Segarini: Taste

I like to pride myself in having an open mind when it comes to just about everything. To paraphrase an old friend, I’ll try anything twice…just to make sure.

Having an open mind when you’re young is an investment in your future. By keeping an eye open and embracing your natural curiosity, you will find yourself learning what you like and don’t like, discover that you may want to delve deeper into some new experiences that come your way, and generally be learning as you go; what’s hot and what’s not as far as your personal opinion and interests are concerned. Eventually, you will begin to understand what floats your boat, and that, my friends, is how you develop taste.

The dictionary gives taste a weird sort of open-to-interpretation definition. To wit; Taste: The ability to make discerning judgments about aesthetic, artistic, and intellectual matters; discrimination… to have taste

Judgment of aesthetic or social matters according to a generally accepted standard …bad taste

Discretion; delicacy…that remark lacks taste

What throws me off here is the second statement, “Judgment of aesthetic or social matters according to a generally accepted standard …bad tasteOn the surface, that seems to indicate that following the lead of the accepted standards opined by the masses means you have bad taste, or does it mean if you follow the herd, you have no taste of your own? Does that qualify as bad taste? Clearly, I am not as smart as I think I am.

Whatever the case, my personal taste has always been at loggerheads with most of what becomes popular with the masses. Not all, mind you, and certainly a large number of ubiquitous cultural touchstones are part of my guilty, and not-so-guilty pleasures, but I find myself drifting further and further away from the mainstream, and this brings up an interesting question; am I getting too old for this shit? I’d like to think not.

In my defense, I have never gotten off the train, meaning I still seek out new and interesting things. From food, to all forms of entertainment and diversion, I am wide eyed and bushy tailed, looking toward the new and interesting, and using my past experience, (coupled with a thirst to add to that which makes me happy, entertained, or engaged), be able to discern what is worthy of my attention, and if something piques my interest, to pursue it with the same relish I have always had for anything that resonates with me.

Thanks to the mainstream’s inability to refrain itself from hyping whatever has caught the public’s eye, the latest popular items are delivered to us all on a silver platter. Never ending advertisements, reprinted press releases in magazines and newspapers, constant bombardment on the internet, television and radio, puff pieces and behind-the-scene teasers and trailers herald the arrival of everything from a new soda pop flavour, movie, CD, or television program, to  technical advances, widgets, gadgets, apps and appliances we will ‘no longer be able to live without’. Sometimes, the hype is justified, (microwave ovens, The Beatles, cell phones, The Godfather, Sopranos, and Mad Men), sometimes it is not, (The Edsel, Crystal Pepsi, Aerosol Cheese, Kenny Roger’s Chicken, HBO’s Luck, Superman Returns). Sometimes, however, the hype results in incredible financial success and popularity, but leaves me scratching my head. For example, I know millions upon millions of people love Survivor, American Idol, and Grey’s Anatomy, but for the life of me, with all my experience and open mindedness, try as I might, I have to admit I am stumped. Every fiber of my being says the same thing to me when I tried to watch these programs; this sucks.

I don’t mind that these shows are popular. I simply cannot fathom why they are. Sure, I can trot out a bunch of socio-economic reasons for their success, but these reasons would be subliminal and subconscious at best to those who follow these programs. I can also put forth myriad reasons why they shouldn’t be successful, but it wouldn’t make any difference if I did…and for some weird reason, it pisses off the shows fans. I find that odd because I care not at all if people don’t love what I love. I find arguments over personal taste in these matters silly beyond reason. I welcome discussion and discourse between two opposing views, but rarely do they stay civil. I am used to being called an idiot for liking James Taylor, American Dad, and Hot in Cleveland…and I think I am alone in my appreciation of Whitney Cummings and her 2 network shows, Whitney, and the hilarious 2 Broke Girls. I find Magic City a great hour of television even though every review called it a mess. The much maligned Ishtar is one of my favourite movies and the greatest screenplay ever written about writing songs. With rare exception I find award winning films, music, and television programs to be undeserving on many levels. Modern Family is one stereotypical cliché after another, where Community soars with originality. Fringe is a complex tapestry of great characters and inventive storytelling, and hangs by a thread, while House is fawned over like a rich uncle. Even Hugh Laurie is sick of it and is calling it quits this season. Or so he says. If anyone wants to discuss any of this, you know where to find me.

So, am I out of touch? I don’t know myself. I think it’s more a matter of my own, personal taste. I assume I would be more upset about feeling nothing toward a lot of popular entertainment if I were younger…acceptance and being part of the body politic is much more important when you’re young, but at my age I don’t mind dancing alone. At least I’m still dancing.

