“what even is a review?”

A formidable question, posed by Mark Sinker at Freaky Trigger, and a fetching/daunting examination of its many contours and contradictions. The surgery begins with a complaint (from a friend of Mark’s) about Nick Tosches’ review of Black Sabbath’s Paranoid in Rolling Stone, I think because Tosches seems to not address the record itself. Which leads to a trail of thought that includes Flaubert, the Grotesque … Continue reading “what even is a review?”

Regarding Her Husband’s Stupid Record Collection

“Because it was endearing when I wanted to consume my boyfriend’s record collection at 15 and liked being quizzed on singles and trivia — but when I later covered music for years for the alt-weekly in Nashville at 28 as the local rock scene there simmered up, I got an unending stream of shit for daring to write like I thought I had something to … Continue reading Regarding Her Husband’s Stupid Record Collection

“In Defense of Pop Criticism”

re: yesterday’s link to Ted Gioia’s rant, New York magazine’s Jody Rosen has at it. “Reading Gioia’s article, you are forced to draw one of two conclusions. Either Gioia is being coy about the periodicals and critics in question — is he worried about hurting the feelings of a Stereogum stringer? Doesn’t want to burn his bridges with Jan Wenner? — or his stack of music magazines … Continue reading “In Defense of Pop Criticism”

State of the Nation part 7,894

“I’ve just spent a very depressing afternoon looking through the leading music periodicals. And what did I learn? Pretty much what I expected. I found out what the chart-topping musicians are wearing (or, in many instances, not wearing). I got updates on their love life, and learned whose marriages are on the rocks. I read updates on the legal proceedings of the rich and famous. … Continue reading State of the Nation part 7,894

The Critical Economy (correspondence from Richard Riegel)

Richard Riegel writes: “I’m really impressed with Jennifer Szalai’s review of a collection of Dwight Macdonald’s criticism, in the December 12 issue of The Nation, the paper version of which I still subscribe to. It’s a good discussion about Macdonald himself, and his concepts of ‘Midcult’ and ‘Masscult,’ but Szalai’s comments about the current state of criticism are even better for our purposes. She’s talking … Continue reading The Critical Economy (correspondence from Richard Riegel)

Writing about Music is like Writing about Architecture

Beppe Colli, longtime rockcritics reader from Italy, posts a mammoth “what is wrong with music criticism” sort of piece (the type every rock critic wants or needs to write at least one of during their lifespan). He uses some stuff I posted here about the Ellen Willis book as his starting point. Sample: “Nowadays nobody considers ‘objective’ descriptions as being worthy of any consideration, but … Continue reading Writing about Music is like Writing about Architecture