the football team approach to music criticism
You can, if you like, treat writing about music like supporting a football team.
Sure, there will be bad times. Sure, there will be good. Sure, your favourite band will end up somewhere in the middle of the league table at season’s end, unless you’re supporting someone really obvious like Tom Waits or Maria And The Gay or Tunabunny (say). Sure, you can get behind one particular band – or 20 – and say, “This is my band, these are my bands. I don’t care what music they make, how good their shows are, because these is MY bands. Consistency rules”. Sure, you can even claim that there are only five or six good bands any given year, same way there are only five or six good football teams. (What happened to music not being a competition?) Sure, you can blind yourself to all the moments of brilliance that happen on (and off) the pitch performed by other football teams because what matters is YOUR team, YOUR band. Sure, you can even grade each performance, marks out of 10, all that.
Sure. You can do all that.
One thing blogs can do that other publications can’t: be geeks. If you think a band deserves more attention, post their single. Review their album. Do an interview with them. Post the video. Post the next video. Post the tour dates. Write about the album again two months later — you’re still listening to it, aren’t you? Repetition can make a big difference! If you post a song once, it disappears. Think about it this way: if you posted a new band once a day every weekday, that’s over 250 bands a year. How many albums will you actually buy this year, 10? 20? How many good albums come out in a year? Get behind those. Promoting 250 bands is not “tastemaking”: it’s stupid.
Promoting 250 bands isn’t ‘tastemaking’, agreed. Enthusing and writing about 250 different songs could be, though. (Why this need for consistency?) Y’see, some of us don’t see ourselves as being in the ‘promotion’ game, that we’re merely here to support the moribund music industry. We think blogging can – and should – aspire to way more than that. Bloggers should not be content to simply be an adjunct.
*The rest of David’s blog entry is actually pretty fucking spot on.