Arthur Knowledge
Music Reviewers: Do We Just Hate Pop?

I’ve been seeing a recent crop up of a lot more music reviewers hitting the scene lately, but something with music reviewers lately has been bugging me.  I love that more people are doing it, but at the same time there’s a fair amount of people that seem to be going into it, through an already biased and uninformed angle.

The most common thing reviewed by music reviewers in this community these days is pop, but I think the question is rarely asked, do any of the pop reviewers even WANT to like pop?  Pop is a common target because it’s everywhere and is also easy to make fun of.  But sadly lately with recent trends in pop I’m seeing a lot of reviewers, including some on channel awesome, go into it pretty uneducated about where pop is at this current time, and that’s where I feel I have a bit of a leg up.

Pop music lately has been heavily influenced by the EDM and Dance music scenes, thanks in large part to the large market there is for stuff played at nightclubs around the world.  Where as in the 80s and the 90s the majority of pop would have much more simplistic use of electronic sound and something simple like drum machines, now they’re using MUCH more advanced sounds that only really exist in a DJ’s mixing software.  Not only that but many DJs who are already worldwide famous in the EDM scene such as David Guetta, Calvin Harris, and Benny Benassi are collaborating with pop artists now to create new chart toppers.  Often times they know that music isn’t their best, but they do know one thing.  They’re catchy, they’ll get played in clubs, and they will MAKE THEM MONEY.

But there comes my rub with music reviewers lately.  I’m still amazed how many times I have to explain simple EDM concepts or even fight with people to explain that EDM, or techno in laymans terms, largely follows a lot of the same music theory concepts that govern all music, or even pass through the barrier that it’s more than “just noise”.  It’s not just a couple of blips and bloops on a computer, I could give a whole lecture on what goes in to just a house track without even touching on dubstep or trance or drum and bass.

This goes for pop music as well.  There’s a lot of conventions and theory that goes into composing everything pop from Ke$ha to One Direction to Katy Perry.  I use these often slammed examples because contrary to popular belief even if they’re not writing their own material whoever is knows a thing or two about music theory and is working some sort of music magic to create them.  And when you actually take a more objective lens to them you’ll find they aren’t bad and well made for the target audience.

So then why do I see so many reviewers seemingly ignoring this theory, or worse completely missing the mark on what the music really is.  Pop has many conventions and principles unique to it, that can be used to see it from a pop analysts perspective.  But these seem to keep being ignored in favor of “Raaah, I hate this song and I hate this artist RAAH!!!”  It makes me wonder, how many reviewers actually go into pop even willing to like it?  If your mind is made up that you hate pop, or worse you don’t even like pop, then why are you reviewing it?

There’s a whole subculture dedicated to hating pop music, and I think that’s the stance where a lot of music reviewers in this community come from.  They hate pop, their audience want to hate pop, so no matter what it’s not getting a fair shake.  Me, I’m different, I like pop.  I might be the only music reviewer in this community who’s actually gone dancing at a nightclub regularly for any period of time and enjoyed it.  I’ve seen countless DJs live, and I have a huge list of pop remixes on my iPod.  If you just automatically slam pop, or even claim something is just noise or what have you, then that comes across to me as rather ignorant and uneducated in terms of music and I’m not sure I can trust your opinion.

There still some awesome people reviewing music out there, but it’s very tough for me as perhaps the only person who’s been very close to the actual target audience of current pop, as well as an enthusiast of EDM who’s seen the bleed in effect of techno into pop, see people review pop when it seems they don’t really understand the genre, or  have confessed that from the start they don’t like it.  You want to be a hater, well the go hate, but I don’t feel you should be a hater if you’re going to attempt to give an honest critique of pop music.  If you don’t like it, and you’re doing your show out of your hatred for the genre, then you’re putting a HUGE amount of energy into hating something.  And no matter how much I may try to say otherwise, you’ve already made your mind up before you even get on camera, that you hate pop.

But then again this is just the opinion of one guy, and at that a minority in this community.  I know I’m one of the few people in this community who actually can enjoy pop, and perhaps the ONLY person who follows the current EDM scene.  I can’t tell you how to make your videos, if you disagree about this stuff make them how you want to make them.  But these are just my thoughts as a critic, an analyst, and a music fan.

