the usefulness of disliking music, as a writer or as a listener etc.

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Depends on the critic and the album. Sometimes for me it's a relief to dismiss something obviously execrable in a couple of pungent sentences -- and it's not lazy to construct a memorable dismissal!

yeah sure, its more just taking something youre lukewarm towards either way and exaggerating either way for sake of making a statement or differentiating yrself from consensus or w/e

@some dude - i think having a specific lens through which you view music is helpful but theres still stuff thats going to get 'shaped' by the critical dialogue in ways you might only partially agree w/

є(٥_ ٥)э, Wednesday, 7 December 2011 03:14 (ten years ago) link

that...is kind of phrased in a way that is empirical and correct and impossible to disagree with but i also have no idea how it actually relates to or contradicts what i was saying

sandbox banned socks (Mr. Stevenson #2), Wednesday, 7 December 2011 03:25 (ten years ago) link

i guess my philosophy to consuming music press/criticism is very "don't believe everything you read" -- i take other people's word for it that their opinions are generally presented honestly and are based at least somewhat on the reality of the music they are writing about, but i also know that they don't have my ears and that i may or may not care about how their ears hear things or whether they've learned or trained themselves to hear the things i listen for.

sandbox banned socks (Mr. Stevenson #2), Wednesday, 7 December 2011 03:28 (ten years ago) link

Lamp w/r/t exaggerating your reaction, I kind of see it less as an exaggeration and more of an eventual buildup, where the overwhelming same-ness becomes increasingly aggravating - so its more a coping mechanism, not about "trying to be difft" or w/e

joey joe joe junior shabadoo, Wednesday, 7 December 2011 03:53 (ten years ago) link

i tend not to feel much desire to play up my antipathy for something that i just kind of know isn't for me -- if it's just constantly in my face every day like drake songs on the radio then i naturally come around to a stronger negative reaction, whereas something like a$ap rocky where i feel indifferent to a couple of youtube plays and just see the name thrown around a lot but don't have much occasion or need to contend with the music further and let it grow on me (or let my dislike grow stronger) i'm kinda fine just not giving a shit either way.

sandbox banned socks (Mr. Stevenson #2), Wednesday, 7 December 2011 03:57 (ten years ago) link

well deejs intial qn seemed to be abt the value of writing negative criticism of stuff that you only sorta or weakly dislike solely or at least largely to provide a tonic to the dominant viewpoint 'out there' atm and like, ok you have your ears but i have to assume that theres still times where you dont feel strongly one way or the other about s.thing and you kinda made it seem like you have just this strict pass/fail system idk mb you do

so my point is like its great to have this personal framework through which yr analyzing stuff but it doesnt innoculate you from this problem, you still have to deal with having stuff placed in context in other ppls opinions

blah blah blah (є(٥_ ٥)э), Wednesday, 7 December 2011 03:58 (ten years ago) link

Yah sure I dont disagree with that

joey joe joe junior shabadoo, Wednesday, 7 December 2011 03:59 (ten years ago) link

@al, if anything, radio play makes me more positively inclined to like something I was lukewarm on. (until burnout) but thats not a rule or anything

joey joe joe junior shabadoo, Wednesday, 7 December 2011 04:01 (ten years ago) link

xps @deej: sure, totally, i mean i think everyone (or at least ive) had that xp where the first time you read abt how great X is its like, hmmmm idk, i didnt think it was so great. and then by the tenth fawning feature X is like the worst crime against music imaginable or w/e. i guess that feeling/xp was implied in using 'cornerned' you can get surrounded by this kind of stuff and mb start to overemphasize it idk

blah blah blah (є(٥_ ٥)э), Wednesday, 7 December 2011 04:01 (ten years ago) link

so my point is like its great to have this personal framework through which yr analyzing stuff but it doesnt innoculate you from this problem, you still have to deal with having stuff placed in context in other ppls opinions

wait what is the "problem" that i'm insufficiently sheltered from like a child out in the cold? the horrifying unshakable reality that other people don't share my opinions?

