Invariably at some point during a discussion of music, a person will level this charge against whatever genre he or she happens not to like. If they're into baroque classical, the victim will likely be rock; rock lovers tend to mention electronic music; a techno geek may point a finger at folk, and so forth. Each of these claims will be backed up by "facts" regarding the instrumentation and composition most often used in the genre, and the dedicated pseudo-intellectual critic will even know a list of artists to describe as derivative of one another. Of course, all information and descriptions will be skewed in such a way to make it appear that the artists really do keep singing the same song over and over. In extremely inbred musical circles, biased discussion isn't even necessary, as there is a general understanding that the genre in question needn't even be mentioned outside of jokes.

The problem with this view is that the artists who produce the music in question didn't think they were making a platter of uninteresting, derivative noise, and neither did the companies who published it. Actually, they all probably thought they were doing something new and wonderful, propelling the music they love towards the future as best they could. In other words, artists: A. Have a deeper understanding of the genre they're working in than the critic likely does, and B. Are trying to move that genre in new directions. Given these two universal artistic motivations, the view that all artists of a genre produce identical dreck is obviously ignorant.

More open-minded music appreciators know this. They understand that, for a variety of reasons, there are certain types of music that don't affect them emotionally or intellectually as much as others do, perhaps not at all. They also understand that this is a personal issue, which doesn't need to be argued for (or even mentioned!) in a conversation about that genre. Stick to a similar agnosticism in your own appreciation, and watch your overall understanding of musical culture skyrocket!

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