Dude Music

"Dude Music"

Actually, I hate this stuff too.

This is what I call “dude music.” To clarify, just because music is made by men doesn’t mean it’s dude music. And just because music is made by women doesn’t mean it’s not dude music. No, dude music is music that prioritizes the status quo, that prioritize men’s voices, men’s experiences, and the experiences of people in power and who benefit from the current power structures in our society. Dude music is music that can ever be described as “noodling.” Dude music is post-rock, and prog-rock, and rock that exists not to say anything, but to showcase how awesome the men in the band are at playing guitar. Dude music is music that has nothing to offer people who are disenfranchised or oppressed, because it either is totally uninterested in their disenfranchisement/oppression, or actively profits from it. Dude music is “I went to your concert and I didn’t feel anything.”
I wouldn't say it was wrong to write a song that 'prioritizes men's voices/experiences,' but I also don't think it's wrong to write a song that prioritizes a woman's. One artist might do one and another artist the other without fault; although, perhaps, the best artist might be able to do both. That aside, this entire branch of music is horrible, and she's right to dislike it.

Could it be improved by including women's viewpoints more? Well... that's another question. Let's examine it. On the one hand, a 'dude music' version of "Watkin's Ale" would still be more interesting than anything being written in this genre. I'm going to give you two versions of it, one with a female singer and one with a male. (The female version has the lyrics in subtitles.)

The viewpoint does make a difference. The maiden gets some good lines: "What do you care?" "Your ale, I see, runs very low." It also offers a warning that the women are in a peril that the young men are not, because of the reality of pregnancy, and the ability of the man to simply walk away. The song (as Renaissance and Medieval bawdy songs often do) ends up expressing a moral that is somewhat conventional; but it doesn't show the "maiden" as a wicked or unpleasant person for allowing herself to become pregnant.

This may be an example of a balanced song. The song doesn't really 'prioritize the experience' of either men or women; it's a song about a man and a woman, showing them being young and foolish. It shows the man as being irresponsible and the woman as saddled with the consequences, but that's the reality of anonymous sex. The song can be sung well by men or women.

So, this is a set of advantages it has over modern music. There's another, though: it's just better music. If you take the vocals out entirely, and just look at the music itself, it's objectively better than the 'dude' music that she's talking about. It's more complex, takes more skill, and is composed in a way that more naturally harmonizes with our nature. That is, it's easy to find people who are bored or irritated by 'dude music,' or country music, or hip-hop, or any of the modern 'dance' musics. This kind of music is just naturally pleasant; whether it's "great music" or "folk music," the music itself is really better.

If you did this song on an electric guitar, it would be more interesting and better than any 'dude music.' How much of that is the viewpoint, and how much is the music itself?

Well, I suppose the test for that would be to take a 'dude music' piece and set it to better music. How much would it be improved? Probably this would only serve to make clear just how horrible the lyric writing is: the kind of lyrics these bands write would only deface music of this quality.

I think we have to give the point to the lady. What do you think?

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