IF YOU HAVE NOTHING GOOD TO SAY…
A good friend recently suggested that I should emulate the renowned music critic Bob Lefsetz and cut loose on music and bands that I did not like – the proverbial ‘take no prisoners’ kind of commentary. Not that I haven’t done this in the 20 odd years that I have been writing about music and pop culture. And this includes telling the ‘truth’ about the music of local bands and artists as well. However, I find that it does not serve any purpose and often the targets of the criticism are not able to benefit from those remarks – so why bother?
Sure, I could easily write hundreds of words about the evils of the modern pop world but why waste precious energy on something so negative when instead I could expend it on something entirely positive – the music and bands that I DO like? Thus, if I come across something I don’t particularly like – I now tend not to write about it at all. Yes, you might call that a cop-out but I find it a more satisfactory course of action, overall. Occasionally, I still attempt to be constructive about music that I don’t quite like but totally understand where the artist is coming from and try to suggest possible improvements but that is rarely the case nowadays.
And this is why — I remember trying to convey certain advice to a young singer-songwriter a few months ago. Now, the singer-songwriter has come by leaps and bounds since the first time I saw him a few years earlier but I felt that there were certain issues about the way he presented himself and his music. So… I told him what I thought and the look on his face (the poorly disguised disappointment) meant that he did not take it too well. Which really shut down the conversation somewhat and left my attempts at advice an empty gesture. I suppose when an artist asks – “what do you think” – it’s not an invitation to be honest. I know better now…and adjust my comments accordingly. It’s still the truth – but a kinder and gentler (more palatable) version.