The Message in Music

Richardson overall seems to define the artistic connoisseur as the following: “a man judges for himself he may arrive …that the picture or drawing is good.” (p.16). In other words an artistic connoisseur is a man that has the natural ability to use his own judgment, and perception to determine if the artwork before him is good. In my opinion a connoisseur is a person that is knowledgeable about the time period, and techniques used to develop a particular style of work. The connoisseur has seen numerous paintings in the era or style that he is critiquing, and is able to easily recognize the characteristic traits. I believe it is possible to be a connoisseur…let’s face it everyone cannot be absolute geniuses on everything. Individuals pick a particular topic to focus on, acquire the necessary knowledge about it, and continue to seek information.

I know in class someone mentioned that there should be no such thing as a connoisseur because everyone is entitled to their belief that something is or is not good. I beg to differ, but that is just my opinion. I believe Richardson “think’s” there can be artistic connoisseurs. Richardson highlights how a man may have an interest in artwork, but he does not have enough knowledge to be a connoisseur. Ultimately “he has no way then but to take up his opinions upon truth, and implicitly depend upon another’s judgment.” (p.16).Richardson’s statement is still prevalent in modern society. For example we rely on the government to make the best decisions for Americans via healthcare, economics, etc. Although many of us have opinions about the democratic and republican party most of us lack the education, and training that government officials have to run our office. This highlights how we ultimately need to have connoisseurs within our society.

Kanye West’s song Mercy sends chills down my spine. The bible speaks of the devil being the angel of music, and when I listen to this song it is evident that there is something eery going on. I believe Kanye is a part of the illuminati. The song begins by saying in African, “There will be a weeping and a moaning and a gnashing of teeth.” What more does this describe? HELL! On top of that the music breaks down multiple times into dark, horror movie like beats. This truly disturbs my spirit. I guess I feel this way because of my religion, and I have knowledge about the bible. There is a lot of talk going around that Kanye is a part of the illuminati. I did not believe it at first, but after doing my research on Kanye and analyzing his songs I know without a doubt he is not “right.” I did as Richardson purposed… I did not rely on the judgment of others. I judge this song and Kanye myself. I deem the song and Kanye not only bad but evil.

Kanye West also had a song out in 2007 called Jesus walks with me. I commended Kanye on this because he was a rapper glorifying God. Now I wonder if the God he rapped about is the same God I serve? I think not. This song really spoke to me, and uplifted me because Kanye seemed to talk about how God is always there for you, he never leaves you, and he will provide your every need. The tempo was medium paced, and the music was not “churchy,” but uplifting. It has a modern day rap beat with lyrics emphasizing his love for God.

I believe Richardson would value my critique of Kanye’s songs. I have the biblical knowledge to identify the blasphemy within his song Mercy. I listen to rap music so I know how the beats usually sound, and the fact that Kanye’s Mercy takes on a demonic tone really stands out to me. Overall I believe Richardson would like that I do not rest my belief or assumptions about Kanye based off of “another’s judgment,” but rather my own. I think Richardson can respect the fact that I once liked Kanye’s music…it was “good,” but as he got into the rap business his message changed tremendously.

I believe Richardson would view Mercy as a song that does not improve society. The goal of the song is not to uplift people in a positive manner. However if Richardson was to listen to Jesus walks, he may have a totally different opinion. Jesus walks seems to be a song that speaks to the minority community to have faith in God, and they shall be fine. This message is definitely a way to improve society by embellishing hope and faith. Lastly, Richardson may view Kanye as an artistic connoisseur because he has the knowledge, and experience in the rap business to know what is appealing to his market. Overall I cannot speak for Richardson, but I think Mercy and Jesus Walks are two songs that have two totally different messages. It’s confusing to the audience, but a great parallel to how the devil was once a joyous angel in heaven (Jesus Walks), and then he became evil (Mercy).

-Ja’Nae Massey

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One thought on “The Message in Music

  1. Ja’Nae,

    I loved that you picked the first topic of the “artistic connoisseur,” since most everyone else has been focusing on the other two (including myself). Great job defining how Richardson viewed this idea. It was interesting that you agreed with him in some respects, as many others have been disagreeing. Also, you did a nice job tying in the idea of how Richardson might see your chosen pieces as improving (or perhaps, not improving) society. Kudos for tying in Kanye, in addition to how Richardson may have viewed your responses. Well done!

    Grade: S

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