Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hmm ...

... Love music, hold the criticism. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

This may have more bearing on pop music than on classical music. Listening to music is indeed a collaborative endeavor, but so is reading. And reviewing anything should involve a good deal more than "scribbling witty insults in my reporter’s notebook."


  1. Hmn. Speaking as a former music critic myself, with a degree or two in music, I have to say that I think he's totally wrong. Certainly he's correct that the audience matters a great deal—and in fact, musicians who perform live will tell you that playing live is the best thing in the world, the energy coming back at you from the crowd is what makes life worth living. Certainly he's correct, then, that the audience matters, and that there is a back-and-forth.

    But he's wrong that music reviewing means nothing. It means a great deal, and not just in pop music. The way HE did music reviewing was the wrong way to do it; the right way to do it is AS A FAN, as someone who cares deeply about what they're engaged with, and with dedication and craft in conveying that experience and attitude to the reader. In other words, what Lester Bangs actually did; what Greil Marcus actually does; and many others I could name. And that was the way I went about doing music reviews—including classical concerts.

  2. I think you're right, Art. That's they way to go about any sort of reviewing, actually.