sandbox banned socks (Mr. Stevenson #2), Wednesday, 7 December 2011 04:03 (ten years ago) link

well sure radio play can help bring me around on stuff -- i mean i can name several drake songs that i do enjoy on some level, even if he's usually not the best thing about them or i can chalk it up to stockholm syndrome, fact remains that i do understand the appeal and know which songs actually are ok as far as i'm concerned

sandbox banned socks (Mr. Stevenson #2), Wednesday, 7 December 2011 04:05 (ten years ago) link

thats a weird way to read that post!!! (xp)

blah blah blah (є(٥_ ٥)э), Wednesday, 7 December 2011 04:07 (ten years ago) link

sorry but i mean...yes i realize that sticking to your guns and believing in your ears is not the same thing as creating your own reality that exists in a vacuum. that seems totally ok and not contradictory afaict?

sandbox banned socks (Mr. Stevenson #2), Wednesday, 7 December 2011 04:11 (ten years ago) link

::shrugs:: theres no contradiction, its more that you didnt really seem to addressing the threads general qn except to say its not a problem for you, which for enough

blah blah blah (є(٥_ ٥)э), Wednesday, 7 December 2011 04:32 (ten years ago) link

yeah admittedly i came along to this thread pretty late and there was a lot that i haven't fully digested or considered

but to go back to one of deej's questions in the op:

If not, if I'm just supposed to push the artists I like in a positive way, how does one ever get an idea of the values that i do like unless there is a negative contrast? doesn't too much positivity just come off as PR?

i think it's great to be able to write lots of positive AND negative reviews to represent the full spectrum of your likes and dislikes, but ultimately shouldn't those reviews stand on their own and make sense to people whether they've read you before or not? obviously someone who's enthusiastic about EVERYTHING comes off like a shill but it seems besides the point or counterproductive to find opportunities to go negative just to avoid that.

sandbox banned socks (Mr. Stevenson #2), Wednesday, 7 December 2011 04:40 (ten years ago) link

i mean in these belt-tightening times there ARE publications with limited space sometimes do day "let's dedicate what few reviews we can run to spotlighting good stuff and not panning and attacking things" and i know for some critics that seems like the most craven unethical thing in the world but in most cases i'm fine with that -- i would rather exhaust every opportunity to write about the things i like AND THEN find the time to diss some shit

sandbox banned socks (Mr. Stevenson #2), Wednesday, 7 December 2011 04:43 (ten years ago) link

sometimes do say

sandbox banned socks (Mr. Stevenson #2), Wednesday, 7 December 2011 04:43 (ten years ago) link

You know I find it really depressing that someone would spend energy writing a negative review of anything. There's so much beauty in the world to focus on.

Todd

realness, just realness, Wednesday, 7 December 2011 04:48 (ten years ago) link

Thttp://dl.dropbox.com/u/9627011/photos/cool.gifdd feels awful familiar

sandbox banned socks (Mr. Stevenson #2), Wednesday, 7 December 2011 04:54 (ten years ago) link

well the thing that im... i guess interested in is the space btw outright love and hate and the way my own sense of the dominant narrative can start to push my opinion, w/o my willing it, towards one of those two poles. certainly the way i think/write/analyze music is a lot less formal than yours, but i think i do have a strong pov as well and i find myself in the place deej writes abt often enough for it to be p familiar.

most of the time im not going to get paid to write abt stuff i dont care abt and i dont have the time (lol) or the energy to write abt stuff that im not super passionate abt but i do think there should be space if you want to explore places where you dont agree w/ the way the larger conversation is shaping up. like rn just running through the eoy thread im a little queasy w/ how '2011' is being presented... idk this is all so scattered, and thats a bigger qn than just 'is meek mills sorta overrated' or w/e

blah blah blah (є(٥_ ٥)э), Wednesday, 7 December 2011 05:10 (ten years ago) link

sometimes i like comparing albums i like w/ similar albums that i think try (and fail) to do similar things. so disliking stuff as a function of liking stuff.

