New Criticals

A Brief Exposition of Contemporary Music Criticism: Part One

It should be clear to everyone that modern music journalism is an intensely exploitative practice. It uses the artist’s material as a means of selling content as opposed to building a relationship with the material over time. Because of this lack of sensitivity to the feedback loop that exists between writer and artist, the culture suffers. This is not to say that the modern music critic is worthless, but that the journalistic thinking is wrong, concerned less with understanding and fleshing out a work, and more concerned with gaining a steady stream of hapless readers. Along with this more business oriented mindset, the critic has fallen as well, being replaced by a less critical-minded fan: the distance between the fan and those in the music industry then shrinks and blurs. The critic is not at the service of their audience; the critic's job is not to teach or explain, but to unravel a work and map out its focus. The shortsighted nature of modern music criticism is lost in a need to please, pander to and caress the whims of their readers. Despite the years of critical theories and traditions built up in the surrounding mediums, the music critic evades this in instead chooses a path much closer to blogger. In the process, no work gets covered fully, only to the extent of the reader's desire to be interested in the subject - the reader only wants to know: "will it please me?" and "should I buy it?" This straightforward thinking reduces even the most meaningful record to something of a gift to the world as opposed to be an object, a droplet from the moment's collective narrative and experience. The points following intend to explore the current relationship and the potentialities between the critic, the subject, and the language/system through which an art object is turned into a subject. The investigation of these items, the eventual projection and assertion of their collective potentialities will take us through the dissection of the current critical system’s failing to define and metabolize as well as raising a new intertextual and interdisciplinary mode of critical discourse.