Thursday, February 14, 2013
Sticks And Stones
The role of the critic isn’t an easy one. Having to continually find new ways to express the audibly obvious may not sound too difficult, but trying to keep it interesting is. Which is one reason why it occasionally becomes boring, at least for a short time. Burnout is a common occurrence as it is difficult to live in a constant state of inspiration which permits easy access to the necessary language. The thing is, writing about the stuff you like is easy, it’s what doesn’t appeal which makes life more difficult, and that’s the principle problem behind writing for a lot of online and printed outlets which don’t set a specific agenda. There are no quota systems, as far as I know, within music journalism, but maybe there should be. Inasmuch as the only news worth reporting is negative, the only reviews worth writing seem to range from the bland to the positive. Unfortunately sometimes there is a reaction against this and it’s not always clear how deliberate the negativity is, whether it’s staged or real. There’s also the undercurrent of the reviewer wanting to rise above the reviewed. The ratings system is only there to discourage reading, but when certain scores are rare then the opposite is true. Jeff Mills once said that there are two types of music, good and bad, (I’m sure he wasn’t the only one), and that he was always interested to hear new material from the likes of Madonna based purely on her level of ability and, no doubt, popularity. I’m sure a few technoses were put out of joint upon reading that but it’s a simple and effective maxim which paraphrases a desire for greater exposure of the artist. Anyway, not all music writing is about reviewing. Theo Parrish recently gave an interview to Crack Magazine in which he has a go at both the music press and its journalists. Check what he says here.