Music should never start calling itself art. Why so you may wonder. Well, music is an artform quite seperate from others, rarely recognized as one, always considered less and lowly.
Schopenhauer liked to give music a specificly different position within the arts, because it enabled one to get closest to the world and reveals the ‘in itself’ of it. It does that only if the music is a pure music. It gives us a direct insight and tells something directly about the will of the universe and its unity. He does not condone getting down to it though, music is for comtemplation and Schopenhauer might not consider your favorite metal band music.
…when music suitable to any scene, action, event, or environment is played, it seems to disclose to us its most secret meaning, and appears to be the most accurate and distinct commentary on it.
But Schopenhauer is a rare case. others like Immanuel Kant considered music beautiful and intriguing but ultimately lacking in the meaning and force of communiction that other forms of arts have. Neither did Pound think of it much and by extention and regardles of his profound influence on pop music, neither did T.S. Eliot embrace it, in particular popular music. It’s what it is.
The arts have not been kind to music, and it as an art form has been left on its own with its very own appreciation. Also when it comes to subsidizing of the arts, music is the last to get any dough to make it work. Rather the powers that be will try to keep the fledgling poets alive by funding weird poetry on walls, at bus stops or on benches, because the poet needs to be kept alive. The result of that is not a resurrection love of the word, but just crappy poetry pooped out by bad poets who found a way to make money doing something they apparently care so little for. If they did, they would know that their twitter-style poetry of putting words together in a way you can find on the infuriating ‘justgirlythings’ cards on tumblr is not really artistic. Enough about this topic…
So what can you find when you actually look for music and philosophy, specially pop music. I found this one blog which attempts to bring the two together, but really all it does is bring about connections between the sentences that might make sense, but really would make the artist in question just go ‘wa??’. Also, the whole Katy Perry analysis, comparing a her song to Plato’s cave metaphor is just cute, but ofcourse not adding any value or validation to the music of Katy Perry (which is as yet mostly still done by her other assets). They are great tunes though, that make you feel a bit better, but they’re not charged with meaning, subtext and so forth. That’s alright.
In my view art doesn’t need to explain itself apart from the aesthetic. It beats a shitty explanation you might get with a flowerpot filled with concrete and a broomstick stuck in it, that would read something like: “This art represents the apparent liberty of current day women, who are allowed to look at the top but never achieve it due to male dominated powerstructures that keep them achored to the lowly positions…” See, I knock that stuff up without a thought. Do you feel offended, because this was your art project? Well, that’s how artistic it feels.
Music does not get the validation from thinkers or the ‘art-industry’ of being art. Therefore, it should stop trying to be and define itself on its own terms. Music is music and art is whatever some pompous git somewhere thinks. Music is thanks to this also much more accesible and open, it’s less likely to create elitism (yeah, there’s the hipster thing, but you can pretty much ignore that compared to the sniggering ‘oh-look-at-me-being-provocative-with-a-cucumber-under-my-dress’ crowd in the art world. Art doesn’t want you to come enjoy it, it wants to be left alone and exist outside of society, in its ivory tower (meaning funded by the government). Music wants you to come in and embrace it. So let it be just that way.
True art doesn’t need a label or funding, it’ll just be. That’s what music is doing right now.