Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Lament for Music Critics

Please stop overthinking everything. Thanks. I don't mean to single this critic out but I was reading Joshua Love's review for Laura Marling's new disc, A Creature I Don't Know, on Pitchfork and his focus of the review seemed to be very trivial. Then I read the Pitchfork review by the same author for Alas I Cannot Swim, which released in February 2008 and he focused on the exact same things! He said in both reviews that because Laura Marling writes lyrics that are so "beyond her years," it's a possibility that her charm as an artist will dissipate after "those years catch up to her" - when she gets older. Another theme that seemed to be present in both reviews is the fact that when you listen to Marling's lyrics, you're not sure what time period it is because she never mentions pop culture references or "clues" to determine when this song is taking place.
Exhibit A:
"Laura Marling's music feels timeless. I don't mean "timeless" in the sense that people refer to, say, Adele or Duffy as timeless, when really they're really just evoking a very specific time that happens to be distant. Marling evokes other artists, too, but they're spread out over the past five decades of pop and rock, from Joni Mitchell, Fairport Convention, and Leonard Cohen to Fiona Apple, Tori Amos, and PJ Harvey. Still, her songs feel divorced from time, lacking clues or signposts to indicate whether her stories and scenes might be set 500 years ago or yesterday."
While I wholeheartedly agree that the artists he mentioned she's "evoking" is dead on, I really don't get why he continues to focus on these points I've just mentioned. I know that he's a CRITIC and of course he's going to be bias and mention the things he feels is important but I know that when I'm reviewing something I try to keep my focus on one thing: THE MUSIC and what I feel about THE ALBUM YOU'RE WRITING ABOUT. I'm not going to write about how this artist MIGHT BE in the future, if they'll flourish or squander, I write about how this specific album is and sometimes, I'll compare it to their previous works because I think an artists' discography shows their progression as an artist and if they've learned anything from previous albums, just kept it the same, etc. But I don't think it's necessary to be like, "I don't know, this chick is doing well now, with that Mumford & Sons tie and everything, but her time is almost UP! JUST YOU WAIT!" Come on, now.
It's not just this guy who does it though and if he ever see's this, I'll feel terrible but I couldn't help myself! It's more than half of critics out there who focus on their hang-ups with the artist rather than the album they're supposed to be writing about. It's annoying. I'm just getting tired of seeing it everywhere. It's okay to talk about it a little bit but don't make it the focus of your review. Write about what you're getting paid to write about - if you want to write a feature on this issue, feel free to do so LATER.


  1. Pitchfork writers fancy themselves smarter than the rest of us. Pay no mind. They were just unloved as children. ;)

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