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Latest Topics

5

Has Pop Music Simplified Over Time?

In numerous studies, people are finding that pop music is homogenizing, both harmonically, stylistically, and even in vocal variety (i.e. very similar sounding artists being appreciated). Some claim that pop music is being "dumbed down" by becoming harmonically and melodically simplified. While pop music nowadays may be more harmonically and melodically simple, are there other factors that make it more complex/varied? Should we judge music based on these factors, or should we appreciate other aspects of the genre? What are those factors that we should appreciate?

  • A big factor is how formulaic a lot of the music is. Everyone wants to climb to the top via popularity and they do so by following the mainstream and taking the place of those who came before them by doing the same act. Many musicians don't even write their own songs, they just perform what their companies give them. It's a struggle between capitalism and the rise of the artist. – LaRose 5 years ago
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  • I'm not sure this topic fits into any of the current categories. According to the guidelines, music is not currently a category, but might be in the near future. Once this comes to pass, I would give this topic a second look. – BoomBap 5 years ago
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  • This topic is difficult because there is so many factors that can play a role. While I'm of the opinion that music (and all mainstream art including visual media, animation, film, literature, and theater) is being dumbed down. The reason people are noticing how similar music is becoming is also due to them being more familiar and experienced with it. While many artist are often criticized for "copying" other artist work. The reality is many artist are "inspired" by other artist. You can see this with bands like Wolfmother, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Cage the Elephant who were inspired by late 60's rock bands and tried to imitate them. You can honestly pick any era for music (or games, movies, and theater) and start noticing how redundant trends pop up due to the success of others. If you go back to the early 2000's there was a point where every artist was using auto tune and even further back you had the gangster rap era where everyone was trying to prove how "tough" they where. Also more recently Invincible has become incredibly popular due to its Amazon series and many people have praised it for its subversion of mainstream comic-books, but to me that is not the case. As, many of the more "shocking" elements have been done before by other comic-book series, such as the supposed paragon of good actually being corrupt. And is simply using his positive image to take over the world. Graphic violence has always been apart of comics and super hero's having sexual relations and having it be portrayed in full detail in the pages has also occurred. But the general press is talking up these elements, which to me shows how unfamiliar they are with the subject matter. "Btw I do think Invincible both the comic and Amazon series are worth looking at but not for the reason's I listed above." While I'm sure some musicians are simply following trends, I don't think all of them are. You also have to take in account how producers can act as gate keepers to the success and how popular some artist become, as they may choose to publish one artist over another due to them being similar to another successful arts. – Blackcat130 2 months ago
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  • I agree with some of the points previously mentioned. A particular aspect of music that can be argued is the notion of why exactly is pop music in its current state? Popular music in a sense can be argued is rap music due to the popularity of the genre. Moreover, pop music is an amalgamation of various genres blended together and can be seen in the ways in which EDM influences the beats of songs or how low-fi beats borrowed from ambient R&B. – jgabriel97 2 months ago
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5

The Appeal of Reaction Videos

In a reaction video, someone watches something – a music video, a movie, a TV episode, a meme compilation, etc. – and records their reaction. This genre was popularized for the mainstream by YouTube channels like The Fine Bros., but there are many, many other channels that do it. Videos like "Real Doctor Reacts to Medical Dramas," "Real Lawyer Reacts to Crime in Movies," and "Vocal Coach Reacts to Music Video" have the advantage of being educational.
What is it about this genre that we find so appealing? Is it just the relatability of people feeling the same feelings we have? Do we feel a connection to these people, across time and space?

  • Good topic, one I often wonder about myself. It would be especially interesting to note the difference in modern reaction videos towards reaction videos from the early days of YouTube, back when it still had a reply function; plenty of content creators made their name on just reacting to others. Yet in the modern day, people seem to be more interested in watching professionals or experts' take on certain videos, as made popular by channels like Legal Eagle or the Conde Nast family. Ever since those videos started becoming more popular, you don't really see the regular reaction videos anymore. If anything, you see people trying to emulate the new style with connections that are often flimsy (ex. "Person Who Lives In NYC Reacts To Seinfeld"). Did the audience realize they can do better? What could be the next 'phase' of the reaction videos' evolution? – semroolvink 4 months ago
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  • I think part of the allure is that we as humans want to see others amused and entertained. – J.D. Jankowski 3 months ago
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  • Reaction videos represent one's opinion or how many ever people are reviewing it and their individual opinions. We may agree or disagree but there is always space to know how others think about certain things especially if any of your favorite videos are being reviewed. – Sujayweaves 3 months ago
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2

The Unpopularity of the Ebook

Ebooks, despite being easier to access, quicker to arrive, sometimes cheaper, and easier to store than physical books, have never managed to outsell physical books. In fact, they do not even come close. Explore the possible reasons why this might be the case: material nature of print, satisfaction of flipping a page, ability to show books off, an examination of the differences between platforms (Kobo, Kindle, etc.), e-platforms (Kindle app, Google Play Store, etc.), and file types viability (epub, pdf, etc.), and the aesthetic/artistic parts of the physical book.

