Music criticism is, for the most part, terrible, vapid writing. It has to be said. And yes, I understand the hypocrisy of that statement, given that I have often dabbled (and still do) in the genre. The reason why I can make such a statement is that I don’t believe it’s the writers who are making this form so incredibly banal and restrictive. The form itself is limited. It is a subjective critical attempt at providing what readers inevitably read objectively; an objectivity which, in a perfect world, is given by the stature of the writer, their body of work and background knowledge. However, it seems more and more that anyone who has a smidgen more of an inkling about art can become a critic and for that reason, the form is losing credibility.
“Very few writers truly analyze music from an artistic perspective any longer. Now, a success is a record that sells and is relatively homogonous, not one that is creative or innovative—good sales or bad.” – Max Neibaur, Frequency Magazine
So what can we do about it? We could provide a new format, of BETTER reviewing, which allows for writing to be nuanced and rich with imagery, but that would be one in a sea of forgettable imprints. What I am proposing is bigger than that. I propose that as writers we need to define, engage and drive a new form which opposes the subjective/objective/narrow critique with real human responses, both emotional and intellectual. By providing the anti-thesis to what exists, we can push popular culture to look for something a little better. Some sort of middle ground which informs our experience AND whets our appetite.
[“The Lexicon of Musical Invectives”] is a collection of nasty reviews of classical music, from Bach to Wagner…it’s music criticism from the 19th century, and they’re ripping Tchaikovsky a new a–hole, but the thing that really gets me is that it’s written so beautifully. It’s nasty reviews in beautiful language, and that’s what I want. My dad will forward me some of the stuff people write about me, and I think it’s all bullshit. It’s all, ‘Oh, this sucks, that sucks, blah.’ I don’t want that. I want you to write poetically about how bad I suck.”- Regina Spektor, MTV.com
There is MUCH more to come on that topic, but IF you agree with me and you want to be a part of the venture which seeks to realise this theory, PLEASE respond to this post via e-mail (there is a contact form above) or via leaving a comment with your e-mail address so I may contact you.
What I’m looking for:
- Poets, Short Story Writers, Playwrights with a LOVE of music. Former reviewers considered also.
- Indie filmmakers with style, experience with field audio recording and HD handicam and above. (Filmmakers from outside of Sydney, Australia will be given initial preference.)
What do I need from you?
- Writers: Please submit a short creative piece in any form (under 1000 words) AND a music review (under 500 words), or just the former if you haven’t reviewed before.
- Filmmakers: any kind of showreel will do, or a recent film you have made. Please also attach a list of equipment you own.
- Filmmakers looking for a bit more experience: any film you’ve worked upon, or a description of what you’d like to do.
Please contact me with the above by August 31st if possible.
Disclaimer and such: Though not everyone will be chosen, all applicants will be kept on file and may be contacted in the future as demand and readership increases. Any material sent remains YOUR property, and by submitting it you DO NOT relinquish any rights to it, NOR do you grant us the right to distribute or publish your work without your written consent. Content submitted for the basis of applying to write will be used for that purpose only. The project is planning to start with a small but talented group of writers, and will expand as the need grows. Though we may not choose everyone for the initial run, we may consider you later.