Criticism in Review

Severenth
Severenth

We hate criticizing someone we love …

I admit that I especially hate to criticize the work of artists. I know how difficult it is for them to write and record. They give blood & sweat for their art…

Then we come along and dash their hopes …

But, you [and they] must remember that  we are required to be judgemental … we are expected to criticize.

We must… Why? Because, as Aristotle once said, “The best judge of a feast is the guest… Not the cook.”

And, in this context, I don’t want you to think of ‘critiscim‘ as finding defects, exposing inadequacies, indicating errors, nitpicking and pettifogging.

No, what I mean by ‘criticism‘ here is that we should discuss the work and explore it properly…  to ascertain if it is challenging & interesting, useful & fun.

Also, I think we have an important duty   — as rock writers — we need to ask one vital question:  “Does it work?

How often do we criticize the work of the artists we love? Not nearly enough — if you’re honest about it. And that is why Consequence Of Sound, Stereogum , The Line Of Best Fit and Drowned In Sound [and others] are so well respected. Because they offer their readership informed criticism.

So here are eight ways to explore work critically, without being too negative:

Chemicals of Democracy
Chemicals of Democracy

* Was the recording or performance worth spending your time & money on?
* What kind of people will like it? Why?
* Did it bring you pleasure? If so, describe how it did. If not — why not?
* How does it compare with other contemporary work in the same genre?
* If the artist claims influences or inspiration from others, what is the main difference between their work and the work of their heroes?
* What do you think the artist set out to achieve when they began the project? Having established that, try to speculate if they achieved their ambition
* Is the music or the artist’s approach innovative? Or do you think it is unoriginal? Explain why
* Finally, what was your immediate reaction to the sounds? Were you excited or disappointed? Euphoric or bored? Explore your feelings and try to put them into words

Any other tips you’d like to share? We would love to hear your thoughts on twitter @rockpencon

Words & Images @neilmach 2016 ©
Neil Mach is editor of RAW RAMP MAGAZINE
Member of the European News Agency, Music Industry Forum, Music Industry Network and regular blogger and contributor to several sites

Would you like to pen an article?
We are especially interested in hearing from you if you are:

* Editors and sub-editors — Any suggestions you can offer aspiring rock writers ? What kind of submissions please you? What are the most frequent & common errors that you see?

* New writers — Do you feel supported, well-connected and part of a big happy family? Or do you feel lonely, unsupported, and struggling to get things right?

* Established writers — How have things changed since you started writing for rock music? In your experience, are the things easier now or more difficult? What improvements and/or developments have made / could make your life easier as a rock music journalist?

Send your article to info @ rockpencon. co.uk — we’ll get it up on our site and share it on our networks

 

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