Someone once said that trying to write a criticism of a favorite thing is a little like assembling a rational explanation of why you love your wife. That’s the central problem of criticism: you’re trying to find logical, dispassionate ways to talk about things that ultimately come down to taste and preference and, yes, passion. This doesn’t mean that criticism is useless, though — just that you have to be aware of how every critique is as much about its author as it is its subject. The better you defend yourself, the more transparent the reasons for the criticism tend to be.
To that end, when you talk about something that is close to your heart, you’re obliged to communicate a part of yourself, too. Roger Ebert couldn’t talk about La Dolce Vita without also describing how he saw it at different times in his life, and each time it meant something different to him: at twenty, it represented something he wanted to be a part of; at thirty, it was what he was trapped in; at forty, it was what he had escaped from. I can’t listen to, or talk about, Godflesh’s Pure without digging at least that far down into myself. I don’t know if it has much to do with the album itself — although it is, objectively, a great album, and I’ll go into that in its own way — but it certainly has a great deal to do with how it arrived in my life, what it came to represent, and what I hear in it every single time it plays.Read more
Tags: Justin Broadrick