Me in Famikamen Rider?!

Okay Enough of My Bravado

Okay maybe I’m a bit of a showoff in that photo. XD.

However here’s the thing.  Famikamen Rider is going to be filmed about an hour’s drive south of me.  I know last I checked that JewWario was looking for actors for the series and I thought I’d give it a shot.  Right now I have about as good of a shot as anybody, but I do have some things that set me apart from your typical recruits.  I’m fiercely passionate about internet videos especially those in what I’ve dubbed “geekcentric tributes”.  I’ve got a very small but passionate group of colleagues and fans who enjoy my work, or at the very least see me as a hard working and talented actor (thank you those of you.  You know who you are.) And I’ve also got a few awesome people who could vouch for me. But the greater question is, would you guys want to see it?

I don’t want to play Arthur in it, I don’t want fame, at least not more than your average schmuck.  What I would like is a chance to be part of this awesome series, and above that to work with someone awesome like Justin Carmical and give a treat to those few awesome people who have been fans of me for the two years in which I’ve had the insanity to turn into a blue lantern wearing sorcerer of geekdom have watched my videos and supported me in my ventures.  And I just bet if some of my fans and colleagues start screaming loud enough, I could at the very least get an audition for the series.

So whaddaya say? Do you guys think I’m awesome enough to perform in the first reviewer based Tokusatsu series? If so, then let your voices be heard and stroke my already cocky and oversized ego (not remotely what I meant), and thanks for believing in my crazy overconfident ideas.

What I’m Working On

Wow, I actually remembered I have this. Well, don’t have much to say so here’s what I’m currently working on.

As far as Quest for Geekdom, it’s not done, it’s in hibernation right now.  When I have free time I’m working on season 2, which I intend to shoot the rest of this winter after having the scripts written and get them all out in early 2013 on a weekly basis.

As far as reviews, yes the timmverse one is coming, but I’m held up by my dear sweet beaux not having the time to work on titlecards anymore.  If an artist would be interesting in working with me on my generic titlecard for my reviews let me know, that will speed things along a bit. As for other reviews planned:

The Venture Brothers

A Tribute to Guillermo Del Toro (someone call Renegado)

Kill Bill

Kung Pow: Enter the Fist

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

Blazing Saddles

Ghostbusters Revisited

Airplane!

Pulp Fiction

Dances With Wolves

A Christmas Story Holiday Special

That’s not all I’m working on. Beatdrop is still continuing as well and I’ve got several topics that will be tackled in the future.

Remixes and Mashups

House

Raves

History of Dance Music special

Europe Vs. America

Video Games and EDM

And on top of that, I’ve got my Horror Knowledge Vlogs which I just started. There are about 39 films as of this date I will be talking about before this semester is out, from classic universal monsters to slasher films and even some Japanese Mindfuckery on the horizon.  Keep looking for them, as I’m going to have one out almost every two days from here until the end of the series.

So I’m a very busy beaver, I’ve got a lot in the pipeline and I’m committed to getting these out for everyone to see. I am still working, but keep in mind I also have a life so if things take a while to come out please be patient, but I do promise there will be content at least semi consistently and of good quality.  Happy viewing everyone!

State of the Quest: June 6th

Well I know I said I’d have a review of “The Matrix” out by now.  I do still intend to make that video and go into all the postmodern philosophy and hyperreality and all that, but, it will have to wait for a little bit.  Part of the reason it won’t be out for at least another month is because of another project I am working on. It’s still very top secret but what I can say is it will be worth the delay it has put on my series ten times over.  Later this month some details may arise, but for right now it’s still under wraps.

Also, after some meditation it became abundantly clear some extra foresight is needed.  I will be writing the remainder of the current season of Quest for Geekdom before the next video comes out.  However once that is finished if all goes according to plan then you can expect more frequent episodes, potentially even two a month on occasion.  The writing process is what takes the longest, so by removing that obstacle for each episode I can speed up the process by putting away time up front.

