I know people want to be nice, but I honestly believe honest reviews in music, and art etc. need to be written more often than just good ones. If you don’t like something, you should be able to explain why in a way that isnt insulting, but is more like “listen this isnt for me.”
I have a super difficult time with pop-punk, for example. It’s too often too white, too suburban, and too couched in it’s own history to be interesting to people who didn’t grow up with it.
But I feel like if I’m asked to review a pop-punk record, I should be allowed to critique it. Really get into the nitty-gritty of “What Doesn’t Work” and have that be just as important as people who do love it.
It follows then that when a record really surpasses it’s genre and begins to attract those outside of it’s scene, it’s that much more important. Nowadays everyone just wants good reviews. “If you don’t like it, don’t write about it.” Fine, I get it, we all want to be nice to each other.
But also, don’t we as artists want to be taken seriously? “Good” art has it’s lovers and it’s detractors. It’s divisive. That’s why it’s interesting.
If someone doesn’t like something, you can bet there’s probably someone out there who loves it. OR maybe the work is universally derided, and that’s also interesting! Maybe even moreinteresting.
For instance, recently everyone loved that record by Wild Pink that just came out. Upon release and the weeks leading up to it I only saw positive press. AOTY, Best Thing All Year ETC.
What are people supposed to do with that? Where is the article talking about how the whole album sounds like a ‘War on Drugs’ B-sides record? That’s not meant to be an insult, it’s just an opinion. Where’s the criticism? Not everything has to be great, because not everything is great.
I think what people deserve more than anything is a fair critique. “This isn’t for me” is just as valid as “I love this”. BUT both opinions should be out there so we know who to trust, and what voices are worth considering when it comes to choosing what to listen to.
But no one wants to publish bad press. We’re not advertisers tho, music reviewers, we’re supposed to be bastions of honest, intelligent criticism.
We don’t need to be all early aughts Pitchfork or Dan Ozzi when it comes to reviews, but we should be able to have a place to share thoughtful, considerate criticism.
This great article on The Baffler is what set off this whole rant, read it-it’s probably better than this: https://thebaffler.com/latest/in-praise-of-negative-reviews
I dont know if there is a point to this, but if anyone wants me to write a review about their music and have it possibly be a negative one hit me up. email@example.com