The death of music criticism

There was a time when music critics would intelligently evaluate an album or live performance through the thoughtful examination of such elements as song structure, tonality, and instrumentation.

Unfortunately, that approach is becoming more rare as critics tend to focus on the superficial or controversial. So, music fans can expect to hear more about how John Mayer and Katy Perry's awful, annoying relationship affects their respective albums, rather than the actual quality of the music.

In addition, the fact that so much time is spent on "artists" like these is a reflection of the current state of mainstream music criticism. For instance, how in good conscience can Rolling Stone celebrate the timeless music of The Beatles on their cover, then put the shirtless trainwreck of a Biebs on the cover a few months later? 

This is not to say that quality music criticism doesn't exist anymore. It's just that music fans need to go beyond mainstream publications to find it, which makes it somewhat difficult for excellent indie bands to find larger audiences. Although the glory days of Lester Bangs might be over, hope still lies in mags like Under the Radar, American Songwriter, and Mojoand music sites like Pitchfork, Consequence of Sound, and Paste.

On the web: Music criticism has degenerated into lifestyle reporting

While I'm at it, check out this classic Lester Bangs (RIP Philip Seymour Hoffman) scene from Almost Famous.

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