Songwriters vs. Shredders, Musicianship vs. Music Critics

Office Overlord tipped me on a great discussion going on over at pop culture site A.V. Club — the music editors discuss whether musicianship is required to critique, and how/if musicianship benefits songs, etc.  If you’ve ever encountered an elitest lead guitarist that rips on bands you like, you’ll enjoy the discussion.

A few good quotes:

"I don’t think it’s impossible for we untrained music-lovers to explain what we love about music, especially since the audience we’re writing for is most likely just as untrained. What matters more is the ability to write, concisely and clearly, and a rich knowledge of musical history." – Noel Murray

"One thing I’ve learned by being in bands is that there are two fundamental types of musicians: songwriters and shredders. … A songwriter sees technique as a means to an end. A shredder sees technique as an end unto itself." – Jason Heller

"It’s best to be open to what captivates us, whether it be an intricate Deerhoof chord-change, a 3-year-old’s kazoo jam, a strange synth glitch in a Chicago house track, or a radiator that has as much to suggest as a composer with a music-theory degree." – Andy Battaglia

Sweet.  These guys just helped me further justify my dabbling aimlessly with a new cello that I’ve only "played" three times.








3 responses to “Songwriters vs. Shredders, Musicianship vs. Music Critics”

  1. Jay Avatar

    I’ve never understood the whole “elitist” mentality that some shredders (and for that matter, some bass players) have. The aforementioned Andy Battaglia has it right.

  2. dreamspin Avatar

    I have to agree. Admitedly, it's all too easy to rip on bands that have "made it", that don't necessarily have the most intelligent lyrics or progressive chord progressions, but the fact is, people like what they like. A songwriter needs to be in touch with that fact, and not focus solely on musicianship, which isn't what most avid listeners are looking for.

  3. Michael Bond Avatar

    I feed my sensitive paperwork to an unusual species of troll bred and bonded for that purpose.

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