Mordy, Wednesday, 7 December 2011 05:31 (ten years ago) link

I'm a fairly compartmentalised thinker I suspect, so I tend even on a shorthand emotional level to distinguish between the build-up of aggravating writing about something I find lukewarm and the fact of the music being lukewarm.

Maybe this is different for other people, but for me the intermingling doesn't occur in my head but on the page, or more specifically in the heads of "readers" (i.e. actual readers, friends, ILM posters): it's difficult for people who really like a piece of music to even perceive, let alone appreciate, that distinction, it's all received as an out-and-out attack on the music's quality.

Tim F, Wednesday, 7 December 2011 05:32 (ten years ago) link

lex you know I love you but you of all people saying this is just O_O

i don't get how this is out of character.

my position is pretty much the same as al's - rejecting the media herd mentality ≠ enclosing yourself in a hermetically sealed vacuum where only your own taste counts.

cf this truthbomb from maura - http://maura.tumblr.com/post/13412214038/what-makes-a-good-music-critic

Having your ears open at the right time (when listening to music, whether to the wholly unfamiliar or the overly trodden-upon) and closed at the right time (when wandering through the deafening bowels of hive minds).

lex pretend, Wednesday, 7 December 2011 09:30 (ten years ago) link

i kinda feel that there's little point writing a really negative piece of an act that no one cares/knows about, so inevitably most of the panning i write has an element of reacting against some sort of hivemind wrongness elsewhere, whether that's "david guetta dominates the pop chart BUT he is still dreadful" or "critics go nuts for the weeknd BUT he is still totally overrated"

lex pretend, Wednesday, 7 December 2011 09:34 (ten years ago) link

must admit i'm struggling to really see what the problem of this thread is, none of it strikes me as a problem at all!

lex pretend, Wednesday, 7 December 2011 09:34 (ten years ago) link

no one here but you thinks they can be entirely independent of context, because its a ludicrous & untenable position

joey joe joe junior shabadoo, Wednesday, 7 December 2011 09:43 (ten years ago) link

do you even read my posts?

rejecting the media herd mentality ≠ enclosing yourself in a hermetically sealed vacuum where only your own taste counts

lex pretend, Wednesday, 7 December 2011 09:43 (ten years ago) link

the context set by critics and the media is the least helpful context of all

lex pretend, Wednesday, 7 December 2011 09:44 (ten years ago) link

i don't get how this is out of character.

B/c you routinely get aggrieved by positive media coverage of artists you dislike?

jaymc, Wednesday, 7 December 2011 14:07 (ten years ago) link

i kinda feel that there's little point writing a really negative piece of an act that no one cares/knows about, so inevitably most of the panning i write has an element of reacting against some sort of hivemind wrongness elsewhere, whether that's "david guetta dominates the pop chart BUT he is still dreadful" or "critics go nuts for the weeknd BUT he is still totally overrated"

Yes, but you've got to be careful to review the record, not the reviews of the record - and the statement about "reacting against some sort of hivemind wrongness" suggests that's not always the case.

ItHappens, Wednesday, 7 December 2011 14:09 (ten years ago) link

i kinda feel that there's little point writing a really negative piece of an act that no one cares/knows about, so inevitably most of the panning i write has an element of reacting against some sort of hivemind wrongness elsewhere, whether that's "david guetta dominates the pop chart BUT he is still dreadful" or "critics go nuts for the weeknd BUT he is still totally overrated"

― lex pretend, Wednesday, December 7, 2011 4:34 AM (4 hours ago) Bookmark Permalink

some of my personal highlights as a music critic have been when i was put in a position to review something by an obscure and/or local artist and lashed out really mercilessly at how aggravated i was by having to spend 50 minutes with their awful music. obviously that kind of thing can verge on cruel and pointless but sometimes i feel like it's worthwhile for writer, reader and perhaps even the artist to write a review that basically says "you didn't hear this tree fall in the forest but goddamn lemme tell y'all about this shitty tree."

