Aug 202010

Close your eyes.

Following some recent comments regarding a couple of Townspeople’s distaste for Cheap Trick, BigSteve suggested the following advice:

It’s too late for y’all to get Cheap Trick, but, as with Herman’s Hermits, they’re a great example of the ‘listen but don’t look’ principle.

The listen but don’t look principle should be of assistance for Townspeople who can’t get past a variety of visual beefs: from silly stage wear and goofy antics to the vagaries of aging and genetics. Think of all the artists whose music might benefit from the application of this principle in your own listening life. Certainly this principle has its limits, but BigSteve may be onto something. This may be why some of us find rock ‘n roll most enjoyable when holed up in a dark room, alone and listening to recorded music.


  10 Responses to “The Listen But Don’t Look Principle”

  1. ladymisskirroyale

    I think those are profound observations. Sort of like reading a book and then when the movie/tv version comes out the characters are not at all as you imagined.

    Isn’t part of the magic of music the mystery of it? Maybe that’s the right brain side. I certainly enjoy the left brain, geek side of how it was made, (see other post about harmonics, etc.) Or maybe some music appeals to one part of you, and other music to another. I tend to retch at “jam band” music, but I can understand how some people out there really get in to the solos and laugh at the little improvisations that are thrown in.

    Mr. Royale and I are divided on God Speed You Black Emperor. He loves the musical “tension and release of tension” as well as the soundscapes that are produced. I think it’s pretentious twaddle and walk out of the room when it’s on.

    But in inverse to the “Listen But Don’t Look” principle, there are bands that I appreciated more after seeing them live, Tortoise being the first one to come to mind.

    I digress. How jam band-y of me…

  2. BigSteve

    Yes, but Tortoise’s Look was never a marketing tool for the music.

    I love Cheap Trick, but the two geeks/two pretty boys gimmick got in the way of some people hearing the music, even as it may have drawn some people in.

    Jandek may be too far in the other direction. But the star-making machinery overloads us with photos of musicians, and I find people crafting their Look as much as their music tiresome, though I am admittedly not a visual person.

  3. bostonhistorian

    I don’t think it was a gimmick, that’s just the way it sorted out. I love the “In Color” album cover concept…

  4. hrrundivbakshi

    I dunno about the central thesis of this post, but the work you put into the ancillary photo links is well and truly admirable!

  5. 2000 Man

    No doubt, HVB! I can overlook a lot of dumb things bands do to get attention, but those pictures are terrific!

  6. Blue Oyster Cult
    Carol King
    The Go-Gos
    K.D. Lang
    Michael McDonald
    Ronnie Milsap
    Van Morrison.

    can ya tell i did this by scanning my own itunes? i don’t want to look at any of these folks, but i like their tunes just fine!

  7. Mr. Moderator

    Ronnie Milsap feels the same way about you, kilroy!

  8. The Oscar Wilde story needs to be updated from Dorian Gray to “The Picture of Eddie Van Halen.” Share his mug with any of your children that are dabbling in partying.

  9. The problem with being a MTV-ready musician or band is that you will will be in HD in 20 years. Duran Duran, Blondie, Heart used image to sell their music (and music to sell their image) and now look very scary on TV.

    ZZ Top, Devo etc. were a cartoon and one that was built to age well.

    I just saw Crowded House and they look old, but nobody cared – they were not exactly fashion plates in their day.

    The Forigner, Styx, 38-Specials, Journeys of the world were faceless (and have new younger members) so it is no big deal

    KISS had to go back to the makeup (And enlist two younger guys) but even the makeup can’t hide Paul & Gene’s advanced age.

    With the Music Video era officially over (MTV drops “music-television from name)these artists can go back to using a promo pic from 1986 and lots of clothes, makeup and hats onstage.

  10. Mr. Moderator

    I like the idea of those faceless corporate rock bands having the ability to swap in new members with no one knowing the difference! There seems to be a thread for discussion somewhere in this concept.

Lost Password?

twitter facebook youtube