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The Rock Critic Vs. The Rock Star

More often than not, I hear rock stars trashing critics. You know the common line, that rock critics are wannabe rock stars and a bunch of other insults that go with it. The basic premise is “who are they to judge” and all that. I find it interesting though when they release a new record or a new something that they rely on said critics to get the word out about them and their new product. The common theme is that critics are haters and that isn’t the case. There are exceptions, don’t get me wrong. But most critics are fans, like myself, of the band’s/artist’s music. Not that it matters or that our opinions are more valid than others but it’s the usual case. Trust me, I don’t think any critic in Rolling Stone magazine ever understood rock music so I think their elitist attitudes caused many to rethink what they were listening to. That aside, I do believe the best critics truly speak from the heart and mean the best for those that they review. I know I do.

Rock stars should embrace most critics because they are the way to get the word about their music and who they are. I know today everybody thinks because of the internet no one needs anything but that and they would be wrong. Unless you are checking band/artist websites daily to get your fix on your favorite, more often than not you had to read it somewhere or heard it on the radio or TV. Interviews and critiques of their products are what get the buzz going on the band and debates start and create an interest in them. Now what could be wrong with that? Maybe the critics are the necessary evil. I find it interesting that the rock stars like to blame the critics for the bad sales of a new record or poor ticket sales, instead of them realizing that they may have put out a bad record. Have you ever bought a record or not bought one based on a critic, I didn’t think so.

Critics are good for breaking bands into the market place and maybe keeping a band relevant by keeping them in the news, etc. But I do find rock stars hypocritical because they don’t follow their own advice. As an example, how many times have you heard a rock star give his/her views on politics and if this president is a moron or that country’s leader should be put in prison or what have you? Have they ever held an elected seat, have they ever experienced what these political leaders ever experienced? Are they politician wannabe types? I think not (though Ted Nugent may run for president in 2016). But I digress, so when your favorite rock star gives his or her opinions about politics, maybe they should refrain and realized that if a critic can’t be one because they haven’t the fortune to be a famous rock star, they too could never run a country. Does anyone really care what Bruce Springsteen thinks about President Obama or what Bono thinks about apartheid in Africa? I certainly don’t. They can sing about it and give exposure but to stand up and say you should do this or that, maybe crossing the line or is it?

On a music front, I also think it is funny that the rock stars also poke fun at other rock stars’ music. If it’s selling, who are they to judge, right? Ok, all I’m saying is most critics that are worth their salt usually bring insight to a review. Let’s face it, there are very few albums out there that every track is great and the world has to stop and listen. But there are a few and sometimes it takes a few critics to get the word out.

I find it odd that there is a belief that critics are pointless. But I go back to the good ones are passionate about what they follow. Now if you ask me to critique an opera album, I would be the wrong guy. I may respect the vocal talents and maybe even some of the musical scores but to me it is hard to listen to. I would not be able to give a fair assessment. It’s not my thing but if magazines, bloggers etc. don’t screen their reviews in that regard then they deserve what they get. But the fact that the rock stars and other professionals think you have to be in the field in order to have a valid opinion, it makes me think they are a little short cited.

Now I am not the type of critic that judges songs on how hard it is to play or how many instruments and notes they play either. That shouldn’t matter as long as it resonates with you the listener. I do see critics providing a service because many of them, like myself, do it for our love of the music and the reasons stated in this take. I think like any thing you follow, you find the people that have similar tastes to yours and you can respect their opinions and you follow them because they kind of have the same take you do. In the end, rock stars need to take what they give. It’s not only their opinion that counts. If it’s okay for them, then it should be okay for the likes of me.

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