Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Hmmm... The Real Criticulous?

Rock'n'roll's Alan Partridge
This afternoon, it’s time for a big shout out to Peter Paphides. He put up a really helpful guide to the new Daft Punk Album. Concluding with some marketing advice for record labels, it’s an object lesson in how not to write a critical response and I hope that the young critics of Glasgow are reading it, laughing and wondering why owning Sting albums is something to mention in public, let alone boast about.

Having spent a great deal of time pondering the role of the critic, and being painfully pompous in my attempts to describe possible functions, Paphides cuts to the chase. The job of the critic is, obviously, to tell people why they are not listening to music properly. He reminds me of Mr Didcot, my school music teacher, shouting at the class of twelve year olds for not showing real respect to Mozart.

Upset by the negative reaction to Daft Punk’s latest opus, which will doubtless take its place alongside Figaro in the twenty-fifth century, Paphides gets annoyed with the haters. He constructs his response in the form of a numbered list. It’s hilarious, especially when he bangs on about owning Sting albums. This apparently makes him an authority. 

Funnily enough, he starts off well enough,  pointing out that just because the album is not what was necessarily expected, that doesn't make it bad. But he quickly leaps into the worst critical persona: the arrogant know-it-all who understands the precise detail of an audience's listening experience. 

Apparently, paying for product makes the consumer appreciate it in more detail (possibly true, but I don't know if there is any evidence, and Paphides provides none). The listeners have nothing in their record collection that sounds like a particular track (no sophisticated meditation on originality or influence here, just a bold accusation). And Columbia's marketing department hadn't done enough research on how to disseminate the release. 

I mean, I like Live Art, and it is far more disliked than Daft Punk. There's a whole episode of excellent sit-com Spaced devoted to mocking it. Yet I have managed to avoid writing a list of ways to enjoy it properly...

(Actually, I did just that once. A prize to any reader who can find it.)

I'm done. Paphides has a bit of form on this - another article he wrote was about the Coldplay wristband he had glowing in the dark. Here's thanks to Limmy for starting the twitter row that made Paphides' article come to my attention - although a bit less time on the internet and more on writing sketches that don't trade on your wide-eyed innocence for the next series would be nice, Limmy. 

And for a little balance, Paphides' book, Lost in Music, is still worth a read. That's a passionate and personal account of how music shaped his life. 

Oh sorry, that was Giles Smith. It's just the quote from the song on Paphides' blog confused me....  

No comments :

Post a Comment