"Not even their mothers would claim that they sing well." Their lyrics are "a catastrophe," their vocal quality is "hoarsely incoherent" with "minimal enunciation necessary to communicate" the text. They're "commonplace" and "rather dull," yet people have scarely mentioned anything else for the past few days. Recorded together, they "sound like a group of disorganized amateurs whose voices seem to be fighting each other."
What do grown folks think? "Odds are that they will fade away, as most adults confidently predict."
These quotes aren't about any of the above artists—although, no doubt you've heard people say the same shit about each of them. But no, these criticisms were written in 1964, about The Beatles.
The Los Angeles Times recently published a list of reviews of the celebrated group, from a wide variety of publications and critics. They're written a bit more stiffly, with a more "proper" command of vocabulary than most music writing today. But still, the sentiments aren't far from what's lobbed at plenty of rappers who've grabbed hip-hop's attention, year after year.
"The more extreme the aesthetic," said Richard Brody in a review of Martin Scorcese's The Wolf of Wall Street, "the more righteous the response in the name of principle."
OK, we're not really saying any of these artists are necessarily as important as The Beatles. And there are plenty of folks who have no concern for discernment to sit on the other side of the opinionated seesaw. But a good sign that an artist is doing something truly new and original—even if it's objectionable on other grounds—is that it's as likely to inspire revulsion and nose-wrinkling as excitement.
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[via L.A. Times]