Bad Genre, Good Music

November 24, 2008

Penn Jillette is one of my favorite celebrities. His chosen profession, magic, is one I have no interest in, but his comedic wit and philosophical musings have won me over.

In Jillette’s latest vlog, he talks about musical artists who defy his dislike for their genre. He mentions John Hartford in bluegrass and Bach in classical. 

Like Jillette, I’m beginning to realize that there are plenty of other artists I enjoy, in spite of not liking their genre. I’m not a big Motown fan, but I can’t help but enjoy The Temptations and The Supremes. I’m not into musicals, but I love the Sound of Music.

I love finding new artists in already familiar genres, but there is something amazing about finding those artists that transcend genre. Some artists are simply so good that I can look past their genre.

Sometimes their greatness can even force me to rethink my previously held disdain for their genre. I often hear of people with similar tastes in music as me who say they hate country or they hate rap.

If only the coutry-haters listened to a little Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson or Will Oldham. Or the rap-haters listened to a little bit of Lil’ Wayne, Lupe Fiasco, Kanye West or Eminem, before they right off the entire genre.

This week’s Saturday Night Live was hosted by country music star Tim McGraw with musical guest rappers Ludacris and T-Pain. It was an interesting pairing of styles. Hopefully, the people who tuned in just to see Tim McGraw enjoyed the Ludacris and T-Pain performance, and those who were waiting for Ludacris to perform, heard Tim McGraw’s opening monologue.