CHICAGO—Music, a mode of creative expression consisting of sound and silence expressed through time, was given a 6.8 out of 10 rating in an review published Monday on Pitchfork Media, a well-known music-criticism website.
According to the review, authored by Pitchfork editor-in-chief Ryan Schreiber, the popular medium that predates the written word shows promise but nonetheless “leaves the listener wanting more.”
“Music’s first offering, an eclectic, disparate, but mostly functional compendium of influences from 5000 B.C. to present day, hints that this trend’s time may not only have fully arrived, but is already on the wane,” Schreiber wrote. “If music has any chance of keeping our interest, it’s going to have to move beyond the same palatable but predictable notes, meters, melodies, tonalities, atonalities, timbres, and harmonies.”
Schreiber’s semi-favorable review, which begins in earnest after a six-paragraph preamble comprising a long list of baroquely rendered, seemingly unrelated anecdotes peppered with obscure references, summarizes music as a “solid but uninspired effort.”
“Coming in at an exhausting 7,000 years long, music is weighed down by a few too many mid-tempo tunes, most notably ‘Liebesträume No. 3 In A-Flat’ by Franz Liszt and ‘Closing Time’ by ’90s alt-rock group Semisonic,” Schreiber wrote. “In the end, though music can be brilliant at times, the whole medium comes off as derivative of Pavement.”
While Schreiber concedes that music is still “trying to find its aesthetic,” he also claims the form has not yet lived up to the lavish praise heaped on it by pop culture journalist Chuck Klosterman and 19th-century French romantic composer and critic Hector Berlioz, among others.
Schreiber concludes his critique by calling on music to develop a more cohesive sound in its future releases.
“We can only hope that [music] will begin to grow with its fans over the next few millennia,” Schreiber said. “If it can stick to what it does well, namely the song ‘Peg’ by Steely Dan, and Tuvan throat singing, then a sophomore effort will indeed be something to get excited about.”
The review has split the music community, with many decrying Pitchfork’s lukewarm reception of music as a contrarian move designed to propel the publication’s tastemaker status.
“It’s elitism for the sake of elitism,” said Rolling Stone senior editor David Fricke, who refuted Pitchfork’s middling rating, describing the entire art form as “transcendent.” “I’ve been listening to music for over 30 years, and it’s consistently some of the best stuff out there.”
Despite music’s defenders, the Pitchfork review has made a deep impression on the thousands of music fans who slavishly follow the website’s advice when it comes to enjoying things.
“Music used to be great, but let’s be honest, it’s a 6.8 now at best,” said Los Angeles resident Lowell Radler, 23, who admitted that he just looked at the rating rather than reading the whole review. “I seriously might never listen to music again.”
Still, most analysts agreed that the impact of Pitchfork’s scathing review of music will be dampened by the 2.4 rating it received from Pitchfork staff writer Dave Maher just moments after the initial critique was published online. Maher termed Schreiber’s assessment of music “overwrought, masturbatory posturing intended to make insecure hipsters feel as if they’re part of some imagined elite beau monde.”