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Aperitif for Thought


What is music journalism?

I guess it’s something like: “Sodden Leaves are a tropically-flavored electro-pop quartet from Staffordston that are really hotting up the college charts… Now here’s some dance music with real emotion.”

I am not allowed to pass judgment on the state of the entire Staffordston pop scene, its questionable ties to bocce gambling rings, the general relevance of bocce, or whether or not “hotting up the college charts” is a worthwhile thing to do (what with the stupidly obvious ass-backwardness of the entire Stafforston – fuck, the whole Quinton Province – aesthetic). I am allowed to say “dance music with real emotion” because one of the members unearthed a long-dormant case of bipolar disorder while programming a sequencer for one of the b-sides (says the press kit). Anyway, nobody in Staffordston has ever seen over the barbed walls at the Quinton Province limits, so “tropically-flavored” is a modified adjective that will best resonate with their knowledge of the Grössel Starfruit Yogurt Squirt (the jeeeeesisss, they call it), an immensely popular local kumquat-flavored shooter.

All I’m saying is that if I did, for example, say by way of a mystical, gut hunch that these Staffordston bands are spending a lot of time trying to look directly into their own assholes while the bands in Greater Kirschischirshire are absolutely slaying right now, someone will write to the Staffordston Herald SuperSaver and say “You are a closed-minded jerk, and I disinherit any passion I might have had for your writing.” And you might retort,

“But I’m from Staffordston; I mean, I love that scene. I care about it. Which is why I have an opinion and not a series of harmless, eggwhite facts.

And let’s be honest like David Hume once was – let’s not call a pond a lake. I mean, the whole project of trying to be catholically open-minded has mutated into a sick, limbless child of cultural studies. We’re taxed here, told to sublimate our own tastes and relish in the Technicolor panoply of the present; the strobing, rootless orgy of the now. I am drowning in an undifferentiated sa of difference. Who are you to tell me I’m not allowed to like what I like, or more regularly, that I should like something that I don’t? Sure, I am a window. But I’m a stained glass window. I have teal tits, fuschia freckles; I have a big purple splotch where my heart should be. So when the light of the world shines through me, I distort it, but I can make something beautiful nevertheless; I can make my own interpretation, my own opinion of the light. I am a critic.”

And then you pass out, high on the fumes of your own prose. But you got the chance to be you. And I, me.

It seems to be something that humans are struggling with. I mean, I should be gentle about this, but I remember having talks with friends who were really disappointed with how passive say, the New York Times was about certain political issues. And then someone says “well, that’s just journalism, isn’t it? Unbiased? Unblinking?” And so

What is music criticism?

I guess it’s the guys that Frank Kogan quotes, the ones writing in to metal magazines saying that “Poison have faggy poodle ‘dos and no balls, and if they did have even the most miniscule, pine nut-sized balls, Metallica would mercilessly wield the divine hammer with which to smash them” (in their dudely, hairyknuckled fingers, no doubt).


Tune in tomorrow and find out.


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