Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Why I'm glad (again) that I am not a critic

I was reading a review of a group whose music I have really enjoyed on the radio.  The review was condescending, and, in my experience, inaccurate when it talked about how unremarkable the album was because the group sounded like everyone else on the radio at the time of the album release. 

I had never heard a group that sounded like them.  Why would a reviewer say that, I wondered, if it was obviously not true?  What I forgot is that most reviewers get paid to listen to a lot more music than I do. 

The radio station I normally listen to (because I have good reception) is more Adult Contemporary, and this group getting airplay was probably more due to the fact that they're local boys than that they fit the station's format. 

When I recently tuned in to the other station, the one that's more rock/alternative oriented, I understood what the reviewer was saying.  Another reason I don't listen to this other station (aside from the poor, are-they-broadcasting-from-a-shoebox reception) is that there is a certain everyone-sounds-vaguely-the-same vibe.  Ah, this is what the reviewer meant.  If I listened to this station more, maybe the songs I loved from this specific band wouldn't have stood out as much, which would have been a shame, since the songs really spoke to me when I needed them.

I felt bad for the reviewer.  It would be awful not to be able to enjoy the huge, sonic hug aimed at those who have been kicked around and stomped on by the world we live in.

I feel the same way about some book reviewers.  It's sad that they don't get to just enjoy books.  It's sad that they demand originality in order to enjoy something, that they've read so much that originality is often the only thing that matters to them.  It makes me glad, once again, that I have chosen not to be a critic. 

Me and all the other rabid fans who love this music (or that book), regardless of what the critics say because this art is what we need now in our lives. 

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