We are two brothers—nearly seven years apart in age—who grew up in the backwoods of a New England state and who are now separated as well by several thousand miles. While music was always a part of both of our lives, differences in age when we were adolescents and in subsequent experiences have yielded predictably varied, and often conflicting, tastes in music. Despite these distinctions and the distance between us, what unites us is both a love of music and a love of talking about music.
As in almost any endeavor, this blog has several motivations behind it. First, and foremost, we decided to start this blog as something of a public conversation between us. This cooperative project, we hope, will allow us to hear each other’s voice and opinion more frequently than life currently permits; the public nature, additionally, will also let others tell us when we’re full of it. Second, both of us are also passionate about writing and were eager to establish a venue where we could write regularly and, at times, savage each other’s language and logic (in the nicest way, of course).
Third, and most importantly, we have both found ourselves dissatisfied with the way people talk about popular music. From the perspective of the popular critic and the fan, the myopic focus of new album reviews and the commercial emphases of old and new media have rendered even great music temporary and disposable. From the perspective of academic and theoretical studies—with the exception of some post-modern philosophers/cultural critics and their followers who see any cultural artifact as worthy of serious consideration—the high-culture/low culture divide has prevented popular music from receiving the reflective and insightful study it deserves. While the two of us will approach our topics in popular music in different ways, both of us maintain the strong belief that the songs that we hold dear possess deep and resounding meaning and, further, that the pursuit of such meanings will teach us much not just about what it means to say that a song is good but also what a song can mean to a specific time and place and, perhaps most importantly, what the love/hate/mere appreciation of a song can tell us about ourselves.
We are not so arrogant as to assume that we are really doing anything all that original or radical. Instead, our hope is that we can combine the many disparate strands of our own individual lives into something that, at the very least, we can learn from together. At the most, we hope to invite and excite conversations from others. At the least, we are happy with a virtual version of the debates we have when get together and try to convince the other to listen to a song.