I could end up liking Robert Johnson if suddenly the music clicks and his voice becomes beautiful to listen to, I then buy into the atmosphere the song creates and suddenly the melodies make sense and maybe I overcome my unfamiliarity to old blues music.
Sort of like the sensation I got when I finally "get" Dylan where suddenly everything makes sense.
However, then I would argued that the music would be timeless due to the intrinsic quality of the songwriting or the intrinsic qualities of Robert Johnson as a performer. I wouldn't be using originality to support whether I personally love the artist or not. I would use originality to argue whether an artist is historically important though.
What I meant by obsolete, is well refer to John Mcferrin Byrds review where he asked "Which is more important - the way an artistic achievement holds up on an 'absolute' scale against all art both before and after it, or the difference of itself and what came before?"
I tend to favour the absolute scale (by the way, I don't complete disregard originality, it's just a minor criteria for me instead of the core songwriting criteria i mention before). An item or a song may be great in the 1950's may not be great in 2011 because people took the innovation and taken it to a higher level,
I'll copy and paste my previous post on this
"Band 1 - invents a style
Band 2 - continued that style and merge it with good songwriting (melodies and made the style accessible)
Band 3 - Developed the songwriting in that style further and merge it with meaningful lyrics.
Band 4 - Developed the songwriting in that style even further by creating elaborate and complex arrangement combined with great lyrics and excellent songwriting
Some will say that Band 1 is the most original as it invented the style. Some would say that Band 2 as the most original as it showed the public that the style is a legitimate genre of music (probably the starostin angle of originality with the Beatles and The Byrds who didn't invent any genre of music but manage to combine the innovation of that period with solid songwriting, the byrds were the case that The searcher invented the jangly guitar tone but the byrds were still credited with that innovation, although the byrds definitely pioneered psychedelia and folk rock though).
However in my case I'll say band 4 is the best of the lot and is the most original because it demonstrated the full potential of that style even if there was nothing original about clever arrangement, good lyrics and good melodies. Even if band 4 was around 40 years after the style was invented. "
I mention before that the only way I downgrade an album is when I heard another album that is in the same style but done better. I like to have a favourite album that satisfy a particular emotional niche. The album that achieves that is the album with the best songwriting from that genre. The original band that invented that style may of been the best band to fulfill that niche when it was first invented but may not be the best band to fulfill that niche decades after it was invented and that's why it can be viewed as "obsolete". Great at it's time but not so great now. IMO that's my overall feeling of Velvet Underground first two albums (IMO john Mcferrin quote about originality would have suited that band more than the byrds in my mind who I believe the song still stands out today).
About downgrading Radiohead. I would have to downgrade Radiohead if I used Starostin strict criteria where 20% of his rating of the band is determine by originality. That's really what I meant by that. If I develop my own rating system that incorporates originality, it would obviously be more flexible.
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