Your Take: The Critic’s Role
Way back in 2003, Toby Keith recorded a song called “The Critic” for his Shock’n Y’all album:
“He did a 5 star column on a band you never heard
He did a bluegrass review without an unkind word
He thought it was time to ask his boss for a raise
His boss said, “I can’t even tell if anybody’s even readin’ your page
So he thought and he thought a little more
He caught a young hot star headed into town
And then he hid behind his typewriter and gunned the boy down
Here come the letters, the emails, the faxes
They raised him to 20 thousand dollars after taxes
He’s a happy critic yeah, he’s rollin’ in the dough”
Fast forward a decade and the questions of what role the critic plays and how important it is are still being debated–probably as it has been since the advent of critical writing itself. Bruce made a statement in our comments section: “The only critic I listen to is me. My taste in music and what I buy is for my own pleasure regardless of what some supposed expert says about it. I have never understood the arena of music critique. To think that one would choose what they like based upon another party’s thoughts is completely foreign to me.”
Jon weighed in as well: “A critic who thinks the job consists solely, or even mainly, of telling people whether she or he likes something doesn’t really understand the job. And someone who says that he or she pays no attention to critics because he or she doesn’t care whether anyone else likes something doesn’t really understand it, either.”
That statement begs a question: What’s your opinion on what the role of the music critic is or what it should be? Do you look to something in particular when you are reading about music you like to sway or not sway your opinion? Is there something in particular that you’ll read that will move you to break out your pocketbook and make a purchase related to a critic’s recommendation, or lack thereof?
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