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Why I Still Write About Music

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I just read this blog entry from Brisbane-based academic and musician Ian K. Rogers about Why I Still Review Albums

It was articulate, well-reasoned and impassioned. Just like the fellow himself. It makes reference to the “academy” (a word that means shit all to anyone not actually involved in post-doctoral qualifications), but that’s OK.  He’s been through the mill, far as that’s concerned. He writes:

To me, it’s not enough to doubt or debate the meaning of music criticism in 2012. Questioning it is just wistful and naive; the ridiculous hypothetical that technology will reverse itself, that tides will turn, that the whole world will be sucked inside out again. It’s all garbage logic. Delusional. The music writer needs to understand that a ‘good’ critical review – that follows all the rules – is now nothing more than the Lorem Ipsum sitting between the album cover and the track/album stream in a well-tooled advertisement. In terms of its older traditional functions, music criticism is dead, dead, dead.

Absolutely correct. But I think he’s skirting round the issue. These days, I would never claim to review anything, as I think the terminology itself is outmoded. (I also take issue with his contention that even dull criticism is better than no criticism as all. No. No, it isn’t. On a basic level, it can stop people from listening to the music altogether.)

I guess one difference between Ian and myself is he sees music writing as a hobby:

So why do I still write music criticism?

(A) Money: Not much money and not enough to justify the hours I put into it but it’s a hobby. The fact that it makes any money at all is a bonus. Yet I have gotten a little accustomed to this bonus. I have a separate account for these bonus dollars and I occasionally look at it and think: ‘I’m gonna buy myself something nice with that one day.’ Maybe life coaching?

To me, it’s life itself. Shouldn’t be perhaps, but is. I have no sense of perspective when it comes to my writing. (Incidentally, I think Ian sells himself short here, and he shouldn’t. You shouldn’t ever apologise for your passions.)

His point C is very true, of course.

(C) Freedom: When no one is reading and the pay is lousy, I’m encouraged to try things. The stone cold truth is: I’ve never been more free as a music writer. Nor as inspired to write differently. It’s virtually demanded of me. Novelty is one of the last gimmicks music criticism has left. This should be a golden age.

Anyway. Here’s why I think he’s avoiding the main point. Here are my current Top 5 Reasons Why I Still Write About Music.

1. Burnt Palms

2. Manors


3. Tunabunny

 ‘SLACKJAWED’ in its entire fiery entirety. LISTEN TO IT! NOW!!

4. Katie Got Bandz

5. Morrissey

To paraphrase the much-loved and missed former lecturer in KMB003 (Sex Drugs Rock N Roll), Steve Dillon:

“Always keep music central in the conversation about music”

This is a totally fun and well-presented article around the same topic, written a few years ago by Australian music writer Elmo Keep.

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