Article about ebook sales: (link) you prefer reading an,print on paper still wins.&text=“The book lover loves to,the rest of the world.

  • Good start. Can you supplement with some statistics on the sale of print books vs. ebooks? – Stephanie M. 6 months ago
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  • Perhaps another point of discussion could be the artistic elements of books. The different kinds of binding, the cover art, etc. – Samantha Leersen 6 months ago
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  • I know that a study had been done, where reading comprehension on computer devices was lower when compared to physical books. Perhaps people are aware of this issue intuitively on some level. Just a thought. – J.D. Jankowski 5 months ago
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  • You might also want to explore some benefits ebooks have over printed books, to flesh out the argument. For one thing, they allow readers to choose fonts, font sizes, line spacing, margins, etc. Readers can even opt for the text-to-speech function (when available). These choices provide a flexible format that can be more accessible to readers, especially those who cannot read traditional printed books – Mya 5 months ago
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  • Perhaps one could, as you've already indicated, analyze the physical nature of completing a book. Dog-eared pages, bent spines, handwritten notes along the margins, etc., all contribute to the 'reading' of a novel. Can the ebook hope to replicate or replace this physical relationship between reader and text? Additionally, what is the impact of looking at a screen? The screen might appear as paper, but the reader always knows they are viewing something electronic. Does this change the way a reader might read a text? For instance, word-finding tools are immediately present within a ebook, whereas one must actively search for something specific within a physical text. Is the presence of tools something that helps the reader in their understanding, or does it hinder progression by allowing readers to read 'easier'? – hooooogs 5 months ago
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3

Presenting Problematic Issues in Art

Lolita, when it was published in 1955 (after much delay) was received by a hostile combination of abhorrent dismay and critical acclaim. Similarly, Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses upon release in 1988 received both popular and critical praise but enraged a considerable portion of the Islamic community that resulted in a fatwa being placed on the author. More recently, the Netflix film Cuties was met with a #CancelNetflix response while the efficacy of the film’s intentions are still hotly debated. NITRAM, a film that explores the worst gun massacre in Australia’s history, has also faced significant objection.

These works are a small example of art that attempts to discuss problematic issues in the public domain. In varying degrees, they all portray uncomfortable representations of social problems. Where does the line lie with the representation of problematic themes in works of art? Does a work of art with the platform of Netflix have more of a responsibility to stay within the confines of non-controversy? Or, conversely, because of its platform, should this be the very arena that tackles problematic social issues?

An interesting angle for this article could be the role of cancel culture within the discussion. Do responses such as #CancelNetlfix inhibit the willingness of artists to attempt to tackle problematic issues and what is the consequence of this in broader social discourse?

  • Another example that jumps to mind is Jean-Jacques Annaud's 1992 film 'The Lover,' starring Tony Leung and Jane March. In the book, the unnamed female lead character, played by Jane March is 15. March turned 18 shortly after shooting began and (apparently) Annaud delayed shooting the sex scenes until after March's birthday. – Amyus 7 months ago
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The author's propriety. 

The “artist”, the “creator”, as inherited from the Greek mythology and culture, is someone whose creative genius is inspired by the Gods or the Muses. There is something divine to it, something that transcends earthly concerns. Therefore, within the realm of art, any exterior and coercive influence is usually viewed as inherently bad or, at least, as suspicious.

It is particularly striking in the film industry, with the determining role of the studios. Some movies have several “cuts” because the original vision didn’t match the producers’ idea of the film, or the imposed length. (For instance, Blade Runner has been through seven different “cuts”, even though, today, the “director’s cut” is the most famous.) Actors’ demands or changes among creative teams, for instance, can also modify the original vision and first idea of a movie. Such mechanisms are particularly striking in the audiovisual, as the creating process is, from the beginning, plural. Yet, we can draw some parallels with the literary field, as well. Indeed, sometimes, some publishing houses may refuse a manuscript or impose drastic corrections.

However, on the other hand, some creators have been criticized for clinging too much to their work. For instance: the additions to the Harry Potter saga, J.K. Rowling made via Twitter. While some were globally well-received, others sparked controversy, whether because they were considered unneeded information, or because they felt like a desperate and clumsy attempt to debunk some small incoherence in the original saga. In the same way, many critics and viewers didn’t praise Ridley Scott’s attempt to, in a way, “regain control” of the Alien’s saga, with his two prequels: Prometheus and Alien Covenant.

