Saturday, February 23, 2008

The sad state of music journalism today


There was a time when music criticism, despite Frank Zappa's critique, was a respectable, honest and enlightening art form, no less than literary or film criticism.

But this story in Maxim magazine, sent to me by Ben Marks, shows the soft white underbelly of modern music journalism.

Maxim reviewed the Black Crowes album.....without listening to it. That ranks up there with some of the worst I've seen.

In more than a decade in the field, I've seen a reviewer review a canceled concert (gunplay between the Luniz and Too Short ended a Summer Jam show at Shoreline Amphitheatre, but the Contra Costa Times's critic still wrote about bands that never performed. The really dumb thing was, the show was broadcast live on radio, and he still didn't bother to tune in.)

I've seen a critic plagiarize an American Idol review from Entertainment Weekly and get busted because one of the newspapers' managers was as the show with his children, and they knew different songs were sung than were reported.

The same critic wrote a Grammy story about tributes to the Beetles and Bob Dillon, and kept her job.

I don't know how the editors of Maxim can justify this one. Really, they can't.

But maybe fake reviews go along with fake boobs.

And do you remember Zappa's view of music criticism?

"Most rock journalism is people who can't write, interviewing people who can't talk, for people who can't read," he said.

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