4 thoughts on “Does Hatred Have a Place in Music Criticism Anymore?

  1. Hatred is a weird word here. I think what I’m maybe trying to ask is, do negative reviews matter anymore? Which leads to several other questions, probably (matter to who? matter in which way? did they ever “matter”?). I used to think it was ridiculous how certain punk fanzines would only publish positive reviews — and reams of them at that. The underlying idea, I think, being that there was too much good stuff out there and it was a waste of time to allot space to music the writers or editors didn’t believe worthy of their readers attention. Or something to that effect. I think there might have been something prescient about that attitude, for better or worse.

  2. Christgau sort of acknowledged the same when he stopped running regular reviews of albums less than B+ or whatever (save his annual turkey shoot).

  3. Reviews have never talked me out of buying or seeing something that I had planned on buying or seeing—not even when I was younger, I don’t think. (Lots of reviews talked me *into* doing so.) But such reviews can make for compelling writing, sure. (Kael’s Raging Bull review comes to mind.) Or really bad writing. (Me, early Radio On comes to mind.) To answer your question, my first instinct is to say that a really negative review could never have the effect today that it would have had in 1971 coming from Kael, or from Marcus in Rolling Stone. Then I remember that Kael’s reviews of Dirty Harry and The Exorcist and Blazing Saddles and probably lots more apparently stopped no one from seeing them.

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