Respect the music, respect the artist?

If you respect the music, do you have to respect the artist? By enjoying and purchasing someone’s albums, are you an accomplice to how awful they are as a person?

I ask the question because the A.V. Club is reporting that Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) and Kanye West have been collaborating on West’s new album (which, as I have reported on this blog before, will sadly no longer be called Good Ass Job) and that the two have had a sort of love affair. Punctuating this report are quotes from West and Vernon, respectively:

“I called [Vernon] and we ended up becoming like really good friends, playing basketball together everyday, and going into the back studio and just record his parts. He’s similar to me, like where he just does shit just so people would be like, ‘Oh shit how did you do that? How did that happen?’ He’s just a really cool guy to be around.”

“I came back a few weeks later and it was the same kind of thing, throwing ideas around — there are a bunch of other songs I’d just throw down on, write a little hook, whatever. In the studio, he was referencing Trent Reznor, Al Green, the Roots — the fucking awesomest shit. It made total sense to me.”

Two snap judgements: 1. I find Kanye West to be a ridiculous person, more cartoon character than human being, and the above quote only reinforces that idea in my head. Kanye has a unique ability to say stuff that sounds cool and is also essentially meaningless; 2. Justin Vernon used the word “awesomest,” which isn’t actually a word to begin with. Has hanging out with Kanye allowed Kanye’s vapidity as a person rub off on Vernon?!?!

As an avid fan of Bon Iver (For Emma, Forever Ago easily falls into my top 5 albums of all time) I really hope this doesn’t signal the end of my respect for the man, because I just love his music so much.

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