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Didn't Listen To The Album Watch 1: Daniel Paquette, Fab Magazine, Toronto, Canada

I don't trust music journalists. At all. I believe they ask lazy questions in interviews, don't understand music much at all, prefer quote-mining press releases for things they can spin according to their prejudices instead of actually listening to music or indeed reading up on their subjects properly, and would much rather write about themselves than about those stinky musicians they are paid to write about (by the way: I freaking hate Gonzo journalism except possibly in the hands of an expert practitioner. Genius always gets a free pass; the rest of us have to Do Things Properly).
I especially don't trust professional music reviewers to listen to records, go to concerts or know what they're talking about, and every once in a while I get confirmation of this distrust. There's the story of the Uriah Heep concert that got canceled way back in the 1970s and that still got a bad review from some drunkard who couldn't be arsed to give the venue a phone call to see if it was on. More recently, but long enough ago for me not to remember the particulars, there was a letter in the Nieuwsblad van het Noorden from a hardcore band who had played in a venue in Groningen. They didn't complain about getting panned, but they did complain about the reviewer failing to notice that their entire set had consisted of Cliff Richard covers. The reason should be obvious: the reviewer wasn't at the gig at all.
And today, the Homeground forum gives us another one. A Professional Music Critic, a Mr. Daniel Paquette from Fab Magazine in Toronto, dismissed the new Kate Bush album Aerial as "beyond hideous" saying

After a 12 year wait from this legendary heavy pot smoker, we get Kate singing the words 'washing machine' for three minutes non-stop.

Of course, we get nothing of the kind. What we get is one song in which the words 'washing machine' occur as part of a chorus. If Mr. Paquette had listened to the album, or read the lyric book, he'd have known that. Instead, he just copied the scribblings of other Professional Music Journalists, distorting them further in the process. The rumours that Kate would have 'A song about a washing machine' on the record (it isn't, to anyone with ears), had been circulating before release and were ideal fodder for someone whose idea of journalistic professionalism is to copy rumour uncritically. Such a low standard of workmanship is beyond hideous.

I've been meaning to do a series on this issue, by they way. It's nearly impossible to open a music magazine without finding similar cluelessness (regardless of whether the review is positive or not or whether I like the artist or not) and it always irritates the hell out of me. However, unlike Professional Music Journalists, I don't get paid to write these things, so don't hold your breath.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 19, 2005 9:16 AM.

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