what’s good about music today… part one: what’s bad about critics

When I embed “good” into the name of the blog, I mean it.

I’ve seen one too many caustic reviews from critics who are more interesting in scoring an insult than giving an insightful music review.

I still have a sore spot for David Browne, who somehow got a gig with Entertainment Weekly reviewing music. In his review for theĀ janet. album in 1993, he excused Janet Jackson’s fabricated lyrical obsession with body parts (it’s called concrete imagery in an album with a sexual theme–not that much of a stretch) by explaining that she’s probably unaccustomed to seeingĀ real body parts. Since the humor there is so scarce, allow me to explain–it’s a Jackson family plastic surgery joke. In a music review! How appropriate!

Even when critics remain on-subject, they are often less than generous to any music that doesn’t conform to their preconceived notions. One of my friends who blogs about music is as guilty of this as anyone. I won’t call him out, but I will give an example; in a full-on pan of Rihanna‘s “What’s My Name?” he complained that the song wasn’t as romantic as a Maxwell song.

I have a deal for you, music lovers: if the vision Rihanna and her writers and producers had for her career was that she was to emulate Maxwell, then I will eat her entire CD collection, including the case and liner notes.

Without that being the case, the comparison has little place in a fair music review.

So that’s a little bit about the direction I do not want to pursue. There’s much to celebrate and analyze about any song. But first you have to meet the song where it is.