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Is That Screaming in Notes Really Called Music?

Val enjoys turning his thoughts into a form of an article or a rhyme, while not necessarily keeping in mind reader's possible taste.


I want every girl in the world to pick up a guitar and start screaming.

-- Courtney Love

Any Quality Criteria Left in Artistic Expression?

My being an old-timer should not affect the validity of my arguments in this post targeting that screaming type of the modern music. To be clear where I am coming from with that, I believe that there should be some standards in evaluation of what is to be considered as art, and what is not.

The mere existence of music critics would suggest that there really are such "objective" yardsticks that are not solely based on tastes.

Now, before I get to my announced arguments, I'd like to prepare the terrain for them by saying a few words about the painting art, from which it will be possible to draw a qualitative parallel to music. Namely, I'd like to address that "anything goes" syndrome that's been hijacking the very definition of artistic expression for quite some time.

Really, is there a limit to freedom in art, because if there is none, then it's easier to understand those canvasses with just splashed paint onto them and sold as "surreal art".

Allegedly, Pablo Picasso, the famed originator of direction in art called "cubism", was cited for saying how he didn't worry about his many paintings being stolen from the basement of his house -- because "without his signature they were worthless."

Really? What is it saying about everything else in, at least modern artistic creations, where Picasso's art belongs? Does it mean that people are paying massive prices for some crap which just happens to have a famous name under it?

That somewhat reminds me of some ridiculously expensive memorabilia -- say, the Elvis Presley's drug prescription bottle being sold for some tens of thousands of dollars.

Now we are not even talking about "art", but about sheer snobbism.

As a matter of fact, that's exactly what Pablo Picasso disclosed, saying that he had come up with cubism only with the intention to mock the snobbish Parisian public.

So what is art and what is not?

There was a test done with art academy graduates, who had to guess which of lined up paintings were less known creations by masters, and which were just amateurish attempts. Of course, signatures were hidden.

You must have guessed -- those knowledgeable art graduates picked mostly amateurs' works as belonging to masters.


I'll never make it, it will never happen, because they are never going to hear me, 'cause they are screaming all the time.

-- Elvis Presley

Halloween on Fashion Runway

To prolong this beating around the bush for another moment, somewhat similar situation can be observed in the wardrobe fashion. I shamelessly admit that from time to time, while flipping channels I may stop for a moment at such a show -- not curious "what's in style", but to have a good laugh.

No matter what sophisticated lingo they may use in praise, or advertising those ridiculous looking garments, they simply look grotesque -- if not also insulting otherwise gorgeous looking models.

I just can't help remembering Picasso's confession about his art being aimed at the snobbish public -- wondering if the creators in fashion secretly ganged up to mock the snobbishly acquired taste of some rich people.

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Fancy terminology in fashion, as well as the one in general art including modern music, is so cosmetically artificial and abstract that both, creators and critics, could easily talk about it for an hour without really saying anything of any substance.

Then anything becomes an "art", as long as it somehow fits within the frames of that terminology.

Now, without claiming to be a psychic, I can easily hear some proponents of that modern art, whether visual or musical, who are bound to say: "You can keep your old-timer's taste, but don't criticize something that you don't know anything about.

To them I would say: " To know what?"

When they would say "know", would it also mean "knowledge" of those art graduates who. with their knowledge couldn't tell the difference between works of masters and those of amateurs?

Indeed, who are we kidding here?

I know, I will be straying from my main theme, but it could add to my arguments to mention just about any other part of the cultural paradigm, like politics, religion, medicine -- where something like "intellectual taste" is heavily replacing logical reasoning and emotional sensibility.


There is a frenetic energy in screaming and yelling and being a rebel in a way.

-- The Ultimate Warrior

Is It a Musical Version of the Primal Scream Therapy?

I wonder, who was that first "musical Picasso" who came up with this brilliant idea of screaming in notes genre.

Only guessing here, but it seems like it was born along with the so called "sexual revolution", when all sexual taboos collapsed, even to the point where some liberated priests thought it was O.K. to have sex with minors.

If even they could take those liberties so literally, why be surprised at all massive "sinners" with a bottle of beer in one hand, and a joint in another, to madly fall in love with all that screaming racket.

While those hippies were getting carried away with their rebellion against the Establishment, it looks like they also dumped the baby with water, sacrificing some good musical finesse.

It doesn't take Sigmund Freud to analyze it -- all that accumulated anger, frustration, and intolerance found its outlet in loud electrical instruments, drums, and a crescendo in which lyrics were hardly heard, because it was screaming that gave it its signature of madness that they needed.

The rule of "anything goes" even may sound like an understatement when it's about that "rap music" which really sounds like chanting around the fire in a rain forest, with occasional profanities giving an extra spice of a "cultivated music".

Just the other day I was at a shopping mall, and wrapped in a deafening instrumental chaos was this screaming female vocalist exhibiting sounds of labor pains from giving a birth to twins, both trying to come out at the same time.

Have you lately been at any wedding receptions? If you can remember, were you able to hear the person sitting next to you, or you were resorting to reading lips.

I tried to make some sense out of that assault on my ear drums. Well, I only have 60% hearing left -- not from listening to loud music, but as a gift from the army times with all that shooting and exploding -- so that another explosion or two of musical instruments couldn't bother too much.

(By the way, I was not in any wars, but a drill sergeant running a daily loud show of military insanity).

And yet, a curious old fart that I am, I asked some youngsters what they got out of all that loud crap. O.K., I didn't put it this way, but they might have read it that way from my facial expression.

They just looked at each other and sheepishly smiled, and it was my time to read from their faces something like: "You are an old-timer, you wouldn't understand".

I didn't, and they were not helping.


The neighbors prefer I don't do vocals at night. It gets a little iffy when I'm screaming.

-- Aesop Rock

Just The Element of Imposing That Stinks

When some people described to me what nudist beaches look like, I got a clear, and not particularly pleasant picture of all those unattractive human specimens advertising their genitalia.

I could almost hear Papa Freud laughing from his grave, while he was obsessing about the role of sexuality in almost everything with an emotional charge in it.

Likewise, he would be amused seeing those orgasmic expressions on those guitarists' faces, along with the way they are handling the necks of their instrument -- having something "phallic" in it.

At times it makes me wonder -- couldn't these young people just buy themselves a punching bag and use a pillow for screaming -- if they are too lazy to frequent a gym, where much of that excess energy could be discharged.

Why pollute the musical atmosphere with this screaming? Well, maybe that's the very punchline of that joke -- doing it in public, "being heard", that's what does it.

I understand that new generations have to come up with something new, and it's their right. Honestly about it, I simply don't like when they impose it on others. Like your neighbor playing his music loud and not caring if you like it or it's just a noise to you.

That element of inconsideration and being uncivil is what doesn't sit well in my head; otherwise, let everyone knock themselves out with any crap of their choice. Why do they have to play it in shopping malls? Why that idiot in a car beside yours is blowing up his eardrums and doing the same to yours?

Well, times are changing all right.

I love change, but in a direction which offers something better. And by the way, I don't need a punching bag, nor a pillow for screaming into it, nor a stinking gym to deal with my emotionality.

So that's what my kind of change has resulted with. A finesse, away from primitivistic outbursts which are not proving anything other than a lack of a good and effective stress management.

© 2022 Val Karas

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