Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Articles [NAJP]

The Rockwrite Word

Jason Gross, longtime editor of Perfect Sound Forever and all-around selfless servant of rock criticism a/k/a music writing, has done us yet another solid: a feature in Pop Matters comprising music writers'/editors' advice to wannabes. Jason got stuff out of so many writers that it's going to run in alphabetical sections, of which A-D just went up.

There are a few dullards in there, and a few people who run down unexceptionable goals without a hint of how to achieve them, but I read top to bottom with unstinting interest. Let me make a few generalizations before leaving you to hit that link, which you should. One, almost no contributor regards music criticism as a reasonable way to make a living. Two, very roughly speaking, the best advice comes from the best-known writers, most of whom do make some kind of living at it. Three, one thing I leave out of my usual spiel (included in the A-D's) is repeated by four or five contributors, and while I always say it eventually, I think I should figure out a way to get it closer to the lede: if you want to write well, read read read, and not just music criticism.

If you appreciate Gross's work here and have never looked at Perfect Sound Forever, do so. He doesn't pay, and the prose he publishes isn't always pristine or scintillating by my standards. But his archive, which now goes back 15 years or so, is one of the most valuable in music journalism.

Articles, May 23, 2010


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