Bobby Rivas is a San Antonio-based musician and writer. He is the frontman for Islands & Tigers, currently on a tour in the Western U.S. You can check out their tour dates here.
A lot of musicians, particularly from my generation, have lost sight of the purpose of music. It’s supposed to serve us. It seems, though, that a lot of current artists abuse their gifts and talents by making art for the wrong reasons. Art exists to make us feel. It can be in the form of an album, a film, a sculpture, a joke, or a play. A piece of art should be a unique idea that is developed in one’s soul. It’s then carefully crafted into something that can be shared with other people with the intention of making them feel something desirable; something that the artist has felt and thinks would make the world better if everyone else felt it as well. Art is not about the artist, it’s about the unique connection between the artist and each individual consumer. When you make art with the intention of being praised or looked upon in a certain way, you have made the art about you. Even if people connect with it, even if it makes them feel, you are disrespecting your art form entirely. More than ever I see musicians hating on other musicians because they dislike the art that another musician has made. Usually because it doesn’t live up to the standards of what they’ve decided is “cool.” They believe that their style and their own creative ideas are superior to someone else’s. Let me tell you, your art is not superior or inferior to anyone else’s art just as you are not superior or inferior to any other human being. Obviously not every song/band/album to ever exist is going to make you feel something. If it did, there would be nothing special about the music that does something for you. A song that doesn’t make you feel anything or makes you feel something undesirable is not a bad song. It’s a song that is not intended for you. Its purpose will be served elsewhere, outside of your specific soul. You will never feel exactly what a song makes someone else feel. You will never experience a song resonating in someone else’s soul. For that reason we are in no position to label any song as a “bad song.” Hating on someone’s music, especially within a small community like, for example, your town’s local music scene, is completely and purely destructive to yourself, the other artist, and to your creative community. You are spreading hate. You are making people feel bad things which is the polar opposite of what should be intended when you create your art. Art, and music specifically, creates a sensation in the core of our beings that cannot be entirely explained and does things to our souls and minds that are more powerful and meaningful than any tangible drug and hating on someone’s music. You are discouraging that phenomenon from existing. So please, please, please for the love of God, all you “hipsters” stop hating on other people’s music.