Concert Review Controversy

I regularly read a blog by local music critic/writer David Menconi called On the Beat. It's a great way for me to keep in touch with the local scene and hear about some great new and old Triangle bands I'd never known.

Yesterday he blogged about the recent John Mayer/Ben Folds show in Raleigh that I decided to skip out on because I didn't want to ruin what was the magic of my first Ben Folds show in Chapel Hill this year. Anyway, his review of the show was pretty much what I would have said: Folds was great, Mayer was kinda boring. He got tons of replies saying he was crazy for saying that, asking if he was at the same show they were, and yelling at him for praising the vulgar and offensive Ben Folds.

I gave him a little comment agreeing with him, and he sent me a link to this article he wrote years ago called "Critical condition: a few thoughts on reviews." As a journalism major and aspiring music journalist, I loved this piece. People expect critics to have some kind of universal scale on which to measure music. That's not possible. Music is about experience and emotion, and can be different for each person listening to it. I'm not going to say much more, because his article says it all for me.


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