Music critics hinder the spread of quality music



There may be no endeavor more futile than that of the music critic. In their naïveté, they hope to express the deepest emotions inspired by music with their pretentious prose and clumsy, generic descriptions. Failing to realize that a logical representation of the emotional is impossible, their work is entirely wrongheaded.

The emergence of genre and criticism was the worst occurrence in the history of music. Critics tear apart complex structures far greater than the sum of their parts; their work is, by definition, a contradiction. In breaking down musical works, critics objectify music, which then becomes something to be studied, rather than something to be experienced.

All genre-based descriptions are arbitrary. Working within a genre changes and artist’s goal from freely expressing a state or states of human existence, to attempting to do so within restrictions. The end becomes secondary to the means—a suffocating effect.

Furthermore, genres reduce an album or song to the sum of its parts: the familiar characteristics of a specific genre. Just as defining a person as the sum of its flesh and bones is objectifying and wrong, so is defining music in terms of genre.

The primary failure of music critics is the assumption that a descriptive account can be a basis for critiquing a wholly experiential work. Music cannot be reduced to words. In fact, to even begin speaking about music is to betray its connection to the very being of a person.

And yet, we can feel the difference between two types of music. The feelings inspired from the latest pop song are fundamentally different from those inspired by true art. I will attempt an explanation of that difference, one that will hopefully avoid the fallacy of the critics.

As a quick note, I will distinguish between the two types of music: Music, capitalized, denotes highest and true music; museapia denotes all else.

The distinguishing element between Music and museapia is genuity, a non-word that I use for a specific purpose, so allow me to clarify. The world is generally a lonely place. Language imperfectly expresses our thoughts. We exist as isolated individuals, never capable of experiencing what others experience and thus never capable of truly knowing another person.

Genuine Music breaks the sphere of isolated experience inherently present around each of us. It expresses the feelings of another that we were previously incapable of experiencing. Music is the expression of a genuine human experience that, in an isolated world, shouts, “I am here.” This expression is the primary force behind Music.

Museapia has some of these qualities. However, genuity is not the primary motivation of it. The latest Lady Gaga single might make some sort of experiential connection with audiences, but its primary purpose is profit. Of course, profit is not the only primary force behind museapia; entertainment, distraction or any number of goals may serve as the primary motivation. But music without the primary force of genuity is, ultimately, inferior to Music.

The distinction above should serve as a guide to future critics. Museapia can be easily critiqued because it does not concern the realm of human existence inexpressible in words. However, Music cannot be subjected to such critiques. By attempting to do so, critics cheapen and ruin one of the greatest endeavors.


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