Friday, December 2, 2011

OPINION: Image Affects You

by Mark Gillis

This is another response to the latest question from The Needle Drop. I love that he’s giving me awesome fodder to discuss various music related issues. So, the question at hand is basically whether or not image affects you when when it comes to music. For a little bit more context you can watch the video below.

I’ll give a short answer to the question first, and that answer is yes. I think it’s almost impossible to stay away from the different images that artists cast over us. Whether it’s a music video, an album cover or pictures of the band, if you’re a serious music fan you’re bound to come across any and all of these things while finding out more about an artist. I know that personally, I try to find out as much about artists as possible when I listen to them. I’ll look up things like how many band members they band consists of, what they look like, any music videos on youtube and it may just be the anal neat freak in me but I absolutely have to have the album art on my itunes. I think that all of these things are just part of the package that comes with liking a band or artist.

I do however think that it’s important that music doesn’t take a backseat to image. If a band puts out an awesome music video then they sure as hell better make awesome music to go along with it. I think image can really help bring attention to a band but for that attention to stick they either have to make good music or be batshit insane.

Anthony did mention Lana Del Ray in his video and I think she is a perfect example of image taking over music. Sure, ‘Video Games’ is a nice song, but just about everywhere I read about Lana Del Ray there is way more talk about how she looks than the actual music. The buzz surrounding her isn’t really about the one song that she put out, it’s way more about what she looks like. To me it seems like she’s been engineered to be the girl that every other girl wants to be, and the girl that every guy wants to be with. To me that honestly seems like such a marketing ploy. Even with her video for ‘Video Games’, all the random grainy imagery just seems like it’s supposed to make the video appeal to people who would lean toward “indie” music. So she’s beautiful enough to be mainstream and cool enough to appeal to the less mainstream, seems like a perfect recipe to me.

Now even as I was writing that last paragraph I realized that I was letting Lana’s image affect me. It’s kind of to the point where I feel that her image is so contrived that I want to dislike her music because of it. I guess my point is that it’s really difficult to stay neutral on the matter of image unless you completely try to avoid it all together. Avoiding image all together is something that I can’t possibly imagine doing either, I love music too much to ignore everything that surrounds it. I just find it really interesting to get some background information on the artists that I like.

So what I’m saying is that it’s best just to be honest with yourself when it comes to image. I think that it’s perfectly fine to take in the image that an artist portrays and let it influence what you think of them. Everything from their image to their music is really part of who they are so I don’t think that it’s unreasonable to let image influence your opinion of an artist. It’s really up to you to decide exactly what is important to you about an artist. Now I don’t that that image should take over the discussion, the music should always be the main concern, but judge however you want because it is your personal opinion.

You can follow me on twitter @Mark__Gillis

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