from this: "There's an entire Arch Snarky Commenter persona people now rush to adopt, in which they read things on the Internet and then compete to most effectively roll their eyes at it."
one thing music critics really struggle with is writing about music, and this has been one of the primary beefs we at the writemare have had with them. when they "like" an album, all they can talk about is a lead singer's life story, her "backstory" in the language of our television age. more than anything else, what gets evaluated is whether or not a particular artist or band should be making music.
it's my thinking that most listeners and fans don't hear music in this way. people who like having their self-image fed back to them watch movies. people listen to music because it sounds good to them.
critics aren't different, i don't think, at least not at first. what happens is that sooner or later they have to write six paragraphs about an album they like, and have to scramble because, for the most part, they never acquired a vocabulary capable of describing music. if you don't know what words to use in order to describe and discuss music meaningfully, you will inevitably revert to talking about people.
so i proudly roll my eyes at the above-linked column, in which nitsuh abebe discusses discussions of identity as they relate to music and musicians. "We like to imagine that the sounds [musicians are] making are some raw, uncalculated outpouring of the soul inside." i know you do.
i like writing music that makes me smile. when i was 11 years old, i didn't want to be like jimi hendrix, i wanted to play like jimi hendrix (fail, btw). like most musicians, i don't practice my soul, i practice my instrument. i can practically feel abebe's eyes rolling.