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OT: Critics


Eric Iverson

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I found a great quote:

 

"Critics are like eunuchs in a harem: they know how it's done, they've seen it done every day, but they're unable to do it themselves." - Brendan Behan, Irish visionary

 

Any thoughts? No, I'm not implying anything about GP reviewers or YOU guys, LOL!

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Well, two things..... eunuchs CAN do it. They just can't climax. So your Irish "visionary" has lost sight of this one.

 

Second, there are a number of great quotes about critics. One of my favorite is from David Lee Roth, when asked why the critics all hated him and loved Elvis Costello, he replied, "because they all LOOK like Elvis Costello..." and I think that it was Elvis Costello who said something along the lines of "...writing about music is like dancing about architecture."

 

Meanwhile, we are -all- critics. I find great value in the opinions of quite a few people on line, who have saved me lots of time, money, and wasted effort, and pointed me towards solutions that I might not have otherwise stumbled across on my own. The knowledge base on this form alone is rich in diversity and experience. Which critics... whos opinion you choose to trust... that is the trick. Just because a guy sets himself up as an expert, doesn't mean that he is.

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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Another odd thing about critics: when most of the "major" critics give a good review to a new CD by an up and coming artist the sales figures don't exactly shoot up. In the past this has prompted one Canadian artist to say during a radio interview "hey critics, please give my disc a bad review, I need the sales". I read reviews mainly for the entertainment, some of these critics write good comedy(and maybe fiction).

 

Jim

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Well if they are competent, critics can tell when someone is repeating themselves or someone else. They can tell when some one is cashing in on a trend when they established a reputation on being unique. That may or may not influence your opinion of a performer and often has nothing to do with whether or not the music is good to listen to. If a critic writes well they can sure be entertaining to read, even if you don`t agree with them. I see them as mainly writers who write about music, not so much as music insiders. If they can do better, step on up.

Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

 

Skipsounds on Soundclick:

www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandid=602491

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Well, two things..... eunuchs CAN do it. They just can't climax. So your Irish "visionary" has lost sight of this one.

 

Second, there are a number of great quotes about critics. One of my favorite is from David Lee Roth, when asked why the critics all hated him and loved Elvis Costello, he replied, "because they all LOOK like Elvis Costello..." and I think that it was Elvis Costello who said something along the lines of "...writing about music is like dancing about architecture."

 

Meanwhile, we are -all- critics. I find great value in the opinions of quite a few people on line, who have saved me lots of time, money, and wasted effort, and pointed me towards solutions that I might not have otherwise stumbled across on my own. The knowledge base on this form alone is rich in diversity and experience. Which critics... whos opinion you choose to trust... that is the trick. Just because a guy sets himself up as an expert, doesn't mean that he is.

 

If I'm not mistaken, Martin Mull was the originator of the "dancing about architecture" quote. Elvis Costello himself attributed that quote to Mull.

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Well, I'm sure there are critics out there who are not trained/experienced musicians. I have no idea what criteria they use.

 

Then there are groups like NSAI and TAXI that offer critiques based on the marketability of material.

 

When I was in school the band had festivals and solo & ensemble where our live performances -- sometimes including sight reading -- was judged by music educators. [if you've never experienced this before I can tell you that it is a bit intimidating for a tween/teen to perform a solo in a classroom across the room from the judge(s) sitting behind a table, looking serious and taking notes.] In this setting your musicianship is graded from an academic standpoint.

 

I think it is good for musicians to have honest, unbiased feedback. Even better if it is supportive.

 

Every time someone here posts something for review it gets very supportive responses. I think that's great and shows how much respect we have for each other. Sometimes I will add a more "candid" response in a PM, and those always go over well.

 

The world of recording artists and their critics is something else entirely. I do not have any firsthand knowledge of this world. I think the recording industry hype machine far outweighs any professional critics' opinions. But hype can't cover up a dud, just like perfume can't cover up a stink. Sooner or later people wise up and word of mouth has more to do with sales than hype. (Sales is not the best measure of "good"/"bad", but sometimes it is better than nothing.)

