(we’re huge fans of Patrick and Dan over here. Not them specifically, but the whole genre of the rock and roll)
Alan Light’s profile of the (ex) Akron duo the Black Keys (“The Black Keys Change Gears With ‘El Camino’) somehow ended up on the cover of the New York Times Arts & Leisure section when it was clearly intended for the Business pages. Or perhaps a music biz trade publication. Quoting sales figures, radio chart placements, summarizing the marketing/promo tsunami for ‘El Camino’ and featuring testimonials from the head of Bowery Presents (the promoter of the band’s upcoming MSG gig) and a guy from Amazon Music (who compares them to Adele and Mumford & Sons), it’s a competent, Azerradian snapshot of their career trajectory. It also makes no real case for the band being, y’know, great.
Whether or not you think they’re great isn’t the point. Having an actual point of view about music is of secondary concern. This isn’t criticism or analysis — it has all the blood and guts of a wiki entry composed by a publicist.
People often cite the same reasons over and over again while prerecorded music sales are in the dumper, why attention spans are shorter than short, why artists are considered disposable, why there’s not so much reverence for albums. Some of those reasons are valid, sure, but the thoroughly unpersonal approach to music journalism is part of the problem, too. No sane person is expecting Alan Light to morph into Tesco Vee, but surely there are more substantial reasons to give a shit besides an online retailer’s lofty commercial expectations.