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8 September, 2004

Critical admiration

I posted the following at the official Porcupine Tree discussion forum a few minutes ago, but there's a wider relevance, summarising my attitude to music as a whole, so I'll repost it here.
It's in response to someone who expressed a degree of guilt at 'failing' to find the debut Blackfield album absolutely wonderful (good, but not great), unlike more 'loyal' fans.

I like 'Blackfield' quite a lot, but I wouldn't call it the best thing I've ever heard in my life! I can't imagine myself 'raving' over any album, really.

Though I might use the word occasionally as convenient mental shorthand, I really don't regard myself as a 'fan' (literally: 'fanatic') of any artist. The term 'critical admirer' was coined at a Jethro Tull forum a couple of years ago, and I regard that as a better description - I have a predisposition to like certain music, and hence certain bands, but I don't buy into personality cults and I don't mindlessly lap up whatever a band deigns to release, uncritically.

I have no loyalty to any band - each new release has to impress me afresh, and I don't feel I 'ought' to like something because it's by an artist whose material I've liked in the past. I'll listen to online samples of the next Porcupine Tree album, then decide whether to buy it - it genuinely isn't a foregone conclusion.

The same applies to other bands. My predisposition towards the music of Jethro Tull was enough reason for me to try online samples of 'Rupi's Dance' last year, but I didn't like what I heard, so I didn't buy that Ian Anderson 'solo' album. The fact I host the Tull Tour History, which features setlists of recent concerts, doesn't mean I have the remotest interest in attending one.

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