Serious Musicians

Since the blog has, of late, become the site of intense discussions on the quality of rock versus classical music, I think it’s important that I as a classical music partisan take a music appreciation moment and recognize that while rock may in some ways be a limited genre compared to classical music, it is none the less capable of evoking deep and powerful human emotions, and many rock musicians are in fact very talented and deeply influenced by the classical masters:


Indeed, Spinal Tap should be recognized as one of the groups from across the pond which has been around from the early days of rock:

And important social commentary during a time of upheaval:

Not to mention an understanding of world religious traditions:

And a sophisticated approach to romance:

9 Responses to Serious Musicians

  • I have been disappointed by Spinal Tap’s infrequent use of the cowbell. That said, if you want to crank the music up to 11, these guys are the best.

  • Cowbell lovers rejoice!

    Mahler knows its virtues and expressive potential (Symphony 4, 1st movement):

  • It’s good to see Spinal Tap get the recognition they deserve. They should also be taken seriously as philosophers:

    “Well, I don’t really think that the end can be assessed as of itself as being the end because what does the end feel like? It’s like saying when you try to extrapolate the end of the universe, you say, if the universe is indeed infinite, then how – what does that mean? How far is all the way, and then if it stops, what’s stopping it, and what’s behind what’s stopping it? So, what’s the end, you know, is my question to you.”

    If you didn’t know any better you would think you were reading Saint Thomas Aquinas. Well, at least if the Angelic Doctor had been drunk and a member of a rock band.

  • And of course, they deserve credit for recognizing that, “There’s a very fine line between clever and… and stupid. A very fine line.”

  • Not to mention the awareness that Boston really isn’t a college town.

    While all of those songs are important, I really think you are missing the significance of the agrarian themes in “Sex Farm Woman.” It adds a dimension to their work that is often overlooked.

  • Any discussion of Spinal Tap must include the political commentary of their “Smell the Glove” album. Clearly it was meant to be an indictment of the rampant misogyny within the musical industry. Their original album cover design was meant to be a critique – not a celebration – of the objectification of women.

    While it is unfortunate that their record label did not appreciate Spinal Tap’s progressive ideals, at the very least they did inspire Metallica’s Black Album cover, and helped launch the latter into the mainstream.

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