Thursday, June 16, 2005

Music Critics are Stupid and Pointless

Music critics are second only to DJs in terms of being deluded and pretentious about their worthless occupation. Whenever I want to be consumed with misery and loathing, I just surf over to Pitchfork or pick up a copy of the latest Magnet, and peruse all the ink wasted by talentless dildos who have been given a forum into which they can inject their unqualified and asinine opinions.

You know that old saying that goes, "Those who can't do, teach"? It should actually read, "Those who can't do, write long-winded and self-indulgent criticism of a topic on which they have no education, from an undeserved perspective of superiority and righteousness".

If most music critics were as enlightened as their writing implies, they would have to be living with unicorns and elven fairies on some Shangri-La-esque plane of existence where their every thought is worshipped in song because it is a bright golden light of pure magical beauty. But no, the reality is most critcs are bitter, jaded assholes with a drug problem and a father complex, sitting in some shitty studio apartment cluttered with old T. Rex vinyl and empty Starbucks cups.

An excerpt from an actual Pitchfork review, chosen at random:

Back when he was Five, Ben Folds made punk rock for wussies. With a goofy drawl and sloppy piano-fisting (SFW, natch), Folds alternately threw stones and built glass houses. He'd mock a too-cool coterie of nose-ringed goths and closeted ex-Cure fans (ah, those innocent pre-Killers 1990s!), then let his guard down for ballads about heartbreak and, yes, the abortion that hurtled the Five through fame's window like a post-Final Four student rioter's "Brick". His hipster-baiting, sincerity and modest fame guaranteed a few nasty reviews, sure. Still, Folds challenged cred-consciousness before crying "rockist!" was OTM. Wussy, yes, but worthy.

I'll give $5 to the first person who can tell me what this idiot is talking about. Other than amusing himself with his hilarious little snark puns and masturbatory inside jokes, this entire paragraph tells me nothing about the music of Ben Folds, and whether or not I might like it. This is 100 words of wasted time. What the fuck is OTM? Is the editor allowing this person to just make up abbreviated phrases?

The problem is 99.9% of rock criticism is in service of neither the music, nor the fans who might want to listen to it. It's just a string of buzzwords, obscure references and less-than-subtle name/place-dropping that the writer thinks will give themselves credibility and/or makes them look cool. And the sad thing is, whether or not they choose to admit it, people buy this shit, thereby allowing any rock critic with an ego and a thesaurus to dictate their culture to them.

The people who buy the rock critic bullshit are easy to identify. They're the same people who are mortally afraid of your finding out about a cool new band before they do*. The same people who say shit like, "Yeah, that Killers show was pretty good, but you should have seen them back when they played (insert "tiny, totally-intimate and awesome" club here). The same people who think listening to music is some kind of fierce competition. In other words, jackasses.

Music, like most things that are completely subjective, doesn't really need criticism. Everybody is going to hear something different. Why can't magazines just publish lists of music they reccomend, and music they don't? Leave it up to the reader to go find out why. Listening to some asshole babble on for four-hundred words about "angular guitars" and "neo-folk-pschadelic- hardcore-disco-dance-glam-punk" that is derivative of "early-era-Cars" doesn't really mean shit to me and isn't going to have much of an influence on whether or not I'm going to check out the record. Ratings are fine, its the pointless sharing of pompous opinion that I find unnecessary.

Unless it's mine, of course.

*A fun game to play with these people is making up a band name, and asking them if they've heard about them, like, "Dude, have you heard The Paperweights? They're amazing." They'll either 1) lie and say they have, or 2) get all uncomfortable and leave suddenly, presumably going straight to Limewire to immediately educate themselves on this "new band" so they don't lose any more face. Either way, it's hilarious. When making up the band names, I find it's best to simply use the word "The", followed by a plural noun.

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