Everett True

Music criticism boot camp, week 314 | Criticism by comparison

Music criticism boot camp, week 314 | Criticism by comparison
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This is the Internet. Hello. Welcome. Glad you could make it. You fuckhead.

Here, the need for words is sometimes obviated by the sheer wealth of resources. I mean, not that it’s not fun to drive and talk. I mean, not that it’s not fun to eat pizza with chilli sauce and read Woman Rebel. I mean, not that it’s not fun to stroke your partner’s thighs and demand they keep silent.

For example. You might be thinking that this version is actually – perhaps surprisingly, considering image and Zeitgeist and fondness for bad male dancing partners – pretty darn fine.

Especially when you compare it to this.

But, of course, one person’s cup of saccharine-sweetened piss-weak reheated coffee is another person’s cup of golden Java. (One person’s Starbucks is another’s precious recorded-over Daniel Johnston tape.) Heaven forbid we upset the 80s revivalist and New Labour faction among the music press (read their brand-new manifesto HERE) by claiming something to be ‘superior’ to something else.

When I was a mere strip of an editor, some of the first words to go from anyone’s review – as space was always at a premium – were the phrases “I think” and “in my opinion”. Yes yes, I’d patiently explain, eyes raised to the sky in forlorn hope that a lightning strike should happen by and reduce said pitiful mewling retch to less than pixie dust, I’m fully aware that’s what you think. I know it’s your opinion. You wrote the damn thing, after all.

These days, you’d think it’d be a given. But it seems that it is now mandatory that anyone who does have an opinion in web 2.0 environments has to add in those words, to explicitly make clear that this is THEIR opinion, not anyone else’s… and Bangs forbid you should make judgement calls on taste. See those big STOP signs chundering down the street? NOT ALLOWED. NOT ALLOWED.

Sorry. Where was I?

Oh yeah. Miley. Behaving all grown-up like all those damn boring grown-ups want her to. You might well think that her version of ‘Lilac Wine’ is pretty darn fine. Especially when compared to the Pearl Jam of folk, Jeff Buckley.

The trouble is, there’s always a singer like this, just round the corner….

(Review ends.)

Once again, Collapse Board shows the way forward for music critics in web 2.0 environments. You’d think someone would put us on a retainer, the way we’re constantly saving the form from redundancy.

Related posts:
Kimbra. No. No, don’t Kimbra. Please don’t.

6 Responses to Music criticism boot camp, week 314 | Criticism by comparison

  1. Lucy Cage October 16, 2013 at 4:43 am

    That Nina Simone cover is beautiful and evocative so far beyond any of the other versions you’d think it was a different song or was being transmitted through an entirely different medium. Thank you for posting it.

  2. DJ October 16, 2013 at 6:17 am

    This comment was intended for the above cited ‘Realpop’ blog but I think it may be safer ( for me) to post it here:

    The idea that ‘corporate interests’ can somehow dictate popular taste is completely without foundation.

    They do pander to mass taste and spend huge amounts of money to try to pre-determine what ‘artists’ will be successful – but they’re not always correct.

    Mass appeal is determined by a ratio of looks and talent: the more you have of one, the less you need of the other.

    In those rare cases of a lucky match of both, you get a ‘superstar’.

    In this era a mass-communication, the idea that an artist can be ‘too good’ to be recognised is absurd.

    As for the above blog, I admit to being confused.

    Do you like Tim Buckley or not? I honestly can’t tell. Did you ever see him perform live? I have. What’s not to like?

    I tried to listen to the Miley Cyrus clip but bailed-out about halfway through. Not because she’s a horrible singer but because it was a faked event; intended to appear live when it was actually pre-recorded.


  3. Everett True October 16, 2013 at 7:33 am

    I’ve always had a soft spot for Tim Buckley, but not Jeff.

    Although I gotta say Jeff live was very different to any recorded Jeff I’ve heard.

  4. DJ October 16, 2013 at 7:57 am

    :$ That shows how out of it I really am! 😉

    I didn’t realise that Tim Buckley’s son was also a musician – he looks alot like him!


  5. Jeff Tartakov October 16, 2013 at 11:40 am

    A critic once thanked me for making it possible to record over those Daniel Johnston tapes.

  6. Everett True October 16, 2013 at 11:41 am

    I think I might have known that, somewhere in the recesses of my mind… hence the reference.

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