Argument used to dispel music reviews that cast aspersions on the musical act in question.

It is of course the most tired argument in the universe. If you take it to its logical extreme, then nobody should be allowed to listen to music unless they've studied music formally. How can you possibly know anything about the music if you don't know how to play? Man.

Music journalists are extremely devoted fans, who attempt to share their love through their own talent, which is writing. It doesn't just apply to anything - it applies to failed footballers (sports journalists), failed directors (film reviewers) and failed politicians(opinion columnists). It would be so easy to train a bunch of monkeys to punch a specially designed typewriter that has big buttons marked with phrases like "new album", "stunning tour-de-force" and "great guitar work", and then publish whatever they produce. Many magazines and newspapers do this, and it's the most depressing thing in the universe.

Music journalists piss people off on a regular basis, and they should. Music is huge and diverse and brilliant and thrilling. Nobody likes everything, but everyone likes something. This means that occasionally stuff will get right up your nose - be it a good review of a bad album, or bad review of a good album.

This is exactly the point of reading these reviews.

It's not to be told what to buy. Anyone who does that is an idiot. Melody Maker, god rest it's precious soul, developed a regrettable habit of putting Limp Bizkit on the cover. NME is responsible for the horrible dad-rock movement. I personally loathe both, but I still love the magazines.

You read them to find out what's out there (FM radio doesn't play that much Belle And Sebastian, y'know), hear opinions, violently disagree or passionately agree, and, y'know, just generally feel something and not be part of the white-bread, spoon-feed masses who like their tunes pre-chewed.

Also, music journalism does give flashes of genius writing. Perhaps most of it isn't quite Dostoyevsky, but the album reviews of writers like Lester Bangs and Greil Marcus should be studied at universities (especially Lester Bangs. Definitely Lester Bangs). If you don't believe me, go buy The Faber Book Of Pop, a collection of great writing about music.

Even if you disagree with most of it, it'll remind you why you love music.

Anyway - Morrissey was a failed music journalist.

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