Random Play by Graham Reid

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Random Play: Nothing, if not critical

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  • Finn Higgins,

    Finn...the thing is, as Russell implied too, these critics in this case were as integral to the punk explosion as any musician was.

    I'm well aware of that, and in all honesty that's more something that makes me a bit distrustful of the punk explosion than trusting of over-excitable criticism. Invective is almost invariably entertaining, but it's also lazy as fuck: it's very easy to claim that The Right Motown Songs and The Right Punk Songs are the only recordings you need ever own, but actually very hard to back up that statement with a solid argument if you know much about music.

    Unfortunately the audience for those kinds of statements frequently doesn't know much about music, so I'd tend to see it as more than a little irresponsible.

    I'm not that not being a musician excludes one from having any passion about music. I don't mind somebody telling me something may well be crap. Viva le critics I say, including the snarly ones.....

    I can live with critics, snarly ones included. Sometimes I get a good laugh out of reading them. But what I dislike is the air of authority that criticism lends itself, the idea that the ability to produce interesting prose on the topic of music somehow translates to having opinions that are actually worth considering.

    I value punk on a musical level because it did a fantastic job of removing English rock music's head from its own arse. But I dislike it because it instead inserted it nice and hard up the arse of a bunch of critics and media outlets instead, which I'm not sure is an improvement. Which is the worse example of musical arrogance: A bunch of nobs writing hour-long concept pieces while wearing capes, or a bunch of musically-illiterate snot-noses claiming that everything that has come before them isn't even worthy of the ink in their pens?

    Wellington • Since Apr 2007 • 209 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    but it's also lazy as fuck: it's very easy to claim that The Right Motown Songs and The Right Punk Songs are the only recordings you need ever own, but actually very hard to back up that statement with a solid argument if you know much about music.

    they don't need to back it up...it was intended as an irreverent, over the top, one liner....that it was said was enough. It was not a profundity.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    or a bunch of musically-illiterate snot-noses claiming that everything that has come before them isn't even worthy of the ink in their pens?

    Frankly, much of my favourite music comes from people with that attitude

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Finn Higgins,

    Frankly, much of my favourite music comes from people with that attitude

    Likewise. As I said, I'll take it from musicians, but not from critics. For a musician having strong opinions about music is, in effect, like having an immune system. What you let in tends to come out in what you do, and if you don't care passionately enough about music to hate a whole lot of stuff then you probably won't play what you do like with any real passion either.

    But critics? What do they have to offer from an attitude of deliberate ignorance of and ambivalence towards whole swathes of music, other than communicating that attitude on to their public? I'm all for the promotion of giving a shit about your music when it comes to people who play it, but utterly against the promotion or glorification of musical ignorance by people who don't do anything but listen...

    Wellington • Since Apr 2007 • 209 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    To be honest Finn, I don't quite understand what you are trying to say? No-one has the right to an opinion about music, apart from musicians? Is that it?

    Maybe it's just me, its a freaking hot day, I've had two beers and I may be a bit slow on the pickup

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    I'm all for the promotion of giving a shit about your music when it comes to people who play it, but utterly against the promotion or glorification of musical ignorance by people who don't do anything but listen...

    I recall hearing a visting Charlie Parker clone, whose name eludes me, being interviewed on a Sydney radio station. His repertoire consisted entirely of interpretations of existing tunes, the show-stopper being a drawn-out free-jazz version of the Doors' Light My Fire. Jim Morrison, however, was treated to a lengthy diatribe. While it was fine to appropriate his work, he was entirely devoid of any musical talent. So there.

    I reckon that Sturgeon's Law ("90% of Everything is Crap") applies to musicians just as much as it does to critics.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • dubmugga,

    Rob...just to be picky...post Motown debut was The Jacksons on Philadelphia International, produced by the mighty Gamble & Huff, followed by Goin' Places, both mighty fine. Destiny was the third.

    shot Si...

    learn something new everyday and now if you don't mind i got some soul searching to do...

    ...nah make that seeking ;)

    the back of your mind • Since Nov 2006 • 257 posts Report Reply

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