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Letter to a Disgruntled Gotye Fan

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By Lucy Cage

Editor’s Note:
There’s been quite a heated debate around Scott Creney‘s recent review of the #1 Australian album, Gotye’s Making Mirrors. After a particularly virulent comment, CB contributor Lucy Cage was moved to write the following response. I thought it was interesting enough, and relevant enough to the whole process of understanding music criticism, to lift out of the Comments Section into its own blog entry. First we’ll have the original comment, and then Lucy’s response.

one of the most unconstructive and imbalanced reviews I’ve ever read.

“It makes me want to stab sharpened knitting needles through my eyes until it punctures my brain” [Scott’s original review – Ed] are you fucking kidding? a highly original (over)reaction to an album. how long did you spend coming up with that colourful description?

terrible use of metaphors and irrelevant, unsubstantiated analysis of gotye’s personal life aside, the review didn’t even canvass half the songs on the record, nor did it consider the work as a body.

but then again, I wouldn’t expect any better from a talentless freelance journalist who couldn’t hack the real world. (if you can make blind assumptions about gotye, then I’m entitled to make them about you.)

and lucy cage – I’m not telling you it’s badly written because I don’t like what it’s saying. I’m telling you because it’s a shit piece of writing. it’s not articulate. it’s not balanced. it doesn’t substantiate most of the inane metaphors/analyses. and worst of all, it doesn’t even cover the entire album.

adrian mcgruther

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“and lucy cage – I’m not telling you it’s badly written because I don’t like what it’s saying. I’m telling you because it’s a shit piece of writing”

Hmm, I disagree. I think you’re hurt because something you like and appreciate is being dissed. Why don’t you tell us what Making Mirrors makes you feel? Scott has told us quite clearly and amusingly what it does to him (and you can’t say that he’s wrong about that, can you? It’s his experience of listening, not yours) and lots of people here, myself included, have agreed that, yes, Gotye has produced something that’s just a bit OK.

If it’s more than OK, if it’s actually fucking SPECIAL, then show us why.

As for the writing, is this excerpt *really* “shit”?

“Gotye’s songs lack any kind of Swiftian (not even Taylor, let alone Jonathan) insight into relationships, or human nature. Instead of joyous exaltation, or a sense of abandon, we’re given a professional smile, like something you see on television. Instead of art, Gotye gives us mere entertainment. Nothing wrong with being entertained, I suppose, but music — and Gotye — are capable of offering so much more.”

I think that’s good. I think it’s very good. I’ve read enough shit writing to know that this is not it. Even if I were to disagree violently with Scott’s conclusions, I would have to say that they were well expressed, considered, heartfelt.

And your other complaints? No-one ever said a review had to be constructive. Or balanced, for fuck’s sake. We’re not running workshops for the mediocre musician here. As for “and worst of all, it doesn’t even cover the entire album”: seriously? The worst thing about this review is really that it doesn’t mention every single song? I’d be grateful and leave it at that, if I were you. Or Gotye.

So that’s your moans dealt with. Here’s mine:

“a talentless freelance journalist who couldn’t hack the real world.”

Pfft.

First up, Scott Creney is certainly not talentless, otherwise he wouldn’t be being published here, on The World’s Most Meta-Fantastic Music Criticism Website. Plus his piece on Nevermind has been widely acknowledged as one of the very best articles published in the subject in the anniversary year. [He actually got interviewed by the BBC on the back of it – Ed] It’s stupendous. Go on, give yourself a treat and read it.

He’s not freelance: this is for the love, love. We write because we want to. Because we have to. What do you do for LOVE?

He’s not a journalist. He’s a critic. Haven’t you read anything here? Take your balanced, constructive and complete and shove it up the music industry’s well-oiled arse.

“Real world”

What the fuck is the real world? This is as real as anything else. You think people who write about music don’t have jobs or families or bands or bills to pay or parties to go to or friends to give them a kick up the arse occasionally? What a ridiculously meaningless comment.

Come on, Adrian McGruther: bring it on. If you’re going to complain about the writing and the writers on this site you’re going to have to do a damn sight better than that. Or take up my challenge and write something about Gotye that’s going to make me play it at top volume non-stop for the next three days like I did with the last album I ADORED. I want THAT level of wondrousness or you and it can piss the hell off.

Goyte photography: Justin Edwards

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