Keep an eye on my series folks, I am not dead, the series isn’t cancelled, but it might be a month or two before you see the next episode. But I promise, the things I have in the pipeline will make it all worth it, to my loyal fans. You guys, are indeed the true Paladins of Hope.

On Storylines

A lot of people tell me that they really admire that even though my storyline is a tried and true formula, I know where I want to go with it and I have a clear vision.  I know a lot of potential startups or people looking to get into storylines who want to make something incredibly epic, of which the current bar seems to be Apollo Z. Hacks “A Reviewaverse Saga”.  However Apollo didn’t create that willy nilly, and neither did any of the other better storylines I enjoy.

Here are some simple tips I can give for helping to craft a storyline for your series.

 

1. Read, Read, Read!

I cannot stress that enough, reading is incredibly important for world building, especially if your series wants to involve fantasy or sci fi elements.  And no, before you ask, comics don’t count in this sense.  Yes comics tell stories, however at the same time you are given images along with the story.  When you read a book your mind is set to work constructing the world the author set to convey, and in doing so you create your own image of that world unique to you.  This is an important exercise I cannot stress enough.  My own series actually takes inspiration from two of my favorite series, The Lost Years of Merlin series by T.A. Barron, and The Dark Tower series by Stephen King.  Read, discover far off lands, and have them help you craft your world.

 

2. Plan Ahead

If you are creating an epic story about how Jimmy Superpunch is going to defeat the Epic Evil of Evil, you’d better have a good grasp on where you’re going with that from day one.  You don’t need every detail fleshed out, but you need to know where you’re gonna end up, which character(s) are gonna end up where, and what Jimmy is gonna do.  Some of the storylines I look at currently are Spazzmaster aka RBG Productions ongoing story arc, and Stephan Krosecz’s Animated Analysis arc.  Both of these people have admitted to me that they know where they are going to end up, and what is going to happen.  The same goes for me and the tale of Arthur and the Geekron Empire.  If you have that end direction in mind it is much easier to plan and prepare for it, and your story will come out as stronger than if you write it on a whim.

 

3. Characters

What’s going to keep people coming back to your show isn’t the epic evil you’ll be fighting, it’s the characters. You ultimately want the audience to want to be emotionally invested in the struggle of your protagonist, and love to hate or potentially even understand the motivation of your antagonist.  I wouldn’t watch half the people I do if the characters and personalities they created were not interesting, or remained the same after years.  As time goes on your audience changes, the world changes, and so must your character.  This can take many forms and I will elaborate on them at a later date, but to truly succeed in writing storylines someone has to feel something for your characters.  If I’m not emotionally invested in Jimmy Superpunch, then what reason do I have to keep watching him?

 

4. Make It Your Own

This might break a couple of fanboys/fangirls hearts, but I gotta say it.  You stand a much better chance of succeeding as a producer if you do not simply copy the storyline or add on to the existing universe of another producer.  I know we’d all love to have our own lost Revuer Units, or our own connection to the myth of Lord Epic, or encounters with The Entity, but as flattering as it is to the original creators, it really makes your show no more than self insertion FanFic.  When I created my storyline I was a huge fan of Apollo Z. Hack and I even thought of connecting the universes, but over time I realized the Geekverse would be a greater accomplishment if it could stand on its own.  This in no way means you cannot reference other storylines or have other story figures appear (actually with collaboration it can make stories stronger) but your story cannot rely on the mythos of another producer’s creation.  People are much more impressed if it can bear resemblance or pay homage to certain things, but as an individual property you are stronger if you can stand by yourself on a foundation you created.

 

These are just a few tips I can give on storylines, but I want to lay groundwork to help those starting out producing.  If I can create what I did after never having made a video in my life there’s nothing stopping you.  You are free to disagree with my principles but these are some key points about storyline creation I feel need to be outlined.

 

If you have anything else you want me to talk about, let me know and I will try to make a post about it. Don’t worry, this whole Tumblr will not be advice stuff.

And It Begins

Ah, I see you found my cozy section of Tumblr.  If you came here following my twitter, you’re officially an awesome supporter. I’ve got a lot of stuff to say on this about reviewing, filmmaking, living with Greybob, and other stuff, so stay tuned.