Liking the music of unlikable musicians


ave Grohl, with a recently healed broken leg, loaned the throne he was using for shows to Axl Rose, who suffered a similar injury while performing. This act reaffirms Grohl’s thoughtfulness and ability to generate positive news in an industry often filled with petty scandals and feuds.

It seems as though Foo Fighters fans are drawn to Grohl’s amusing personality almost as much as the actual art that is being published. Meanwhile, Chris Brown has been putting out new music, and many people are still boycotting it because of his history with assault. These musicians provide examples of how personal decisions have directly affected public perception of the art they have created.

So, where should we draw the line? Is it even possible to separate the actions of the creator from what has been created? Are Woody Allen’s films tarnished because of allegations that he sexually abused his adopted daughter? Should we not appreciate Pablo Picasso’s classic works because he was a womanizer?

When musicians publish a song or album for the world to hear, it is bigger than any individual, including them. A young Bob Dylan wasn’t a prophet, but his music was often prophetic (specifically, “A Hard Rains A-Gonna Fall”). There is no one that will feel the exact same emotions while listening to their music as they did in creating it. An individual’s decisions and personality should be completely removed (or as close as possible) from the listening process. Bad people create good art, which can and should still be appreciated.

That being said, it is impossible to remove all traces of the soul from art, so there is probably some correlation between musician’s values and that of their fan base. But, I can still listen to Chris Brown’s “Run It” with a clear conscious because it provokes nostalgia and is catchy as hell.

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