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When it comes to music the “you’re just too old to get it” card gets played a lot. If I was still trying to fit into the pants I wore in high school and didn’t own a record released after 1975, I would probably agree with you, but that is not the case. I can’t even listen to classic rock radio stations without wondering what happened to the other 10,000 songs I used to love from that era. I clearly recall Led Zeppelin had 60 or more songs besides the ones I always heard whenever I tried to listen to the stations that play the music from my youth. To be honest, I much prefer the music of the 50s and 80s…and the incredible music being made currently.

With the mainstream no longer interested in music discovery, I, like every other music lover out there, have gotten used to trolling the Internet for new music to listen to. It also helps that we all share our findings in hopes of being turned on to another Rival Sons or Research Turtles, or Rumer, or Dirty Loops.

My dear friend (and insanely talented individual) Ty Templeton recently bemoaned the fact that the music of his generation, Hip-Hop, has been around for a good 35 years or more and seems to have settled into its current state of stagnation and corporate influenced flaccidness, even though it still sounds tough and edgy with profanity abounding, its core themes of racial injustice, poverty, the Ghetto Experience, and political frustration have been reduced to rapping about how much money they have, how much better they are than you, and how many bitches and hoes they can deck while buying diamond watches and cars that cost more than your house. And male and female rappers alike can’t help but go on and on about how much sex they get to have. Maybe if they stopped fucking long enough to write a decent song, the rest of us could get laid once in a while…and they might come up with something new.

What seems to be happening now is electronica is becoming the new preferred genre of choice. Ironic that sampling other artists records as a source of tracks for rap artists by DJs has led to the DJs themselves becoming the biggest stars on the street right now. Still, maybe rap with find itself again. There was a time when it was vital, engaging, entertaining, and every bit as diverse as rock and roll.

Open your minds, have a listen, and show some respect where respect is due.

This is a VERY small sample of what is out there, from the great and entertaining to the current crop of high concept product.

Shit that’s Essential

The Sugarhill Gang: Rapper’s Delight

Influenced: Blondie: Rapture

Political frustration led to: Grandmaster Flash: The Message

The influx of drugs into the projects and ghettos produced: Grandmaster Flash: White Lines

Rick James: Super Freak

Became: MC Hammer: Can’t Touch This

Possibly the most important record in the re-blending of black and white musical culture since Elvis Presley: Run DMC/Aerosmith: Walk This Way

Great songs, great performance, great success, not a bad track on this album: Bobby Brown: Every Little Step

Shit that Mattered

Spike Lee puts it in a movie: Public Enemy: Fight the Power

Life in the streets: N.W.A: Boyz N Da Hood

The truth be told: Ice Cube: It Was a Good Day

Spread the wealth: The Notorius B.I.G: Juicy

Shit that Don’t

This is other people’s work, a bag of weed, and a great con job. Puff couldn’t write a sympathy card of his own, he just wrote on someone else’s. A re-gifted ode to Notorius B.I.G: Puff Daddy: I’ll Be Missing You

Raised in the exclusive neighborhood of Forest Hill, attended the best schools, became an actor at 15, seems unable to speak his mind: Drake: Awkwardly Explaining Himself

The latest dynasty begins: Lil Wayne ft. Drake: She Will

A nice Jewish Boy stalks an ex-girlfriend: Drake: Marvin’s Room

You can hear the song in the upper right corner. Every line explained, just highlight each line: Drake: Lyrics to “The Motto

Pitbull knows we want him: Pitbull: I Know You Want Me

Why write a song for this film when I can just do this: Pitbull: Back in Time

It’s all in the chorus: Nicki Minaj: Stupid Hoe

You know judging from this: Nicki Minaj: Bees in the Trap

And this: Tyga: Rack City

Maybe I am too old for this shit.

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Segarini’s column appears every Monday

Contact us at dbawis@rogers.com

Bob “The Iceman” Segarini was in the bands The Family Tree, Roxy, The Wackers, The Dudes, The Segarini Band, and Cats and Dogs, andnominated for a Juno for production in 1978. He also hosted “Late GreatMovies” on CITY TV, was a producer of Much Music, and an on-air personality on CHUM FM, Q107, SIRIUS Sat/Rad’s Iceberg 95, (now sadly gone), and now provides content for radiothatdoesntsuck.com with RadioZombie, The Iceage, and PsychShack. Along with the love of his life, Jade (Pie) Dunlop, (who hosts and writes “I’ve Heard That Song Before” on RTDS), continues to write, make music, and record.

4 Responses to “Segarini: Taste”

  1. Enlighting and entertainaning as always! Thank Bob.

  2. Glenn Gallup Says:

    Another entertaining post Bob. And about music I like it if it has a good beat and I can dance to it.

  3. Lapped it up, swallowed and said “that was good!”

  4. […] Segarini:  Taste from Don’t Believe a Word I Say […]

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