Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Critical First High

Dallas Morning News asked some critics to talk about their professions, and their interactions with readers who disagree vehemently. Thor Christensen, the pop music critic says the following to a fan who wonders, "if he was even at the same show:"

Fans go to see their heroes in the flesh and to sing along to their
favorite songs with 19,000 fellow fans. They go to drink beer and throw their hands in the air and wave 'em like they just don't care. They go to have a ball. And who could fault them?

Call me a buzz kill, but I don't go to rock shows to have fun. I go to try
to make sense of a bunch of notes flying out of a wall of speakers at 110 decibels. I come to separate the innovators from the hacks, the fresh sounds from the hopeless clichés. I come to describe the show and offer readers a sober opinion on why it worked – or didn't.

I come not to bury Caesar or to praise him. I come to judge his guitar
solos.

More often than not, I do have fun. I'm a music fanatic, too – been one since age 13, when a Led Zeppelin concert taught me music isn't mere
entertainment: It's the elixir of life. Every night, someone else makes a
similar discovery at American Airlines Center or Smirnoff Music Centre or Nokia Theatre. And if my review is less than glowing, they send expletive-laced e-mails accusing me of being soulless, heartless and deaf.

That's OK – I'm not offended: I've already had my life-changing concert moment. I won't begrudge you yours.

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