Critical language has for the most part been borrowed from other fields — few writers have been able to shake their liberal arts educations. The few new terms (tight, together, heavy) are vague and undiscriminating. A rock erudition has been established, and writers talk casually of ‘influences’ and ‘development,’ but it is all very distant. There are more reviewers, whose main function is commercial, than critics whose concerns are truly aesthetic. There is little rock criticism; change the names and it could be jazz or movies or art. And the bitch is that without other precedents, this bad writing is setting the precedents, and one more clean slate in the planet’s history is getting fucked up beyond all recognition.
– Michael Lydon, review of Paul Williams’s Outlaw Blues in Rolling Stone, April 19, 1969
Gee, if this doesn’t make you feel misty-eyed for the “golden age” of rock criticism, I don’t know what will.
One thought on “There is little”
Lydon always struck me as more a journalist than a critic–but a journalist with a critical mind, a mind always considering the angles, not to mention a gravity and longsightedness which inform his comment here.