Rock Critic Bemoans Twitter Since He Is Out Of A Job, Bitter And Shortsighted

Rock journalist Christoper R. Weingarten, a writer for Rolling Stone and Idolator is very, very sad that no one will be listening to his blow hard opinions on music anymore and hopefully this video will be last time we ever need to hear from him. The glasses he has on are not compensating for his shortsightedness and definitely don’t see into the future. In the above video he asserts crowdsourcing is killing various genres of music. Unfortunately what he doesn’t see is the big picture. For years, music fans have despised the gatekeepers, be it A&R men, critics or Pitchfork giving their favorite record a 0.1 out of 10. Music fans have longed for the day that, instead of having to pay attention to what some self-hating loser shut-in thinks listeners should pay attention to, they can actually just find out what people like them listen to. This is what Twitter following and services like Blip.FM and any other site that allows you to post what you are listening to does to the music world. Everyone knows that rock critics are paid to blow hard on records and we always doubted when they said a record was great that it was really what they were listening to at home (and since some of my good friends are indeed critics, I know that every record they give a shining review to is not what they are always listening to after hours). Twitter has enabled us to see what people really listen to, whether it’s your favorite writer, critic or just someone you feel a kinship with. Whereas this luddite is sad that he has become obsolete to a world that has sites like Pandora, thesixtyone, and Last.FM we can simply see what else we would like instead of reading critics showing off their liberal arts degree, vocabulary words and masturbatory rants of the death of punk rock. This newfound way of finding new music through both populism and kinship isn’t the death of music, it is the rebirth. Wake me when the dead ideas are over.

P.S. I will give him one kudos that he is correct about one Twitter trend. Simply writing I love ____ is not half as helpful as writing why you love a certain artist or song.

Jesse Cannon is the editor of Musformation. He produces records at his studio Cannon Found Soundation. Follow him on Twitter at @JesseCannonMusF. For more info please visit his website.

  • Lester Bangs

    “masterbatory rants”
    If you’re going to use big words, you’d be better off learning how to spell them first.

  • Jesse Cannon

    You can attack my spelling all you want, i want to see my ideas questioned

  • Steve

    Here’s a question on your ideas… did you listen to a single word that he actually said, or did you just decide to post a “look at this dinosaur” rant and grabbed the most recent video you could get your hands on.
    I’m 6 minutes in, and so far he’s praised the music web for pulling the fake curtain of expertise from the old world of music criticism, plugged his completely twitter-based review project, and said that music reviews longer than 140 characters are useless. Where’s the blowing hard, again?

  • Steve

    Sorry… got to the rant. He’s right. Fleet Foxes suck, and the blogosphere does widely promote the midrange indie crap. See what happens whenever someone mentions any kind of hip hop artist on Stereogum or BrooklynVegan . . . or a crossover rock group on Nah Right or Allhiphop. Everyone has depth (which is certainly cool), but there SEEMS to be very little breadth (I could be wrong).
    His ultimate point wasn’t even “wah, the internet”, it was the little P.S. that you gave at the end (that you agreed with). Yay, listening comprehension.

  • Jesse Cannon

    I took a needing gatekeepers thing from the speech which i find insulting, I stand by my above criticism. Trust me I think Fleet Foxes are crap as much as the next guy, but I don’t blame the net Twitter for their popularity. I blame people having a cerebral reaction to them.

  • Steve

    Totally fair to stand behind what you write, I just think that a lot of your anger is based on one minute of the video (around 6:20 to about 7:30), while everything else seems to accept (even to praise) the new paradigm. I took the comments about him losing his job as simply a humorous framing device, and I agree his idea that of the modern music discovery world is based on tunneling deeper into your pre-selected musical spheres, rather than truly fulfilling the promise of unlimited access to unlimited spheres. I think everyone’s generally more satisfied in the end, but by avoiding the risk of being turned off, I think you miss the opportunity to get turned on to things you might normally have never sought out.
    He does express hope at the end, though: you don’t need more than 140 characters to do things right, if you take the time to explain why you like something. I think we can all agree with that.

