Thursday, March 02, 2006


Jack White really isn't fond of music reviews. Or reviewers. In fact, he's written at some length about the matter:

“They all play a coward’s game. Only one side to their playground. Such an easy fight that way. The faceless opinion of print and the internet. What is it teaching all of us?”

“Back when there was a time when we had great writers, and respected journalists who had earned their position as tastemakers, and won peoples respect with their knowledge and insight, it was much easier to understand a written opinion because at least you knew who it was coming from.”

“Now those printed opinions are probably coming from the person sitting next to you in the mall. Why should you care about their opinion? Why shouldn’t you?”

“Critics are the only public expression that isn’t ‘allowed’ to be critiqued. Be careful children, you don’t have to listen to all those opinions out there, and not even this one you are reading.”

“Remember the person’s opinion you are reading probably knows less about less about the topic you are interested in than you do.”

Hang about... is White complaining that the guys writing for NME and Rolling Stone right now haven't, erm, "paid their dues"? How, exactly, did the old guard "earn their position" - did Lester Bangs do ten years reviewing vegetable shows for the local papers before he got to try a proper gig? Had Charles Shaar Murray finished some sort of diploma at the tech college? Was there a day when Nick Kent take a reviewing test - "you are a safe reviewer, you may remove your L-plates"?

The strange thing is Jack never thought to mention this back when the White Stripes were critical darlings. I wonder why.


Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

"Back when there was a time when we had great writers..."

Hey, nostalgia isn't what it used to be. This reminds of one of George Burns' lines: "critics are like eunuchs at an orgy".

One of the problems of music criticism is that by the time critics have "paid their dues" and been accepted by a rag which will make their articles appear noteworthy, the style of music which initially empassioned them will have passed, leaving the worst critics to forever focus on music which is either from that era or has ties to that era. Write what you know about they're told. And they do, which means that some view the latest music through the eyes of their 16-year-old self who taped T'Pau off the radio and grew up in the heyday of Britpop.

If John Lydon was born 30 years later, would he consider Green Day as punk?


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