(In Fairness with Celebrity Pop Artists and On Discouraging Music Discrimination)
About 15 years ago, when my younger self’s love for music was still considerably immature and discriminatory, I usually dismissed Celebrity Pop artists as wannabes and their music unworthy of anyone’s attention. When I say Celebrity Pop, I mean music recorded by celebrity personalities who are more famous as film or TV stars—like Mandy Moore and Scarlett Johansson—or whose rise to popularity originated from TV singing competitions like American Idol—such as Kelly Clarkson and Adam Lambert—or whose fame is marred with scandals and controversies—like Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. Even without having the chance to listen to them first, ordinary music listeners are quick to claim that these performers and their respective music are crap and a waste of their time. However, to a true music enthusiast, consideration for such artists is warranted; because a true music enthusiast does not discriminate and, for him, music is music whatever its origin.
When You Dismiss Particular Genres of Music, You Are Committing Music Discrimination
Whatever negative remarks other journalists and music lovers might have to say about Celebrity Pop artists, I still regard their music as legitimate music because I don’t discriminate music. I regard all genres of music—from Hip-hop to Black Metal and Classical to Celebrity Pop—as cultural mementos that can give me a glimpse of a particular society or era. Also, I am able to separate the personal lives of such artists from their art—films or music, enabling me to experience unbiased and utmost listening pleasure.
Like for instance, despite the controversies hounding Miley Cyrus or Lindsay Lohan’s current serious ‘rehab’ problems, I could still enjoy listening to their music. Regardless if the songs in the albums of the socialite Paris Hilton and the former adult-film actress Traci Lords were written for them by commissioned songwriters, I can still appreciate their music to the fullest, untainted by their controversial misadventures in life.
Comparing Genres Subjectively Prevents One from Experiencing Music to the Fullest.
Many Celebrity Pop artists may have become popular or more known for other areas of art like acting or singing (in contrast with songwriting) and may have started their careers by joining TV competitions, but to try their hands in recording and releasing music remains their right as artists, and I respect them for that. But don’t get me wrong! I am not implying that the music of Miley Cyrus is equal to that of, say, Queen or Michael Jackson or Emerson, Lake & Palmer especially in terms of production or the songwriting process; but what I’m trying to say is that comparing music in a negative way (based on genre, originality, or other personal biases) can prevent one from enjoying it to the fullest. For instance, if you’re a big fan of complex music like Progressive Rock or Classical, you don’t need to compare this subjectively with music from less complicated genres like Punk, Pop, or Hip-hop if you decide to try listening to these styles; because if you do so, it will prevent you from appreciating forms of music other than your favorites. Then, you reduce yourself to a biased and hypocritical music lover. Don’t you want instead to be called a consummate music enthusiast—someone who can listen passionately to all kinds of music without prejudice? Besides, can you stand up and honestly proclaim that your own life is squeaky free of any deficiency? Would you like people to reject what you are offering or selling them just because they found this little flaw in your personal life? This is nothing different with Celebrity Pop artists or any other artists for that matter, who are hoping that people will respect or at the least appreciate their art or craft (i.e., movies or music) despite any shortcomings in their personal lives.
Some Celebrity Pop Artists and Their Music with Notable Songs
In fairness with many Celebrity Pop artists, they are involved also in the songwriting process of some of their songs—whether lyrics or additional melodies or chord progressions.
Traci Lords: 1,000 Fires (1995, “Fly,” written by Tom Bailey and Alannah Currie of Thompson Twins)
Mandy Moore: So Real (1999, “Candy,” written by David Rice and Mark Stevens), I Wanna Be with You (2000, “Lock Me in Your Heart,” written by Tony Battaglia and Shaun Fisher), Mandy Moore (2001, “When I Talk to You,” written with Matthew Hager), Coverage (2003, “The Whole of the Moon,” original by The Waterboys, written by Mike Scott), Wild Hope (2007, “Can’t You Just Adore Her?”, written with Lori McKenna), Amanda Leigh (2009, “I Could Break Your Heart Any Day of the Week,” written with Mike Viola of Candy Butchers)
Kelly Clarkson: Thankful (2003, “The Trouble with Love Is,” written with Evan Rogers and Carl Sturken), Breakaway (2004, “Since U Been Gone,” written by Lukasz Gottwald and Max Martin), My December (2007, “One Minute,” written with Kara DioGuardi, Chantal Kreviazuk, and Raine Maida), All I Ever Wanted (2009, “Already Gone,” written with Ryan Tedder)
Lindsay Lohan: Speak (2004, “Anything but Me,” written with Kara DioGuardi and John Shanks), A Little More Personal (Raw) (2005, “Confessions of a Broken Heart [Daughter to Father],” written with Kara DioGuardi and Greg Wells)
Carrie Underwood: Some Hearts (2005, “I Ain’t in Checotah Anymore,” written with Trey Bruce and Angelo Petraglia), Carnival Ride (2007, “All-American Girl,” written with Ashley Gorley and Kelly Lovelace), Play On (2009, “Cowboy Casanova,” written with Mike Elizondo and Brett James)
Paris Hilton: Paris (2006,”Stars Are Blind,” written by Fernando Garibay, Sheppard Solomon, and Ralph McCarthy)
Miley Cyrus: Meet Miley Cyrus (2007, “See You Again,” written with Antonina Armato and Tim James), Breakout (2008, “7 Things,” written with A. Armato and T. James), Can’t Be Tamed (2010, “Who Owns My Heart,” written with A. Armato, T. James, and Devrim Karaoglu)
Scarlett Johansson: Anywhere I Lay My Head (2008, “Song for Jo,” written with David Andrew Sitek of TV on the Radio)
Adam Lambert: Take One (2009, “Light Falls Away,” written by Michael Burtscher), For Your Entertainment (2009, “Whataya Want from Me,” written by Pink, Max Martin, and Shellback)
Susan Boyle: I Dreamed a Dream (2009, “Who I Was Born to Be,” written by
Audra Mae, Mark Linn-Baker, Johan Fransson, Tobias Lundgren, and Tim Larsson), The Gift (2010, “Don’t Dream It’s Over,” original by Crowded House, written by Neil Finn)
I used to laugh at and negatively criticize types of music that I didn’t like. But as I grew older, I have learned to appreciate and experience music in all its genres. I think this is a mark of a true music enthusiast. I believe that anyone who harbors discrimination against music is not different from someone who criticizes people because of their race, gender, or religion.
To be able to appreciate music to the fullest is a skill not acquired overnight; it is an ability learned and developed through years of listening to different genres of music. If you feel that you haven’t reached that stage yet, you can start your musical journey by respecting at the least the music of Celebrity Pop artists and the songs’ respective songwriters (not necessarily the artists themselves).