wonders why it's fashionable to diss Lester bangs these days. I can think of a very good reason: he's The Clash of rock crit. With the latest bio released, I've read countless claims that he's "the only music critic who's ever mattered", and yet the justification for this absurd claim is generally that he "lived the life" of a rock star. If I want to read writers who do that I don't have to go any further than the NME
. Sure, Bangs was an amazing writer, but the criteria on which he is often lauded strikes me as being quite similar to prefering Aretha to Madonna because she's "suffered".
It's a bit of a vicious cycle really - the same writers who cannot or will not engage with the actual music when they write about rock find it similarly difficult to understand the point of really insightful music criticism. They end up grasping at straws and in the process create immovable straw men.