B12 Solipsism

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Music Reviews in the 21st CE

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Adina Levin has some interesting things to say about new media and music in response to a Christopher Weingarten article that’s making the rounds.

Strangers in the Night

For instance:

A more interesting critique is that people who aren’t professional critics write like fans. In music blogs, “You can find out about new bands without cranky snarky stuff.” The jaded tone of the professional critic is a music-world analog to the news journalism “cult of the savvy” as described by Jay Rosen. In an attempt to be “objective”, news journalists adopt a savvy, cynical attitude that can keep them from seeing the real story – for example, when “horse race” coverage predominates over actually covering the differing records and policies of politicians. Internet-style journalists don’t pretend to be dispassionate and free of opinion. They disclose their beliefs and desires, and are more credible for it.
Now, simple-minded music fandom is not very interesting. Look at youtube or last.fm shoutbox comments and you can see fans saying unedifying things like “awesome song!” and “best solo evar!”. Educated fandom on the other hand, involves discussing the sound, emotion, influences, performances – from the perspective of someone who continues to be excited and moved by the music. It’s interesting that when musicians talk about their heroes, mentors, who they’re listening to, they sound like fans, not like jaded critics.
Weingarten alleges that there has been a loss of venues to explain *why* a piece of music is good or bad is nonsense – “google: band review” will often find informed and insightful reviews and opinions about pretty obscure acts. What is actually missing is is better tools and venues for fans to have intelligent discussion. Currently,

[From BookBlog » Blog Archive » Music critic curmudgeon tells blogs & twitter to get off his lawn - Adina Levin’s weblog. For conversation about books I’ve been reading, social software, and other stuff too. ]

(via Jay Rosen’s twitter feed, of all places)

For my own spin – I listen to much more new music now than I ever did. I came of age before the internet democratized everything but after the first wave of radio megacorps. In my home town, there wasn’t much on the radio that interested me so I’d find new music by word of mouth or by random chance, flipping through the vinyl records at Waterloo Records or wherever. A music lover has a hell of a lot more options now, but actually I still depend upon word of mouth to find new things, just that the sources are not limited to roommates or dudes at the record store.

Written by Seth Anderson

December 3rd, 2009 at 3:18 pm

Posted in Music

Tagged with ,

One Response to 'Music Reviews in the 21st CE'

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  1. One interesting thing for me is that social media enables if anything more sharing – using last.fm, twitter, blip and so on, I discover more music through friends than I used to in ordinary conversation. And by following musicians on Twitter, I get to hear their recommendations which are great. More depth and more sources. I don’t miss radio.

    Adina Levin

    7 Dec 09 at 1:10 am

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