I can't help but wonder what is the point of digging around in a musician's personal life, or spending months getting to know them, with the sole purpose of betraying them with a hit piece.
Have you, the reader of this article — a presumably somewhat normal person — ever felt the need to publicly slander anyone because they believed in different things than you? Have you ever felt the desire to make sure the public knows how they are supposed to correctly interpret their art? Probably not, yet music journalists are running around doing the wildest nonsense and no one seems to be asking any questions.
One of the best features of music is it can challenge the listener to explore new ideas. Music can be interpreted differently by each individual based on their own life experiences or emotional state. The same work of art can be interpreted in infinitely different ways based on who is experiencing it, which is fascinating and magical. Especially when the music uplifts or motivates the listener in a meaningful or potentially life altering way.
However, music journalists do not seem particularly interested in the wholesome and healing powers of music. It was not enough for music journalists to curate what was ok to listen to, they now must curate what sort of person is ok to listen to.
Let's talk industry logistics. What is the point of music journalism? Until recently, I was quite fond of this industry. I always thought of these blogs as a way for people who were passionate about music and also talented at writing to combine those two interests to help music fans find new music to listen to. The musicians need publicity for their album to go along with the standard release cycle protocol, they get write ups to share with their fans, people learn about new music. Seems fine and ok, whatever.
Though if you look at the industry more broadly, especially in 2022, music blogs are now nothing more than a propaganda arm of the State. A far cry from what they once were. Nothing seems to have survived this takeover, tragically not even the old punk zines. Music journalism has devolved to at best insufferable gossip rags that feels more like satire:
And at worst, these publications blindly promote pharmaceutical companies interests under the guise of public health. For instance, you may wonder why we need to know what Jason Isbell thinks about vaccines:
You might even be interested in why the entire music industry banned together to prevent live music from happening, harshly judging even those who staged outdoor events, but the music journalists do not seem to be the least bit curious about how the music industry tried to destroy music.
Music has, of course, long been encouraged to align with the religion of the day. This is a bit easier to look back upon in history when the example is Christianity. Though it has now been replaced with Progressivism & The Science™.
While simultaneously scoffing at anyone with faith in any God, those devoted to progressive dogma blindly follow their own religion with little self-awareness or critical thought. This has lead us to a culture of self-censorship and unwillingness to ask questions, which is destroying art.
Any musician who goes against or challenges the agreed upon religion will either be ignored, dismissed — or if they are successful enough, they will have NPR publish a hit pieces disavowing them.
Matt Pike is the most recent victim of such attacks with NPR recently publishing Can Matt Pike face the music? However, this suppression of dissenting voices has surely been going on perhaps as long as music existed.
It is tempting and convenient to lampoon heavy metal for its familiar stereotypes: angry, loud white men screaming about Satan or barbarism or sorcery above a racket that seems like an androgenic flex. But metal is loaded with politics, too, including a pernicious right wing, with its obdurate ties to fascism and bigotry, and, more recently, a rejuvenated left wing, too, full of radical feminism and anti-fascism and veganism.
....uh, if you say so Grayson Currin!
We all understand that bullying is wrong, but what if the people screaming about bullying all the time are actually the bullies? It absolutely does not matter what you think of any musicians political views — that is not the point. This is 100% wrong. Articles like this are where the actual "hate speech" is, not the other way around.
When he's not slandering Matt Pike, predominant music journalist Currin seems to write mean spirited articles about practically anyone.
In this example, he makes a point to call out a hiker for... finishing his hike:
Given a pandemic that has prompted global travel bans, and a domestic foment stemming from centuries of racial oppression and inequality, Underwood’s decision to press on along the Appalachian Trail highlights questions of privilege and pride that have long plagued the outdoor industry. “By hiking now, you have created a narrative that says, ‘My personal needs and desires outweigh a greater societal mission. At the end of the day, what’s really important is what I want,’” says Sandi Marra, the ATC’s president and CEO.
What I think many music journalists are missing is that they're destroying whatever was left of the music community. When we discourage free expression and discussion we keep art from moving forward.
This constant pattern of speaking in such an obnoxiously condescending tone about anyone who is skeptical of the government or large corporations is abhorrent. Nothing good was ever created by people who were following all of the rules or that bowed down to corrupt governments. Why is it so important to shame musicians you like into self censoring their ideas. Why can they not speak freely?
To me, art seems very straightforward in that if you do not like it, it is simply not for you. This doesn't mean its bad, this doesn't mean it's evil and it certainly does not mean you need to write several thousand words about how terrible the creator you disagree with ideologically is. I can honestly not think of a more useless way to spend ones limited time on this earth.
If you disagree with something you've heard someone has said or done, and it bothers you to the point you can no longer enjoy their music — may I recommend you simply don't listen to their music anymore. Though I would actually recommend a more nuanced approach to this, as blocking off art from those with different ideologies will inevitably back you into some terribly uninspired and painfully boring corner.
Also if you do feel the need to screen artist's politics where would you even draw the line? Will you only listen to music from people who have made public statements you agree with? Sounds complicated! Furthermore, many of these wrongdoings are hysterically tried in the court of public opinion, making it even more difficult to know what is even true to begin with.
Many music journalists are now presuming they know all that is true and seem to be of the sincere belief that stirring up division and hate is actually the morally correct thing to do. I remain skeptical that Rolling Stone or Consequence of Sound are capable — or are even attempting to be — the arbiters of truth and morality.
A question I cannot get out of my mind is why are the music journalist so hell bent on curating the culture at this level? The algorithms have taken over the curation role that music blogs used to serve for the vast majority of the public. As we spiral further into an artless hellscape, the general public has little interest in listening to anything new or challenging anyway.
It's difficult for me to believe someone feels good about themself deep down spreading negativity about others, no matter the reason. I'm not sure what these writers are searching for, but the cure to their emotional problems and insecurities is not going to be found spreading vitriol on the world wide web.
After successfully participating in the demise of our culture, the music journalists can now only focus on gossip and meaningless drivel. It seems in their best interest to quietly back away from the complete destruction that lies in their wake, and yet...
So. I do sincerely ask — are the music journalists OK?
As per usual, the ongoing theme is Frank Zappa accurately predicted all of this.
All them rock 'n roll writers is the worst kind of sleaze
Selling punk like some new kind of English disease
Is that the wave of the future?
Aw, spare me please!
Oh no, you gotta go
Who do you write for?
I wanna know
I believe you is the government's whore
And keeping peoples dumb
(I'm really dumb)
Is where you're coming from
And keeping peoples dumb
(I'm really dumb)
Is where you're coming from
Fuck all them writers with the pen in their hand
I will be more specific so they might understand
They can all kiss my ass but because it's so grand
They best just stay away
Hey, hey, hey