As much as some of my previous posts might have focused on the negative aspects of critics I do believe they have their uses. Bands have improved themselves because of criticism of certain aspects of their sound. The focus that comes from knowing someone is judging your work is often beneficial.

There are quite a few movie critics that I actually do trust and respect. Those critics are usually the ones who focus on telling their readers not whether a movie is worthwhile/important but whether a movie is worth seeing/entertaining. They often have blind spots (like some comedies and Woody Allen movies) but overall I feel they realize that if they are just negative and dismissive they will damage their own reputation and damage the business most of them actually do like. They like the art form that films represent. They want people to watch movies and enjoy themselves.

Music critics are somewhat similar though personally I find some of their quirks annoying. And worthy of much mockery. Which is why Rick Dodge is specifically a music critic.

Artists of any stripe need to know that someone is looking critically at their work because often that will cause the work to rise to a new level. Also a good critic can point in direction he or she might never have considered. The artist may not be aware they’re repeating certain ideas and themes over and over again and if made aware can have their thoughts pushed in new and exciting directions. A critic telling a band that they’re all wrong for the genre they’re trying to crack and suggesting they look at other genres can help produce a cross-pollination that can create something new and fantastic.

Critics can expose their audience to new music, new movies, new artists that those audiences would never have seen. Champion new bands. Celebrate great new film makers. Raise the public discourse.

In praise of the critic.

Y’know, writing this without going negative was quite difficult so next time I write on critics I promise to go the full negative.

And yes, I am aware of the irony, thanks.