Monday, February 7, 2011

Adorno, Horkheimer, and "Louie Louie"

Pre-post shout-out to Kelynne for completely stealing my thunder...but in light of the readings I decided to become a bit "cyclically recurrent" and "interchangeable" and make my post anyway.

The part of the reading that really captured my attention was the nature of "art" in a mass mediated society. The articles, especially Adorno and Horkheimer really get to the point when they argue that the content of our entertainment itself is derived from cyclically recurrent and invariable types.  "The details are can guess what is coming and feel flattered when it does come" (Adorno & Horkheimer, 1969, p. 125).  This reminded me of a bad high school informative speech I gave about the song "Louie Louie." (Interesting side-note...the song has 1,600 known variations and was played at KFJC in California for 63 hours straight without repeating the same song twice.)

Here's the link, I feel that the song "Louie Louie" is a very interesting case study for our readings, as the song itself has had many re-births and is the foundation for countless songs that followed.  For example listen to the Kingsmen's "Louie Louie," then Boston's "More Than a Feeling," & Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" each is utilizing the very same chord progression! If feel that this is an example of Bejamin's contention that "reproduction is more independent of the original than manual reproduction" bringing-out aspects of the original not visible by the naked eye, while "putting a copy of the original in situations where it would not normally be" (p. 2).

So my question of the class is: "Have we yet been able to 'reinvent the wheel' in terms of art in the 21st century; or are we simply re-mixing the past into new, yet thoroughly unoriginal, forms?

1 comment:

  1. What is really interesting about today's Pop Music in general is that most of it is built on very similar Chord Progressions that constantly repeated. It gets really hard to avoid thinking about music in terms of the repeated chord when you actually start to listen for the repeats.

    It is slightly alarming that much of the music we love today isn't really new, its just resurrected from the past. Many times, they add a pop beat and some funky noises, but haven't really done anything creative (I've had the time of my life)

    I found it interested that he cited Mozart as possibly being one of the last composers who balanced the "popular" and the "serious". Adorno argues that AFTER Mozart Music diverged; but I would actually point some of the blame on Mozart. He was one of the first popular composers who wrote Opera in German so more of the regular people could understand it. Although still masterful, he did increase the popularity of Opera among the lower classes.

    I think there is a real lack of "new". It seems like the vast majority of things today are re-mixes of the past.