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Critical Consensus

Peter Suderman blogs about the lack of negative reviews in music:

I much prefer criticism that’s prone to overstatement rather than middling, mushy non-judgments, and critics who, rather than blandly praising everything that comes their way as "just fine," seem to genuinely believe that their chosen medium is one that has the potential to be wonderful, wretched, and everything in between.

And critic Rob Horning responds:

Readers often want hype, not evaluation, because it gives pop culture a sure-fire context, whereas a review that traces musical influences and parses lyrics only helps a select few readers. Besides, there are no established criteria for what’s good beyond popularity or fidelity to genre expectations. Maybe Suderman thinks it’s possible that music reviews could be objective evaluations of quality, as defined by some unimpeachable universal standards, but I don’t believe these exist for pop music (or for much of anything in culture—aesthetic criteria are political creations).

(Hat tip: the Daily Dish)


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