Has our cordial approach of "soft" critiquing help lead to the degradation of music? The Bernie Taupin lyric starts:
What have I got to do to make you love me?
What have I got to do to make you care?
Then a little later it reads…
What do I say when it's all over?
And sorry seems to be the hardest word?
While the overall narrative along with the singer setting suggests that it is indeed a "love" song of sorts, the words paint a vivid and accurate picture of the awkward place many of us find ourselves when asked our opinion of a far less talented colleague's music offering. Here's my most common scenario:
I play a piece that I've finished and of which I am most proud for someone who has a love for music—like mine. The song finishes and a grin reflects their awe and full appreciation of my artistic accomplishment—like mine, again. Then comes the dreaded response. "Hey. I have something of mine I'd like to let you hear." I play it, hoping for the best. It's nowhere close to the best. Now comes the dreaded question: "Well? What do you think?" What do you say. Fortunately, they haven't asked for my 'honest opinion'—"Oh…and give me your honest opinion." I jinxed it. Again, what do you do? When was the last time you told a friend, family member, or acquaintance that their music, presented to you for your (maybe not) honest opinion, was honestly just mediocre at best? Perhaps the music profession needs one of those common "…professional. Please do not attempt" disclaimer captions. I even saw one used in a Vitamin Water commercial, at the point where a dancer was doing "the worm" Hip Hop dance move.