The ‘Poetry Police’ – If Eliot Was A Rock Critic – Did The Artist Even Know What He Was Doing?

Posted: January 30, 2018 in Uncategorized

Running commentary on all the tropes which comprise a song. Something to consider while reading “The Pasted-Paper Revolution”.

  1. Natalie Van Orden says:

    This is my first time watching someone deconstruct a song like this, and I thought it was awesome. Even though I’ve heard “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” before in my life, hearing someone break down the song’s components completely changed how I hear the song.
    There are obviously deliberate and unique decisions Sting made in writing this song, but it’s exciting to wonder about aspects of the song that seemed to come together serendipitously, like it not being tuned to standard tuning, and notes drifting flat.

    The idea of artists not always being aware of what they’re doing doesn’t just apply to music, but also rhetoric in literature. As readers or critics, we’re often left wondering how much of what was written was deliberately planned out by the writer to help achieve his/her purpose, and what happened serendipitously because the writer was so engaged with the medium.

    I think that T.S. Eliot would say that the artist doesn’t always know what he/she is doing. Like we talked about earlier, an artist is different than a scholar, and an artist’s role is to have a fluid knowledge of artistic works to draw from rather than a critic’s understanding of rhetoric and rules. The artist, in this case Sting, didn’t have to understand what he was doing when speeding up the song, or singing flat for the song to be great. He just engaged with the music and did what he felt like had to be done to make the song he wanted to make.

    • The artist can know what they’re about. But it’s not essential. In fact, too much self-awareness can be detrimental to art. What I like about this video was how the produced, Rick Beato, brings us to an awareness of the composer’s ‘genius’, irrespective of his self-awareness or not. It’s analogous to what Greenberg is trying to do with Picasso and Braque’s Cubism – reveal the rules which
      underlie and inform their collages. Picasso and Braque may well have been able to ‘speak’ the language of Cubism, but that’s not the same as being able to explain the language of Cubism.

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