On Music Critics

The role of the music critic is to explain why things you love completely suck. The internet hasn’t changed that —and if anything it’s made it worse.

It used to be that rock critics were fairly independent thinkers. They were forced  to come up with their own reasons why the music you like isn’t any good —but today everything is different.

Now there are a million people on the web reviewing music so all a writer needs is to do a Google search and presto! He finds someone to tell him what to say.

Yeah, that sounds harsh but think about it. In the old days ideas were not at your fingertips. If you wanted information you’d have to trudge out to the library or newsstand. Today? Endless opinions 24/7 —and if you don’t know what to think you can easily find someone who’s already thought it.

For example, Daniel Durchholz wrote in the June 1 St. Louis Post-Dispatch about The Decemberists recent album, The Hazards of Love:

It’s instructive, though, to remember that such works were used as punching bags by punk rockers, who pointed to their pretentiousness and self-importance as embodying the very antithesis of rock.

Hmmm… good point —but original? Here’s a quote from just a few days earlier:

Prog-rock and concept records and ambitious projects like this were kind of anathema post-punk. They were destroyed with the advent of punk rock.

That was from an interview with Decemberists front man Colin Meloy in The Decider, a Milwaukee based web site published by the same people who bring you The Onion.

Yes, ideas are hard. But today maybe not so much.

One thought on “On Music Critics

  1. Now the Sch’dy Gazette has two uses: fish wrap and breaking interesting news… see below

    Chef/author/TV host/raconteur Anthony Bourdain will bring his evening of hilariously uncensored stories to Proctors Theatre in Schenectady at 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 15. See Steve Barnes’ Table Hopping blog for details.

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