sandbox banned socks (Mr. Stevenson #2), Wednesday, 7 December 2011 14:14 (ten years ago) link

you can say "well look in different channels" you can say "well look in different channels" but there's also something of a media-herd mentality; i mean, everywhere from Vibe to Complex to Fader to Pitchfork covers / discusses the phenomenon of ASAP Rocky

I wouldn't necessarily say "look in different channels" - but I

april wowak, Wednesday, 7 December 2011 14:19 (ten years ago) link

in fact i would almost say that we NEED more willingness to write/publish negative reviews of albums by new or unknown artists. i feel like as there are more and more people writing about more and more music, the 'keep it positive' cheerleader instinct has led to thousands upon thousands of totally unremarkable albums that could be (and usually are) fairly described as "critically acclaimed" or get/could get an 80+ score on metacritic because the only people bothering to talk about it are the fans, never the indifferent or the detractors.

xpost

sandbox banned socks (Mr. Stevenson #2), Wednesday, 7 December 2011 14:21 (ten years ago) link

you can say "well look in different channels" but there's also something of a media-herd mentality; i mean, everywhere from Vibe to Complex to Fader to Pitchfork covers / discusses the phenomenon of ASAP Rocky

I wouldn't necessarily say "look in different channels" - but I might "stop looking in channels" - if you're a critic well I guess you're going to end up hearing things anyway and if you're not a critic there's no rule that says you have to hear and have opinions on all the things written about

april wowak, Wednesday, 7 December 2011 14:24 (ten years ago) link

Oh man I want to tattoo some dude's post on the world.

I left my login in El Sandboxo, Wednesday, 7 December 2011 14:25 (ten years ago) link

I find it increasingly difficult to hear music properly if there have already been things written about it, especially anything strongly negative or positive. I tend to only read something about a record once I've already heard it

april wowak, Wednesday, 7 December 2011 14:25 (ten years ago) link

it's weird to think about how as a teenager, i'd frequently get an issue of spin or rolling stone or cmj or alternative press and read like EVERY SINGLE review in the issue, dozens of albums of which i'd heard at most a handful, and even now i'm still getting around to hearing albums a review made me curious about 15 years ago. but now, like april, i have a limited interest in reading about something i haven't heard at least some of, because we now live in a world where it's almost as easy to hear it as it is to read about it.

sandbox banned socks (Mr. Stevenson #2), Wednesday, 7 December 2011 14:30 (ten years ago) link

some of my personal highlights as a music critic have been when i was put in a position to review something by an obscure and/or local artist and lashed out really mercilessly at how aggravated i was by having to spend 50 minutes with their awful music. obviously that kind of thing can verge on cruel and pointless but sometimes i feel like it's worthwhile for writer, reader and perhaps even the artist to write a review that basically says "you didn't hear this tree fall in the forest but goddamn lemme tell y'all about this shitty tree."

I find these reviews can be useful and worthwhile, but only in cases where the reviewer's bias is so carefully put out there and explicitly stated that it is also equally clear that people who have a different bias might read the review and think "best! tree! EVAH!"

Sometimes being reviled by a critic I have no respect for is one of the biggest recommendations for an artist I'd otherwise never have heard of. I've discovered some of my fave artists that way.

Wayland Smithee, Wednesday, 7 December 2011 14:32 (ten years ago) link

what's a reviewer's bias?

