Participants in our Music Journalism Course are answering three questions related to music and writing. Once they respond, they post three questions for someone else. It keeps going like that. You can see all the questions and answers here. Tag, you’re it.
First up, Patrick Foster asks three questions of Tim Coffman.
PF: Should critics be expected to accept criticism?
TC: Absolutely. Why’ll this medium is certainly opinion-based to a great extent, I feel that where a critic falls flat is when they either have false assumptions about what they are reviewing or do not explain how they feel particularly well. So critics should totally be critiqued or else you’re never going to get any better as a music journalist and you may not have as big an audience who is willing to listen to your opinion on music you keep saying bland critiques like “This was cool” and other criticism of that nature.
PF: If there’s so much good music, why make new music?
TC: As a musician, I confront this question a lot. There are many times when you start to think “Why add on to a particular genre or a particular song that is already perfect?” While I feel there have been many perfect songs made over the years, musicians should keep making music because it is an extension of themselves. For a lot of the greatest going these days from Kendrick Lamar to Taylor Swift there’s a common thread of the artist’s personality on certain issues. Music is a great way to show someone’s view of the world, and as long as we have artists willing to put their heart and soul down on a record, good music will not have to worry about running empty any time soon.
PF: If you could go back in time and be any writer from history, who would you be, and why?
TC: If I could back and be a writer from any time is a tricky one, but I would most likely like to see what life was like for Cameron Crowe. His story starting out as a kid writing for Rolling Stone is very interesting and the idea of seeing that up-close would be absolutely crazy and wonderful. Also, it seemed like that point in music, the rock music that was being covered by Crowe was very organic and the musicians seemed to relate to the writers with a very natural demeanor. I also would liked to have been any Rolling Stone writer in the 1990s like David Fricke, because of the incredible amount of great music that came out from every genre.
Now, Tim Coffman asks three questions of Alessandra Guarneri:
1. Have there ever been any bands that you always heard were incredible, but for some reason they never clicked with you?
2. How much do you think the production of a song matters in the song’s overall appeal? Do you think there are some songs that could have been great but just wasn’t necessarily pleasant to listen to?
3. How do you feel about artists or bands that use visual aids in conjunction with music ( a la Gorillaz and Daft Punk)? Do you get a better connection from seeing an actual person performing or do these enhanced visuals work just as well?
If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.