Viewers, then, also have power over artistic creation. Their expectations and hopes can influence the way a show is written. And if those expectations are ignored or badly handled, it can lead the audience rating to drop.

Therefore, to what extent an author remains the master of his work? Once a book, a film, or TV show enters the creation process, does it still belong solely to the author? What about once it is released? Does it, at some point, automatically become part of a larger community, which also has some right of inspection? If so, what are, or should be, the power of this larger community?

  • Roland Barthes' essay 'Death of the Author' might fit within this discussion. It argues that the author's identity should not form part of their text's interpretation. Therefore, one might conclude that, once a story has been read or viewed, it is up to the reader/viewer to decide what happens outside of the story world; not the author. – Samantha Leersen 6 months ago
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7

Touchable Art in a Time of No Touch

My article investigates touchable art and introduces artists who recover in their practices the bodily needs for physical contact. Amongst the restrictions imposed by COVID-19 are ‘no touch’ policies and the closing of art institutions for unlimited periods of time.
But our crave for touch grows with the passing of time, and so does our need for seeing new, beautiful things.
My article suggests different ways in which the public can soothe their desire for physical contact by experiencing art in the virtual space. It engages with the works of British artist Lucy Clout, Berlin-based Americans Claire Tolan and Holly Herndon and American artist Julie Weitz. Most recently, Australian artist Michelle Vine was awarded a residency with Museum of Brisbane for which she produced work that brought together touchable art and participatory art forms.

  • Very intriguing and topical idea! You seem to already have artists and/or touchable artworks in mind, though. Perhaps you could mention them in the topic already, to guide the reflection? – Gavroche 1 year ago
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  • A query, Crisia. Is this a topic suggestion, i.e. for other writers to consider writing about, or are you announcing your intention to write about this subject? – Amyus 1 year ago
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  • Thank you for your notes! I'm announcing my intention to write about this subject :) – Crisia 1 year ago
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5

Separating Art from Artists

Earlier this year, Hachette Book Group came under significant criticism for picking up the rights to publish writer-director-actor Woody Allen’s memoir. Much of the criticism was centred on the seeming hypocrisy of the same firm that published Ronan Farrow’s "Catch and Kill," a definitive account of the #MeToo era. This was just the latest in a string of filmmakers, writers, actors and other artists being "cancelled" by the court of public opinion. I propose an article that will address, in a balanced and sensitive fashion, the extent to which people should separate the public work of these artists from their alleged private misdeeds.

  • Great topic. Kevin Spacey and House of Cards anyone. – TheIntrovertedWriter 1 year ago
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  • Ohh this is interesting! I feel like the other big one these days is the harry potter/jk rowling's latent transphobia issues (and how deeply and quietly a lot of her prejudices or ignorance managed to work their way into books that seem to argue exactly against them) – Claire 12 months ago
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3

Is Fashion an Art Form?

The simplest definition of ‘art’ is "the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form." Given this definition, could fashion be labelled an art form? We dismiss clothing as an everyday aspect of life, but it may actually be inherently artistic.
An article on this topic could look at designers, both big and small. Look at the creative process and discuss how clothing is designed. Think of what needs to be considered, colour, shape, material. These are also considered in other art forms, like sculptures or paintings.
The article could also look to how people choose to dress. Is this, in and of itself, a kind of art? Is it a type of artistic expression?
Painters or photographers create websites and Instagram pages to show off their creations. People in fashion also do the same. This is a niche you could explore when highlighting parallels between fashion and other art forms.
The fast fashion industry is often criticised for ripping off other brands or designers. This might suggest a personal aspect to the creation of fashion. Just like you would not copy someone else’s painting for profit, should designers not be copying other people’s fashion designs?
Finally, as with art, in the fashion industry there is a hierarchy of what is considered ‘good’ and ‘bad’. Like art, fashion is constantly subjectively judged. This is another parallel which can be explored.
Ultimately an article on this topic should draw a conclusion, is fashion an art form or is it not? It should provide evidence throughout to support which conclusion is drawn. There are a plethora of angles this topic could explore.

  • As a source for whoever writes this topic, the book "Beauty: A Short Introduction" by Roger Scruton is an amazing source for defining beauty and looking at the different forms of art in a philosophical/historical context to encourage questions like these. – Abie Dee 1 year ago
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  • I find this topic interesting. I think it can be, especially if you connect it with other art forms, like cinema. Look at Edith Head's work, or Adrian's with the film stars of the 1930s and 1940s. Givenchy with Audrey Hepburn in the 1950s. I would also like to hear more about the journey made from the sketch to the finished product, worn by someone. I also think that fast fashion is something terrible for our lives and our planet and should not be considered art, even in copy form. – danivilu 1 year ago
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