ON ARTISTIC INTEGRITY
As I watched Coldplay close Glastonbury festival last night with their dazzling, multi-million pound light show supporting wishy-washy, vacuous songwriting, I drew the following conclusion:
It is impossible to discern whether an artist lacks artistic integrity, or whether they are a bad artist of high integrity.
Saying that Coldplay lack artist integrity assumes a couple of things:
(1) That Coldplay are skilled in song-craft, and are able to compose interesting music that delivers a pleasing balance of melodic interest, repetition, surprise, intricacy, flair and richness, but instead choose to release music with a familiar structure, and predictable melodies that most people can digest within the first two or three listens.
(2) That lyrically Coldplay do have disruptive ideas and something to say, but suppress them in favour of inoffensive lyrics that reinforces the ideas and comforts the fears that the majority of people have most of the time.
If the above points are false, Coldplay have very high artistic integrity but create bad art. It just so happens that that millions of people have related to that bad art, elevating Coldplay to mind-boggling popularity.
If the above points are true, then they are choosing not to contribute to the progress of art, music and the world, and instead choose to make music that I believe to be crap, but obviously makes a lot of people feel good.
Making people feel good - how noble! I'm sure their astonishing turnover is only a happy bi-product.