Lord Sotosyn, Wednesday, 7 December 2011 14:34 (ten years ago) link

Yes, but you've got to be careful to review the record, not the reviews of the record - and the statement about "reacting against some sort of hivemind wrongness" suggests that's not always the case.

kind of depends what sort of piece it is surely? if it's a straight-up review, absolutely; if it's a broader thinkpiece, obv you have to be careful to engage with the music as it stands but you'll also be bringing in wider issues about uhh the critical climate or wvs.

i've always most enjoyed reading about things after i've heard/seen them - often i'll avoid all writing about an album until after i've taken it in (partly these days that's also just in case i have to write about it myself). whenever i get back from the cinema the first thing i do is go and read all the reviews i've avoided!

lex pretend, Wednesday, 7 December 2011 14:34 (ten years ago) link

yeah i mean...some critics just push everything through such a specific and subjective set of values that it's pretty easy to pick up where you don't trust them (i.e. guys who write a negative review of a hip-hop album that makes it clear they hate pretty much all hip-hop except for these 5 token 'intelligent' records every year). but when i write really negative things i try to approach it kind of clinically and explain why it fails on a fundamental technical level, the way a movie critic would rip apart a movie where shots are constantly out of focus and actors are stumbling over lines. (xpost)

sandbox banned socks (Mr. Stevenson #2), Wednesday, 7 December 2011 14:36 (ten years ago) link

I mean, I know some of us are more willing to be surprised by joy than others – I can list plenty of examples of artists who've suddenly recorded an impressive album after a not so impressive run. When I was an editor I'd sometimes encourage writers to listen to a record they wouldn't have downloaded/bought on their own just so I can read an entirely fresh take (also, you have to trust the writer to not file a two-dimensional review).

Lord Sotosyn, Wednesday, 7 December 2011 14:39 (ten years ago) link

but now, like april, i have a limited interest in reading about something i haven't heard at least some of, because we now live in a world where it's almost as easy to hear it as it is to read about it.

― sandbox banned socks (Mr. Stevenson #2), Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Its only partly that, its also that if its a thing people are talking about a lot - or is...'important' then I feel like I can't really hear it for myself, I can't divorce it from all that - and then they might be the kinds of thing that people will also ask my opinion about - but I probably wouldn't have a very strong opinion and the opinion would really just be distilled from other people. It feels too dutiful that somehow I should hear certain things - almost for the sake of having an opinion - if I was a critic then yes maybe, but as a person I shy away from that

april wowak, Wednesday, 7 December 2011 14:41 (ten years ago) link

yeah...i imagine one of the biggest challengers for a music editor would be to try and get some writers out of their comfort zone without ending without ending up with a review where they just seem clearly out of their element in a bad way. (xpost)

sandbox banned socks (Mr. Stevenson #2), Wednesday, 7 December 2011 14:42 (ten years ago) link

yeah...i imagine one of the biggest challengers for a music editor would be to try and get some writers out of their comfort zone without ending without ending up with a review where they just seem clearly out of their element in a bad way.

i wish more publications would adopt the multi-voice panellist format of the jukebox - i think that's one of the best ways of doing that while also avoiding the problem of an out-of-their-element review standing as that publication's "official" line on an album.

lex pretend, Wednesday, 7 December 2011 14:44 (ten years ago) link

Yeah I love that aspect of the jukebox, but I think it would get cumbrsome when trying to tackle a full album.

I left my login in El Sandboxo, Wednesday, 7 December 2011 14:46 (ten years ago) link

yeah...that's one of the weird things about Pitchfork these days is it feels like there's so much maneuvering to publish a review by one author that 'speaks for' the whole staff that feels distinct from the classic "Rolling Stone editor decides how many stars an album gets" kind of top-down decision-making. (xpost)

sandbox banned socks (Mr. Stevenson #2), Wednesday, 7 December 2011 14:46 (ten years ago) link

