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Barking Spiders

Ponc3y music critics

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22 hours ago, Barking Spiders said:

 Anyone else heard of him or fancy a rant about other music hacks. As they say, 'those who can, do, those who can't, teach and those who can't teach write about music'.

I've heard if him, he wrote for The  Village Voice, IIRC. He was known for his one-line, often acerbic reviews.

I used to read the NME years ago and they had some of the most hyperbolic reviews of albums and band sometimes, but I always took it all with a pinch of salt.

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23 hours ago, Barking Spiders said:

I've just come across a website for Robert Christgau, supposedly some big shot music journo in the 70s-80s. This site contains loads of his reviews so I randomly entered band names from all genres only to find that unless it's fairly amateurish Americana he writes off pretty much all prog, metal, electronica.... That's not so much the issue than his arcane, indecipherable  way of writing which leaves you scratching your head wondering 'wtf was that about?' Anyone else heard of him or fancy a rant about other music hacks. As they say, 'those who can, do, those who can't, teach and those who can't teach write about music'.

If you read a lot of album entries on Wikipedia, most of them have a 'critical reception' section and many of these will include a sentence added by a Christgau acolyte giving his opinion. Now by definition an opinion can't be wrong, but let's say he doesn't swim with the tide...

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11 hours ago, christhammer666 said:

I remember years ago mags like kerrang and metal hammer, if a reviewer hated a band it didn't matter how good an album was they got slated and hardly anything was said about the contents of an album

My daughter went through a Kerrang phase in the early 2010s. Most of it was pre-teenage gushing over the likes of Ollie Sykes (Bring me the Horizon) and Andy Biersack (Black Veil Brides) and bands aimed at an Emo  audience - utterly unlike that of the 1980s.

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12 hours ago, ZilchWoolham said:

To write about music, rather than themselves. 

Objective criticism of music. Is that even possible? Depending on the publication, I think it is important for critics to engage as well as inform. I think a stinking review can be really funny if we'll written. I grew up as a Prog fan in the Punk era. Nobody liked anything I listened to 😃 Writing is always about the writer. 

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12 hours ago, Bilbo said:

Sounds like a lot of unmet expectations to me. What do you want from a critic? Do you want them to agree with you or to disagree? I think people forget how subjective music is and how, frankly, pointless it is to write about it. I recall a clip from Good Will Hunting where Robin Williams talks about reading 1000 books on flowers but never actually smelling one. 

Critics can be useful. If you learn to recognise which critics like what you like, then you can follow their recommendations. I have loved records critics hate and have hated records that critics love. Its not their fault. In truth, it is all about selling magazines not music. Like musicians, there are great critics and there are poor ones. It's not important. 

ummm writing reviews the reader can understand?

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20 hours ago, Barking Spiders said:

bellend Push. Utter waste of DNA.

To be fair, he's quite a nice guy!

And I used to occasionally write gig reviews for Leeds Student and Leeds Other Paper. A friend of mine, who's now a famous write, once asked me to cover a gig he'd been assigned so he could go on a date with this lass he fancied... It was Sugar Minott, at some boozer in Chapeltown; I thought it a bit odd he was playing in this hitherto-unknown music venue so a m8 and I schlepped over there. And we were met with fluorescent lights, vinyl floor, old men sipping stout. It turned out that they'd hoped to put the gig on, publicised it (at least to Leeds Student gig reviews editor) then it had fallen through - probably because they didn't know how to put gigs on.

However, they did a very nice pint of Guinness, so my mate and I wrote the most gushing review, making it sound like it was The Happening of The Year, possibly the century - all Dub-tastic R-squake bass and spirals of gangasmoke ascending heaven-ward to mingle with Sugar's angelic-host-like voice. We gave it to Mr X, who handed it in as his own... And it was published, followed by scores of letters complaining that it had never taken place. Mr X was severely chastised - don't think he wrote for 'em again!

 

 

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18 hours ago, Bilbo said:

What do you want from a critic?

To actually review a piece of music, rather than just vent their spleen on how much they hate the artist(s) responsible.

Edited by Rich

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I've tried to read album reviews but stop about 2 paragraphs in wonder off and go and watch some grass grow. I'm not really sure what the purpose of a music critic or album review is. How can you know if you'll like it from someone else's opinion (usually someone who never even learnt how to play an instrument, let alone had the guts to get up and put their stuff out there)? I'm currently listening to Hard-Fi's second album. I just had a quick Google and apparently it wasn't much liked by the critics, I prefer it to their first album.

Just to add, I never ever bought or read NME, had better things to spend my money on, usually beer and cigs.

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10 hours ago, Bilbo said:

Objective criticism of music. Is that even possible? Depending on the publication, I think it is important for critics to engage as well as inform. I think a stinking review can be really funny if we'll written. I grew up as a Prog fan in the Punk era. Nobody liked anything I listened to 😃 Writing is always about the writer. 

Oh no, that's not what I meant. Objective criticism is impossible. What I mean is they should engage with the material in good faith, as honestly as possible, and try to offer actual insight or analysis, instead of focusing all their energy on witticisms, gonzo ego stroking, or as is the case with the aforementioned Christgau, the preparation of word salads. 

And people like Lester Bangs really, literally did write about themselves. I read an interview by him (not with him) that he would periodically break up to insert vignettes recounting his shagging a prostitute in some South East Asian country. What the f*´k? 

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Until these last few months I had a long-standing mission to go to see 3 bands I've never hear of every year.  That, and the 'what are you listening to now' section on here have provided some really interesting music.

I stopped reading album reviews in my early twenties as very few seemed interested in the music I liked.  I'm 59 now :)

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