  • Anonymous

    I’m gonna venture to say that people say things like “Fleet Foxes suck” (which I disagree with completely – if you wanna pick on an overrated band, how about Grizzly Bear) because of sites like Pitchfork and Stereogum over-hyping them. If you would have discovered them yourself, you would most likely be singing a different tune. Weingarten is drowning in his own hypocrisy. He praises Twitter and then tries to justify the need for credible critics? Please. He is just now catching on to what thousands of bloggers have been doing for years, for free and with less pretension. Nice try, d00d.
    The more we dismantle this ivory tower of musical dorks the better. And personally, I don’t want to read any album review that is 140 characters. I want to hear an album for myself. I only take music advice from people I trust and certainly not some alt_bro in a Zelda tshirt or whatever he’s wearing.

  • Whatever

    Good criticism can enhance the experience of any art form. It can offer perspective, historical significance and facts. Not saying that Weingarten has accomplished that..don’t know I’ve ever read anything he’s written…but there has been some great criticism over the years that translates as pure and great literature itself. George Bernard Shaw started as a drama critic. George Orwell was a literary critic. Patti Smith and Chrisse Hynde were rock critics. Bogdonavich was a film critic. Again, good criticism can enhance an experience. That’s the truth. Lester Bangs. Nick Kent (check out his book, The Dark Side; it’s ****ing great). Pauline Kael. Andrew Sarris. Don’t know there’s a lot of great criticism, if any, these days, though. But there’s more to it than just saying you like something but having no idea whatsoever as to why you like it or to even coherently express why you like it. But, man, there’s sure plenty of that these days — bad writing and opinion from people who have no perspective or historical knowledge whatsoever.
    All this talk of “gatekeepers” and “ivory towers” reads a lot like sour grapes to these eyes. It’s not at all true, historically speaking, that music fans have always hated music critics, btw. Not even remotely true. (See, that’s the difference between opinion — the province of most blogs — and fact.) Research a little (as good critics of the past have been known to do). Explore what CREEM and CRAWDADDY meant once upon a time. There are opinions. And then there are FACTS. The two don’t need to be — and probably shouldn’t be — mutually exclusive.
    Punk rock as we know it would’ve never existed without Lester Bangs. And that’s also a fact.

  • Jesse Cannon

    I have no quarrels with the fact that rock criticism has been and always will be important and is needed. But album reviews have become a near useless utility and if you don’t feel this is popular opinion we must walk in very different circles. Now is it a relationship similar to man and woman where they bemoan each other yet hop in to bed together and watch each other from a far on a regular basis? Absolutely!
    Music Reviewers/ Rock Critics are not the worst gatekeepers and trust me I do my fare share of it on this blog, and love me some Lester Bangs
    David Fricke reviews, the review sections of Pitchfork, Spin, Magnet, etc. do not bring the majority of musicians or music fans any joy (at least the ones I meet), they inspire ire as our time is wasted with show off sentences etc.
    I am never one to glorify the past but give me the short reviews of early Maximum Rock N Roll any day over any of that but personally in the time I am reading a review, I can now sit on my couch listen and decide for myself. I can look on Brett Easton Elliss’s Twitter and see if I find a kinship with his musical taste since i love his writing and decide if I trust him as a tastemaker, rather then a music writer who I feel no kinship with whatsoever since all they have ever done for me is write for cash (Lester Bangs never had to give Christina Aguilera a fair review for the sake of ad dollars) and waste my time with long sprawling pieces.

  • Anonymous

    Anyone who writes for Idolator doesn’t deserve a job as a writer. Its a site run by arrogant, ignorant, college grads that feel entitled to a paycheck. Real writers don’t cry about not having a job. They should read Greil Marcus and realize that nobody in current rock journalism has protected that legacy.
    Idolator is littered with fictional articles that they would be libel for if they had any money or any foundation. Good riddance.