Maybe not putting it that well - but I look at the EOY lists and see Drake and Radiohead and Fleet Foxes and James Blake and all these people and even if I wanted to hear any of these people I don't know if I would be able to hear them people 'for myself' because I've already got everyone elses opinion about them whether I like it or not

april wowak, Wednesday, 7 December 2011 14:47 (ten years ago) link

i actually HAVE an idea for multiple-perspectives-on-an-album that i've wanted to try out for a while but just haven't had the opportunity or the resources to put it into action. it would definitely be trickier and more delicate than with singles, yeah. (xpost)

sandbox banned socks (Mr. Stevenson #2), Wednesday, 7 December 2011 14:47 (ten years ago) link

i don't see any reason a panellist format for an album couldn't work - but you'd have to untie it from the release date. which would probably result in better thinking and writing ANYWAY - i can't think of a single "quick get this review of the new lady gaga album up within an hour of hearing it for the first time" piece that has been worth a damn, anywhere. i did an off-the-cuff thing on the day i first heard the rihanna album and i already look back and cringe about my snap judgments.

#sonotgonnahappen though :(

lex pretend, Wednesday, 7 December 2011 14:50 (ten years ago) link

I think album reviews, these days, are little more than a sop, something for advertisers to place ads against. But the money that they bring in is what pays for the time and effort and good writer can put into a worthwhile piece. Someone writing for free likely can't devote several days to chasing down the interviews and researching the best possible story.

― ItHappens, Friday, December 9, 2011 9:26 AM (3 hours ago) Bookmark Permalink

lets not pretend it was better prior to the internet. i honestly thought 99% of music writing was awful; it was the internet that helped me find writers who i felt were actually talking about things in a way i could relate to

joey joe joe junior shabadoo, Friday, 9 December 2011 18:46 (ten years ago) link

I C+P'd the wrong thing i think. oh well

joey joe joe junior shabadoo, Friday, 9 December 2011 18:46 (ten years ago) link

It also helps that nowadays a music blogger doesn't have to describe the music very well: they can just give you a link and you can listen to it for yourself.

o. nate, Friday, 9 December 2011 18:50 (ten years ago) link

xpost - Wouldn't disagree with that at all. I'm not sticking up for puff interviews and crap "humour" and cursory album reviews. Just for the things that paid media does do better - which is give time and resources.

ItHappens, Friday, 9 December 2011 23:33 (ten years ago) link

lets not pretend it was better prior to the internet. i honestly thought 99% of music writing was awful; it was the internet that helped me find writers who i felt were actually talking about things in a way i could relate to

implication here is that you actually think music writing is better (ie, less than 99% awful) on the internet...? this is baffling.

Shakey Mo Collier, Friday, 9 December 2011 23:38 (ten years ago) link

i think he means there's more good stuff and/or the good stuff is easier to find, even if the overall percentage of good stuff is lower....which is almost undeniably true for MOST mediums and artforms post-internet

some dude (Mr. Stevenson #2), Saturday, 10 December 2011 00:01 (ten years ago) link

bingo

joey joe joe junior shabadoo, Saturday, 10 December 2011 00:06 (ten years ago) link

I agree 100% and it links up nicely with my answer to the thread premise. With so much content to choose from, it can be easier to zero in on specific stuff you like (popular or whatever) and not feel like yr "missing out" by not engaging with the charts or whatever because you've got too much other stuff to check out that you're more likely to enjoy. It's different for critics, maybe, (I'm not one) in that they have more of an obligation to engage with the charts.. Maybe obligation is too strong a word, I just mean to some extent it's part of the job description, right?

moonbop, Saturday, 10 December 2011 01:53 (ten years ago) link

Anyway, as a listener, being more "demanding" of music has been good for me, I guess. Life is short.

moonbop, Saturday, 10 December 2011 01:54 (ten years ago) link

It also helps that nowadays a music blogger doesn't have to describe the music very well: they can just give you a link and you can listen to it for yourself.

yeah i'm in agreement with deej that 7 or so years ago, the best music writing was to be found online, but these days that's only rarely the case tbh

degas-dirty monet (lex pretend), Saturday, 10 December 2011 11:09 (ten years ago) link

disagree with that...but i'd say nowadays the best music writing isn't formalised, it's discussion. like here. everyone has a piece.

