But the part of being a rock critic that I’ve always found the hardest is trying to toe the line on the on the notion that a song like Journey’s “Only The Young” is dreck while, say, Joy Division’s “Digital” (to pick a song I’m going to get to in a minute) is brilliant. I know that it makes my taste automatically suspect to admit I like both—because if I like something you like, and something you don’t like, for some reason you’re more likely to fixate on the latter—but in the end both songs are about feeling pressured, stressed, and perpetually adolescent. Yes they sound different, but in the end, isn’t that just a matter of the audience they’re pitching to? And if we’re reduced to reviewing the audience rather than the music, doesn’t that make us snobs, not critics?

But the part of being a rock critic that I’ve always found the hardest is trying to toe the line on the on the notion that a song like Journey’s “Only The Young” is dreck while, say, Joy Division’s “Digital” (to pick a song I’m going to get to in a minute) is brilliant. I know that it makes my taste automatically suspect to admit I like both—because if I like something you like, and something you don’t like, for some reason you’re more likely to fixate on the latter—but in the end both songs are about feeling pressured, stressed, and perpetually adolescent. Yes they sound different, but in the end, isn’t that just a matter of the audience they’re pitching to? And if we’re reduced to reviewing the audience rather than the music, doesn’t that make us snobs, not critics?
Noel Murray, Popless (Week 23)

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