Thursday, January 28, 2010

The curious art of the music critic

For those not from Australia, the publicly funded, quasi alternative, "youth" radio station in Australia Triple J has an annual competition for their "Hottest 100" songs of the year and this year has seen an interesting development.

First, the winning song was Little Lion Man by Mumford and Sons.

The first interesting tid-bit is that I like this song, enough to actually go out and buy the album. (And quickly realised that The Cave is a much better song). That a 43 year old guy that hates dance music, rap, mash-ups, electro-pop and pretty much 90% of the Triple J playlist happened to enjoy the song rated as the hottest by the audience of that station is kind of cool.

But perhaps not unexpectedly, the critics have now started panning the song and a loud chorus of dismay is coming that the song is crap, thin, poorly written, shallow etc etc. This review at The Vine pretty much sums it up.

The thing is I dont disagree. But i suppose I wonder how does that make it different from any other song in the Top 5. Somehow some genres of pop have no requirement to make sense and simply make you want to move up and down and that's fine but others have to do so much more and have to be works of great poetry as well.

Well I dont care - Little Lion Man has some downright nonsensical lyrics but it still moves me somehow in a way that every other song in the top 5 doesnt even try to. I think thats the big difference between me and a whole bunch of other listeners. I dont judge Little Lion Differently to (say) Art vs. Science - 'Parlez-Vous Francais', both are catchy, both are bit silly (one intentionally, the other not so) but Little Lion Man tries to be more and I see that as a plus, not a minus.

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