[Steven Ward started an interesting thread on Facebook recently with the following inquiry, and we thought we’d bring it to the, uh, masses as well via rockcritics.com.] OK rock critic friends. I have to ask. Why oh why do you hate The Eagles so much? It can’t be that they are so popular/loved by the public? If so, you would hate Michael Jackson and Prince … Continue reading From the Desk of Steven Ward
A regular reader suggested this might make for appropriate/interesting reading: Why I Hate the National – And how I decided it’s OK to hate the bands that I hate. By Carl Wilson, Slate In the end, it simply seems too repressive and stultifying to demand that we give up entirely on the fundamental pop pleasure of taking a side. Too often that instinct has manifested itself … Continue reading On the fundamental pleasure of hating stuff
David Bowie once mentioned me in a complimentary way from a stage, in New York City, in the later nineties. This was one of the great unlikely moments of my professional life. It was in the did-I-hallucinate-it category. It was in the did-that-actually-happen category. – Rick Moody on the new Bowie record. It gets worse — about 6,000 words or so worse. Good luck. Continue reading Bad Friday Reading #2
I was a kid. I cared about volume. And the tears that flowed as (in Band) we went for the crescendo. From the radio I wanted to hear the big chords, the big drums, the big horns. I didn’t know there was a such a thing as being manipulated by the right pauses — I liked Clive Davis’ ear and Clive Davis’ work and I … Continue reading Weekend Read: Barry Manilow
A by no means comprehensive or conclusive survey of a Canadian power trio who once upon a time (much less so now) got under the skins of more rock critics than any other rock or pop artist going.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
“For the record, those three are drummer Neil Peart, who writes all the band’s lyrics and takes fewer solos than might be expected; guitarist Alex Lifeson, whose mile-a-minute buzzing is more numbing than exciting; and bassist, keyboardist and singer Geddy Lee, whose amazingly high-pitched wailing often sounds like Mr. Bill singing heavy metal. If only Mr. Sluggo had been on hand to give these guys a couple good whacks…”
– Steve Pond, review of Rush live in Los Angeles, Rolling Stone, 1980
Geddy Lee’s high-register vocal style has always been a signature of the band – and sometimes a focal point for criticism, especially during the early years of Rush’s career when Lee’s vocals were high-pitched, with a strong likeness to other singers like Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin. A review in the New York Times opined that Lee’s voice ‘suggests a munchkin giving a sermon.’ Although his voice has softened over the years, it is often described as a ‘wail.’ His instrumental abilities, on the other hand, are rarely criticized.
– Wikipedia entry on Rush
I have been a professional rock critic, more or less, for 15 years, and as such my friends and family naturally assumed I would be “music-training” my son from birth, regaling him with Sonic Youth and Sun Ra and Ghostface Killah from an early age so as to make him The Coolest Baby on the Planet. Not for him, the scourge of Raffi. But I … Continue reading Kid Rock
But I hedged my bet right from the beginning too, and kept my day job at the welfare department all the way through, as I was a family man and it provided regular income and medical coverage, etc. That job also gave me another kind of coverage, as a rock critic, as since my writing didn’t furnish my primary income, I could be very choosy … Continue reading Nina Hagen vs. Journey
Rutherford [Chang] has a unique vinyl collection. He only collects the Beatles first pressing of The White Album. I met him in Recess gallery where he exhibits his collection. In this show Chang is creating a record store that stocks only White Albums. But rather than selling the albums, he buys more from anyone willing to part with an original pressing in any condition. – Rutherford … Continue reading Collectoritis
I will spare myself no embarrassment. Like William Safire, to whom I credit the idea of an annual mea culpa, I will not attempt to save face retroactively. These are not typos, transpositions of numbers or other copy-editing errors (although I had a few of those too). These are errors of substance and judgment. I can be such an idiot sometimes. – Dan Neal, What … Continue reading Car Critics vs. Rock Critics
Forget Rick Moody, there needs to be more focus on just how awful Salon itself can be with their music and entertainment coverage in recent years (which I say as someone who greatly enjoys some of their political coverage). One sort of (extremely silly) example of the sort of thing I’m speaking about appeared just moments ago: HEADLINE WHAT THE SUBJECT OF THE PIECE, BRYAN … Continue reading Bryan Ferry Dedicates New Album to Beyoncé & Jay-Z!