Another One Bites The Dust
Oh crap. Yet another of my favorite private music blogs is coming to an end. 3 Minutes, 49 Seconds is going off the air after 10 years of service to our little community. And his last post, HERE, is one of his best, and really does a fantastic job of explaining why, especially when it comes to rock criticism. Here’s a taste, then go there and say your farewells.
“However, there are plenty of reasons not to indulge in negative criticism, and many reviewers don’t make any distinction. A partial list: You hate the artist, you hate the genre, you hate popular artists, you define yourself by what you don’t like instead of what you do like, you believe every artist goes into an inevitable decline, or you had unrealistic expectations. Even so, I understand why critics go negative. It’s the better bet, as the 100% negativity rate in my own reviews will attest. It’s rarer for hatred to turn to love, if only because you’re unlikely to continue to give an album listening opportunities if you’ve already decided you don’t like it.
And while I agree with Koenig’s essential point that you should make your own decision about works of art, I don’t believe that negative criticism necessarily gets in the way of that. If you are so put off by a review of an album that you don’t even bother to listen to its song samples, then I question how serious you were about buying it in the first place. If you do listen for yourself and find that the writer’s criticisms are gnawing at you, then that would tell me that the criticisms were valid. If it doesn’t bother you, then there’s no harm done. Example: The Onion AV Club‘s Kyle Ryan gave Jimmy Eat World’s latest album, Damage, a middling review, finding some bright spots but ultimately labeling it anonymous and unmemorable. Now, I’ve loved and followed Jimmy Eat World for 16 years, so there was no way I wasn’t going to listen for myself. When I did, I had Ryan’s criticisms in mind at first, yes, but ultimately I found they didn’t apply for me. I’m also the person whose favorite David Bowie album is considered his worst.”