Post have slowed again, what with valuable time now (again) taken up with work and adjustment to life abroad. Still seem to have time to argue with people on music forums, however. So here's me contributing to dissensus on the perennial topic of why music journalism sucks in the year 2000 and above, riffing on point 3 of mnml msgs's soufflé post from last year:
What concerns me is what the logical end point would be if the only two options a critic has is positivity and silence. Those hoping that the dull and derivative will just sink due to lack of exposure are misguided, I think. A piece of music (because of subjectivity, ignorance) will always find support from SOMEWHERE, and if you are prevented from being negative about it, the basic POINT of criticism (shielding your ears, and formerly your wallet, from trash) disintegrates. The listener / consumer will just be flooded with messages telling you everything is awesome. Debate dies, or gets outsourced to blogs and message boards, where standards are less than professional [no intended slight on dissensus, should add!]
I think why you hate a record is potentially just as interesting as why you love it. Because one reason I read music journalism is for a sensitive insight into the way music affects ppl. I think that's what is missing from the very technical or contextual focus of a lot of criticism now (describing the track, influences). That stuff is useful and interesting, but doesn't quite capture the vital aspect of criticism, which is providing examples of people's aesthetic response in the things around them.