SandboxGarda (HI IT'S RONAN), Saturday, 10 December 2011 11:41 (ten years ago) link

yes we fucking get it already ronan, you despise music criticism and think it's a completely worthless profession. now stfu

degas-dirty monet (lex pretend), Saturday, 10 December 2011 11:55 (ten years ago) link

is there someone with you as you post?

SandboxGarda (HI IT'S RONAN), Saturday, 10 December 2011 11:58 (ten years ago) link

yeah i'm in agreement with deej that 7 or so years ago, the best music writing was to be found online, but these days that's only rarely the case tbh

Do you mean online as in unpaid lex? I'm not being pedantic as in "The Guardian is online too you know" - more that there's a fair amount of criticism which is both paid but also obviously "online" writing with varying degrees of similarity to the print media version.

My favourite piece of music writing in the last few years is probably Tom's column here:

http://pitchfork.com/features/poptimist/7848-poptimist-32/

Which is sorta in the halfway camp of being music writing that is paid, but probably also couldn't exist except in a post-blog world - not only literally in the sense that Tom was and partly remains an unpaid online music writer (and one of the best or even the best, IMO), but more in the sense of speaking to and and from and about and in the style of online free music writing and discussion, such that it seems like a really happy accident that there's a payment for the writer out of it.

There's no necessary distinction between Poptimist and Popular, beyond the fact that:

(a) one is paid and one is not; and

(b) Popular has an amazing post-publication collaborative culture of elucidation amongst (many of) its readers (which I've always admired from the sidelines), something which theoretically could happen with a paid gig but I've not seen any examples of.

But then Tom is pretty much the ideal of the online dabbler, so is hardly representative as such.

Tim F, Saturday, 10 December 2011 12:43 (ten years ago) link

Tom is an exceptional case: what separates him from the vast majority of self-publishers is that paying publishers also want to publish him. I strongly suspect in the pre-internet age he'd have been one of those people who did occasional essayism alongside a day job. The internet just meant he didn't have to hustle for the chance to write those essays - people came to him.

ItHappens, Saturday, 10 December 2011 12:58 (ten years ago) link

well yeah i meant unpaid, or not "professional" or whatever. (please don't be pedantic with that terminology, i'm hungover.) there's no substantive difference between those and tom's guardian column either.

for all that lots of professional outlets are trying to replicate it, i can't see them ever matching that culture of community discussion - it's a fundamental structural problem, most commenters on the guardian seem to take a ronanesque YOU'RE ALL SHIT AND SO IS THIS MUSIC line as their default starting point

degas-dirty monet (lex pretend), Saturday, 10 December 2011 12:59 (ten years ago) link

i'm making points i believe in, which are not actually targeted at you at all, but i suppose you enjoy roaring at people online so go ahead, i wouldn't worry about how it makes you appear.

anyway i think with online newspaper articles conceptually it all feels a bit odd now, it's a pretty awkward position for the writer to be in to have to write simultaneously for an audience that knows nothing about what you're talking about and one that may know anything/everything and wants to criticise the paper for being out of touch, the internet makes potential next door neighbours of everyone.

i suppose there are ways around this, but it's not easy. i think newer websites have this problem too, resident advisor obviously.

at a certain point though i just question the need for a central voice...if it's just attempting to speak to a group of people who are too disparate.

largely though i think the culture of discussion that exists away from the paid or trad outlets is better, it's stronger and it's worth more and above all you don't have to do the job for a living to be part of it.

none of which i think is negative at all on my part...it's actually just good that there's a democracy there now in my opinion.

SandboxGarda (HI IT'S RONAN), Saturday, 10 December 2011 13:17 (ten years ago) link

xpost

Yeah I wasn't trying to nitpick! I think it's interesting to try and place stuff like Tom's work (in its multiple guises) within this discussion.

