Is it possible to consume music without thinking about the musician?
Are there certain songs that can leave you feeling cold if the artist was of a dubious nature?
Whether that artist be Gary Glitter or Ian Watkins from the Lost Prophets, R Kelly or Michael Jackson, the conviction or suggestion of conviction of child abuse hangs over their heads for many. Some people just prefer to listen to the music and in some ways ignore the moral or ethics of the messenger.
This is nothing new as the abuse of minors and statutory rape has been a mainstay of the music industry long before the internet. Do we see it more because they are famous or is such behaviour just a reflection of society as a whole.
Whilst R Kelly will continue to get stick for marrying Aaliyah as a minor, he followed in the footsteps of so many dubious entertainers before. Jerry Lewis who married his 14 year old cousin, Don Johnson who moved in with the then 14 yr old Melanie Griffith. We could go on ad infinitum about the various underage groupies who were (and some will say still have been) taken advantage of by older men, and women.
It would appear that we (the royal we) are quick to dismiss any failings on an artists part as long as they provide good music. Whether it is the sexual peccadilloes mentioned above or the domestic violence charges that followed musicians such as Ozzy Osbourne, Mystikal, James Brown, Chris Brown, Phil Spector and Tommy Lee.
The thing is this, we can cry out our moral outrage against the actions of such musicians all we want on social media and other such platforms but does it mean that we remove their music from our library? Does it mean we stop two stepping to their songs at a wedding or party? Do we leave shops as soon as their songs are played? If we do go on the moral high ground as to whether their behaviour influences how and when we play their music, our library may become thinner. For better or worse. That said, just because we do listen to their music, does not mean that we still cannot exclaim disgust and outrage at their behaviour and abuse of power. It just becomes that much bit harder and a tad more uncomfortable to listen to some songs without thinking “hang on a minute”. Well for some of us anyway.