15 November 2009
2.) Regarding those Bud Light “The Difference is Drinkability” ads, I'm not sure that “drinkable” even admits of degree. No beer is any less drinkable than Bud Light unless it's frozen or something. However, I do have to admit that “drinkability” is a difference between Bud Light and, say, hamburgers.
05 November 2009
I am surprised to say that I agree with the Weekly Standard on this one. I’m surprised because I don’t think of myself as anti-Dylan, and I had a lengthy Dylan phase in high school, and I remember having some kind of wildly intense aesthetic experience when I saw Dylan live during that phase. But I think the reason I agree with the Weekly Standard is that I’ve definitely seen this thing happen where dedicated Dylan fans let Bob’s music determine their scale of judgment. Things like melodic complexity, rise and fall, and the craft of arranging just drop off the list of things that the greatest songwriter ever would have to have a grasp on.
There’s something to be said for trusting an artist to the point where you suspend your judgment. This is what I will do with anything by The Mountain Goats or Lambchop. But then I have to keep myself aware that when other people hear recent stuff by TMG, they might just hear a guy with a nasal voice and an affinity for adult contemporary production, and Lambchop might just sound like lazy lounge music. That is to say: it can be a worthwhile trade to ignore an artist’s shortcomings in order to appreciate what they do well, but outsiders are going to find it incomprehensible when you start insisting that the shortcomings are in fact strengths. And this shortcomings-to-strengths thing is what the Weekly Standard guy is complaining about.
Sometimes I try to imagine what kind of music Bob Dylan would have written if he’d never had to wrestle with fame.