Think of the last time you read an album review or feature on a new artist. Do you remember who wrote it? Do you know where they’re from, who their favorite band is, what music they listened to growing up, whether they play any instruments? Chances are, even if you do know their name (and even that is unlikely), you don’t know any of these other things.
But do they not all play a role in how that writer or critic views music? There are certain assumptions about music criticism that are simply not realistic. Readers assume that a critic will be completely objective when they write a review, but the chances of that are little to none. Everyone’s music tastes are colored by their personal history with music, personal preferences that differ with every individual, and these preferences can change frequently and arbitrarily. But because critics know they are expected to be entirely objective, they try to appear so. This is an illusion. Critics are incredibly avid music fans, and that is the only difference.
So let’s break down this illusion and address music criticism for what it really is. It is a music fan’s opinions. Especially with the growth of music blogs, it becomes less common for someone who writes about music to have intimate knowledge about the music industry.