jazz is definitely in the decline and a lot less popular than pop music, which get’s most of the music press.

So, I’ve got the beef out & it’s done. No grudges, I’ll even leave the link to Royal Conservatory/Koerner Hall, so you can check out their shows & go to them if you are in the GTA region (Greater Toronto Area). If you want to get the younger mainstream audiences into classical/jazz, you need all the promo you can get.

I just wonder if classical music society purposely want to keep the concerts small, quiet, in order to…have the masses stay away.

The Royal Conservatory:

~ Jason Chu

Permalink Leave a Comment

New Album Review: Ashley Tisdale’s “Guilty Pleasure”

July 17, 2009 at 5:22 pm (Major Label, Tweeple Magazine articles by Jason Chu) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Ashley Tisdale's "Guilty Pleasure" album

Yes I know that Ashley Tisdale is as mainstream as you can get for pop music, however, I always review music first and not popularity. Lest I remind you all, that I hardly listen to popular radio stations, and not for what you probably think. I just got bored with all the commercials and radio DJ’s incessant chatter. I never had a problem with popular/mainstream music itself.

But I digress, back to Ashley Tisdale’s upcoming sophomore album “Guilty Pleasure”. It will be released on Tuesday July 28th, 2009 to much fanfare. The nature of a celebrity of Ashley’s stature (@ashleytisdale), who has already exceeded over 1,000,000 twitter followers making her one of Twitter’s top accounts. This alone assures her a probable strong showing in sales. Also, the fact that her fans and followers are strongest in the teenager demographic, only helps her cause. She has built this strong fan following primarily over her role in the Disney T.V. show “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody”, her appearances in the “High School Musical” movies, and of course her music/debut album.

What’s also interesting with this 24 year old pop singer/actress, is that she attempting to doing a “double feature” with her upcoming projects. Not only is her album releasing July 28th, but her new 2oth Century Fox film, “Aliens in the Attic” opens Friday July 31st. Smart marketing and P.R. as she will get a ton of publicity in the next few weeks, that the majority of other musicians could only dream of.

Her corporate/music label advantages aside, the album’s not too shabby on own merits (in the summer fun way). First of all, I would definitely class her in the Avril Lavigne pop/rock genre with a few interesting tracks in varying music styles. The cool bit is that Ashley isn’t trying to pretend to be an “artiste/musician”, but is just having fun, making catchy pop tunes that her fans will dig. Her vocals are tinged with a sweetness, that is fun, and sufficiently strong. The backing band/musicians sounds decent, and don’t try to overplay, but hit all the catchy hooks with aplomb.

The lyrics are again light and geared straight to the heart of the topics all teens like to sing/hear about (i.e. rebellion, relationships, gossip, etc.). I guarantee her singles will play heavily on all radio playlists because her popularity and her music is so catchy (i.e. easy to remember/sing-a-long to). And that’s her point, as I think she knows her music is good enough to be a “guilty pleasure”. What I mean by this, is that her music will probably transcend age demographics on this album because she most definitely has the cross over appeal of an Avril, Miley Cyrus, and early Britney Spears. Ashley Tisdale has that wholesome “girl next door” quality that parents are  accepting to, however, let’s just hope she doesn’t go down the “Britney” sexual musical path (Ashley doesn’t need to, her popularity is already immense).

Her producers did a great job and the sound quality is top notch, however, a little too much treble/tinny (I prefer a strong rhythm/bass bottom end in the mix). I like the fact that she tried to mix up her album songs with tracks with a R&B flavor, Hip Hop, ballads, etc. Mixing it up definitely shows she’s isn’t afraid to try new things to grow and mature with her music.

In summary, a good effort, a fun album with catchy pop hooks, clean/sweet vocals from a rising star – and potential superstar in the music industry. Have a great summer Ashley, you’re report card was alright, it’s O.K!

Ashley Tisdale and guest band V Factory perform a free concert at The Grove in Los Angeles

My Favorite Tracks on “Guilty Pleasure”

Acting Out, Switch, What If, Me Without You

Tell Me Lies (Performance)

What If (Performance)

Hot Mess (Performance)

Masquerade (Performance)

It’s Alright, It’s OK (Performance)

It’s Alright O.K. (official video)

IT’S ALRIGHT, IT’S OK official music video

Ashley Tisdale’s Youtube channel

Ashley Tisdale’s Myspace

Ashley Tisdale Live Performance at The Grove

Ashley Tisdale – “Guilty Pleasure”

The tracks are:
1. Acting Out
2. It’s Alright, It’s OK
3. Masquerade
4. Overrated
5. Hot Mess
6. How Do You Love Someone
7. Tell Me Lies
8. What If
9. Erase & Rewind
10. Hair
11. Delete You
12. Me Without You
13. Crank It Up
14. Switch

~ Jason Chu

Ashley Tisdale Live Performance at The Grove

Permalink Leave a Comment