Blood Tangent | Column | Featuring Misha Barton and Lester Bangs
Being a rock critic isn’t great, it almost certainly won’t make you popular. It won’t make you rich, so you’ll never be able to make a living off of it. You will never be famous. Actually, a lot of people will think you are pretentious. But there are benefits. You get free tickets to shows and well, that’s about it. I am mostly telling the truth, and if you want it, it’s yours, because after four years here I might as well share some tips and tricks—and I’ll get paid for it. So pay attention and decide whether you want to bother with it.
The only thing left to mention before you embark on your career is that talent and skill have absolutely nothing to do with it, so don’t worry if you don’t know how to write. Google allows you to plagiarize at will. And don’t worry about getting caught, because everyone in this business has the memory retention of a goldfish and besides, they’re all plagiarists too.
Okay, now it’s time for you to write YOUR VERY FIRST ORIGINAL RECORD REVIEW, courtesy of and plagiarized from the late great Lester Bangs. First, pick a title for the album:
A.) Oranges in Exile
B.) Outer City Blues & Heavy Dues
C.) Hungry Children of Babylon
D.) Eat Your Coldcream
Got it? Okay, the next part’s just as easy. Just fill in the blanks:
A.) a real letdown after the masterpiece album and single that carried us all the way through the summer and warmed us over in the fall.
B.) important only insofar as it will delineate the contours of the current malaise for future rock historians, if there are any with all the pollution around now.
C.) a heap of pig shit.
Onward! Choose one of the following for the next sentence:
A.) I don’t really think these guys/this dude/the chick in question/a singing dog can defend musical output which has proven increasingly shoddy by referring to such old handles as “personal expression,” “experimentalism,” “a new kind of artistic freedom,” or any other such lame cop-out.
B.) It’s so goddam fucking boring to have to open all these pieces of shit every day, you waste your time, you break your fingernails, half the time it’s just a repeat of an album that came yesterday, that I can hardly bring myself to slit open the shrink wrap once I get ’em outta the cardboard (which piles up in a big mess all over the house after it gets dragged outta the corner by all my asshole friends!), and I really can just barely stand to put the goddam things on the turntable after that. I wish it would break anyway so I wouldn’t have to listen to them anymore. (Good one, huh, more than one sentence in this one!) But anyway, I put this piece of shit on just like all the others except the ones I never get around to, and right now I’m listening to it and you know what? I was right. It is a piece of shit!
C.) I don’t remember how I got here, whose house this is, or where this computer came from, but anyway this new album is by the greatest fucking rock ’n’ roll band in the whole wide world/most talented, sensitive balladeer of his generation whom many of us are already calling the new Dylan/sweetest songbird this side of the Thames has saved my life again just like all the others did, so I don’t even care where I am, I don’t care if I got rolled last night, I don’t care if this place gets busted right now, I don’t care if the world comes to an end because the cosmic message of truth and unity which this music is bringing to me has made me feel complete for the first time since 1968.