Impressive and moving – and that’s just the reviews

Interesting quote from Bono (from this 2005 article on differences of opinion between music critics and the public):

Critics like to be impressed, whereas audiences like to be moved. It is almost like one is cerebral and the other is of the heart. But it is more complex than that, because to be really moved the head has to give permission to the heart.

The highlighted statement was something of a miniature epiphany for me. It explained one of the key tendencies in my musical taste over the years, ever since my sixth-form/student days as an avid NME reader: I rarely find myself liking something in the teeth of the critics’ unanimous disapproval, but equally it’s common for highly-praised artists to leave me cold. The same applies to most other areas of cultural activity, from cinema through to exhibitions.

I now realise the explanation is this: I like to be impressed and moved. Had I realised this was what was going on, I could have saved myself a fortune over the years: all the albums I’ve bought on the strength of a rave review, when (if I’d sat back and thought about it in these terms) it would have been obvious before I bought it that it was likely to leave me unmoved.

On the plus side, my obsessive reading of reviews before almost every purchase – you’ll regularly see me checking reviews on my mobile phone while stood in HMV or Waterstones with a CD or book in my other hand – has saved me from buying an awful lot of awful rubbish. So I’ve ended up ahead in the end…

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2 Responses to Impressive and moving – and that’s just the reviews

  1. Matt J. says:

    This is a big part of the puzzle I think.

    It also explains pretty much all contemporary jazz too…

  2. D.S.Ketelby says:

    I liked, and found refreshing, Sarah Ketelby’s decision (having watched it) that Citizen Kane was basically crap. So easy to like what one’s supposed to like – and then a whole world of Guardian-reader dronedom opens up ahead of us.

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