 

I don't read critics reviews myself, so they have no bearing on my purchasing decisions.

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I don't read critics reviews myself, so they have no bearing on my purchasing decisions.

 

+1

 

I only read reviews if the review is guitar specific.

 

General music reviewers like stuff I hate and vice-versa.

In fact, if they don't like something, I'm more apt to buy it.

 

I remember Downbeat magazine giving Weather Report one star for Mr. Gone. It wasn't that bad. There was a major outrage about that one. The critics were probably expecting Birdland, Pt. II.

A Jazz/Chord Melody Master-my former instructor www.robertconti.com

 

(FKA GuitarPlayerSoCal)

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Just remember in like 1997 or something, Rolling Stone gave Courtney Hole's (love) CD 'best CD of the year'...

 

 

Mostly magazine critics don't even have a choice. They are just serving the corporate giants. Its not like they can decide to cover and do a story on 'Gifthorse'. They can't. Its a closed loop.

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Actually, there are three types of eunuchs, only one type can "do it". That's still one more than the critics.

 

 

"Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, yet you cannot play upon me.'-Hamlet

 

Guitar solos last 30 seconds, the bass line lasts for the whole song.

 

 

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A long time ago, I heard somebody say "If you can't do, teach. If you can't teach, be a critic."

 

I think that sums it up very neatly.

 

Similar to the creedo of the restaurant manager:

 

"Those who can, do. Those who can't, manage..."

 

(lovely double-entendre there, just think about it for a second)

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I remember reading about how this one famous pianist, who hated all critics, let it be known that he had in his possession a pair of socks that had belonged to Chopin, who said critic worshiped. So he delivered a pair of his own smelly socks, and watched the man get all ecstatic over his acquisition.

 

Not sure if this is true or not... hopefully not, although some people even today take their admiration of certain musicians to an absurd level!

 

Me? I'm not famous enough yet to sell my smelly socks!

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A long time ago, I heard somebody say "If you can't do, teach. If you can't teach, be a critic."

 

I think that sums it up very neatly.

 

Oh I don't know, that's really one of those clever expressions which has a neatness of form, but doesn't really carry any greater truth than any longwinded disquisitions on the subject. And I think it reduces complexity into a meaninglessly simple sentiment that doesn't really, upon examination, hold water. I don't think, for example, that Alex Ross, Pulitzer winning music critic for the New Yorker, is incapable of teaching, or even for that matter playing music. I think he has decided that writing is his art form & he has pursued what brings him pleasure.

Usually when anything becomes oversimplified it loses the nuance which conveys the real truth of the matter.

 

Scott Fraser

Scott Fraser
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There are people who have a knack of putting feelings into words. When one of these guys nails a description that has totally eluded me, I am impressed by their knowledge of their craft.

 

Unfortunately, publishers are paying so little today for articles, critiques, and reviews that most writers worthy of the name have moved on to other pursuits, barring the few marquee names that are capable of commanding better sums.

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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There have been some great writers on the subject of music, such as Le Roi Jones a/k/a Amiri Baraka, who had great insights without being musicians themselves.

 

Most non-musician music critics seem to be rather clueless about music, and in love with their own verbiage.

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A quote from Theodore Roosevelt:

 

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

 

BTW, would "Cold and Timid Souls" be a good name for a rock band? LOL

Eric, who is actually in the arena... not sure about the "dust and sweat and blood" part!

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I think critics provide a great service. They help us sift through the massive amount of music that's out there.

 

A good critic knows a lot about music and can tell when something's been done before, or if an artist is "phoning it in".

 

The NY Times has some good critics. Nick Kent is also really good. J.D. Constantine had some hilarious single-sentence reviews back in the early 90s that summed up bad records perfectly.

 

There certainly are "scene" critics who are usually indie-rock kids who managed to get a gig at a music or culture rag somewhere and are more interested in being as clever as possible in one paragraph than on writing an objective review. They usually use the pronoun "I" a lot and tend to be ignorant of any music that was created before they were in high school.

"You never can vouch for your own consciousness." - Norman Mailer
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