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 Ben Pratt

Modern Day Music Criticism Sucks

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Listening to the music and the words, I am drawn into a world in my own mind, where I am the artist and can paint the beautiful, untouched, vibrant landscapes however I want, each brush stroke completely different to the next, as I just lay there and let the music take me away. I’m in a world filled with innocence and love. A world that is completely pure and clean, virtually untouched. The lyrics from ‘April Fool’ boom out, interrupting my daydream for a few seconds. It takes me back a few years; back to when love was still an innocent idealism in high school that adolescents had no idea about. Back when it was still love in its purest sense. A love that was not compromised by the needs and wants of society; the pressures of outside influences and forces or emotional baggage and fear of giving yourself entirely to someone, without realising how far you could fall. It’s a naïve, puppy love. After all, that was when we were so carefree and innocent and all we wanted to do was lay on the beach with our naked bodies touching gently, softly grazing our lips with each other’s under the warm and beautiful rays of the sun. This is love in its most purest sense, an adolescent love when you don’t a worry in the world. One that I cannot go back and experience first-hand so I am forced to visualise through this music and imagine just how good everything could have been if no one ever had to grow up, experience life and responsibility, and ask all those important questions that mankind seem to be so determined on figuring out.

Manchester Orchestra have the ability to make you feel young and alive, that everything is possible and that believing in things is not a waste of time. Within a few songs, the band can take you from dark, ugly imagery and confusion, to abstract beauty and confronting honesty, all while asking you, “What if it was true, that all we thought was right, was wrong?” With all this type of music and ‘indie bands’ circling the airwaves and teen tabloids at the moment, Manchester Orchestra manage to separate themselves with a sound that is distinct, bold and triumphant. The incredible ability to combine the simplest, most heartfelt melodies with good old-fashioned rock and roll guitar riffs, perfectly timed drum fills, pop hooks and multiple string and horn arrangements with the soft and sometimes eccentric poetry of a confused and beaten individual, softly overlaying the music makes Simple Math Manchester Orchestra’s best album yet.

Don’t believe me, huh? I’ll tell you what, how about you buy the album give it two weeks and tell me what you think? Not all critics are right you know, dude. Remember when Lester Bangs (the greatest critic in rock’n’roll history) wrote ‘Dandelions in Still Air: The Withering Away of the Beatles’ in 1975 for CREEM and the drunk madman said, “Somebody told me the other day that people will still be listening to Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway To Heaven’ 100 years from today, and Sgt. Peppers as well. He’s full of shit.”

Well if the gonzo journalist, gutter poet, romantic visionary and heck of a writer were still alive today, I’d give him a call. See if he wanted to hang out with me and my friend Anthony, shoot the shit, get strung out on home-made speed in my basement and listen to timeless classics like Sgt. Peppers and Zeppelin IV, just to see if the crazy drunk motherfucker would still stand behind his word near on 50 years later, or whether he was just tripped out on Romilar. [2]

Ya see, us critics aren’t always right – even the best of ’em get it wrong. We aren’t a unified front and sometimes we just talk a lot of shit. But that’s a whole ‘nother story altogether.

You want to go get some burgers though, man? I got me a bad case of the munchies.

[1] Writing bad things about Brand New was really hard to do. I love them just as much as morning-after sex, and I love morning-after sex. Although I’m more impressed that my half-arsed review counts in at 250 words exactly. No matter weak or inaccurate it is, I finally kept a word count.

[2]  In the 60s and 70s, Romilar was an over the counter tablet form of Dextromethorphan (DXM), or cough syrup for us laymen, that was taken off the market after a burst in sales due to frequent abuse. It was later replaced by cough syrup in an attempt to cut down on the recreational abuse of the tablet. Lester was one of those guys that liked to exceed the label-specified maximum dosage that they placed on those type of products to prevent people going into a dissociative hallucinations, especially on more than one occasion. Unfortunately that’s was one of the many contributing reasons he isn’t around today, hypnotising us with highly intellectual dialect, often hilarious commentary, honest passion and unmerciful wordmanship.

 

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24 Responses to Modern Day Music Criticism Sucks

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