Mark Sinker and Frank Kogan are immediate further examples of writers whose work it seems to me both can work very well in the context of "ordinary" (post)print journalism but also exceeds beyond the boundaries of what it can allow.

For Frank this was in part solved in the pre-internet age through his zine. He once kindly sent me a few copies of Why Music Sucks, and they're amazing (and contain their own pre-internet version of the Popular community). That approach obviously has its drawbacks in terms of reach, but they're beautiful artifacts.

It strikes me that the biggest shift from the early 00s to now in terms of online music writing is simply the increased sense of disposability - at the point of reception rather than creation. When I first started reading and writing blogs in 2000 my sense of the approach was that you'd really follow the blogs, read everything in them, read the archives (which usually weren't voluminous in 2000, but anyway) - these were works.

Whereas even the best blogs now feel much more disposable and forgettable, and so does professional media online, because the mode of consumption has changed in line with social media - tweet and facebook links and sharing and the like. I feel that our consumption of online media has grown even less moored to the culture of personality of the creator than it used to be. In fact appropriately the most recent and final Poptimist column is about this in part - Tom talks about how using the internet used to be like diving, whereas the "surfing" metaphor only became apt after Web 2.0.

Increasing disposability at the level of production - MP3 blogs etc - add to this, but I think that shift would have occurred in any event.

So it's not surprising that the unpaid online writing which seems most memorable and valuable in retrospect* often is that which is quite formalistic, or in general has strategies for making of itself an artifact less easily subsumed by its (inherent) internet-virality.

*which is different from what is the most valuable music writing in the moment.

Tim F, Saturday, 10 December 2011 13:30 (ten years ago) link

disagree with that...but i'd say nowadays the best music writing isn't formalised, it's discussion. like here. everyone has a piece.

― SandboxGarda (HI IT'S RONAN), Saturday, 10 December 2011

This presumes there is a 'best fit' with a singular audience. Informal discussion/board type stuff is great yes, but for a particular audience or type of person. You aren't the only kind of audience, what is better for that kind of person, isn't "the best" per se

More formal work is a better fit for different kinds of audiences (possibly most audiences) - obviously if the 'right' writer is being read (often not the case but thats another issue). If my parents, or the people next door, or most of the people in the cafe over the road wanted to read about something - a formal piece in a publication is a better fit for them imo then jumping into forums - which are often really alienating and not particularly helpful especially if you don't know that much about a particular thing.

this is all pretty tangential to the thread now - I think the main thing is, just because a particular thing isn't proving useful to a particular person - it doesn't invalidate its purpose, far from it

april wowak, Saturday, 10 December 2011 13:43 (ten years ago) link

it's a pretty awkward position for the writer to be in to have to write simultaneously for an audience that knows nothing about what you're talking about and one that may know anything/everything and wants to criticise the paper for being out of touch

This

dog latin, Saturday, 10 December 2011 13:47 (ten years ago) link

Thats exactly the thing - multiple and disparate audiences

april wowak, Saturday, 10 December 2011 13:52 (ten years ago) link

xpost i didn't really mean just here specifically or just forums. this place was practically built on the idea that conversations and personal experiences about music are the most important thing tho...and i largely agree with that still.

More formal work is a better fit for different kinds of audiences (possibly most audiences) - obviously if the 'right' writer is being read (often not the case but thats another issue). If my parents, or the people next door, or most of the people in the cafe over the road wanted to read about something - a formal piece in a publication is a better fit for them imo then jumping into forums - which are often really alienating and not particularly helpful especially if you don't know that much about a particular thing.

this is true but it's less and less true all the time, don't you think? it is a huge tangent - how do you measure the usefulness of an opinion or argument anyway? how does a paid site say "we're doing well here"...

online these days it's probably hits, which is another huge tangent.

SandboxGarda (HI IT'S RONAN), Saturday, 10 December 2011 13:59 (ten years ago) link


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