Originally Posted by Pollyanna
"Pretentious" is a work bandied around a lot by critics. I never quite worked out what pretentious music was.
The dictionary tells me that pretentious means:
characterized by assumption of dignity or importance or
making an exaggerated outward show; ostentatious.
Thing is, there's a lot of music that has "an exaggerated outward show" that might be called a lot of things but not usually "pretentious" - fusion, gospel and metal music are the most obvious examples. Prog rock is the usual the victim.
An "assumption of dignity or importance"? You can sometimes see it in a band's demeanour ... but the music?? I mean, all the musos are doing is writing music they think will sound good and then they tweak it until everyone's happy.
So the music isn't three chords or straight fours - that just means the musicians like to carry on a bit and get bored with the usual humdrum. I can't see the pretence, myself.
Am I missing something?
I believe the word comes from "pretense" which is derived from pretend, but implies a certain false or deceptive air to cover up one's real self. OK, how about that group from the 1980s called The Pretenders? ;-} I actually have no idea what kind of music would be pretentious, but music critics worry about alot of things that musicians don't, lol.
I agree with your Lady Gaga analogy from an appearance standpoint. She is a brunette Italian American that looks like a plastic bleached blonde corruption of the chick from Pulp Fiction. Now she is as pretentious as they come! I saw a picture of her before all the bleachings and caked on makeup and she was very attractive. Now she looks fake. But of course, who hasn't gone that route in the pop music business already? Michael J, Madonna, David Bowie, Elton John, early Genesis Peter Gabriel, Boy George, God, the list just never ends, does it? All that said, I would not consider Lady Gaga's or any of the aforementioned artists' music as pretentious. It's a little above cookie cutter pop, and she does write her own stuff, as well as songs for other pop artists. I think the critics are talking about appearances and not musical styles. I have no idea what a pretentious music style would even be. But there are alot of musical performers out there that really get into a hollywood drama thing than others, Especially after music videos started.