Originally Posted by Strangelove
It seems to me that the people that we have reviewing music are all too often not musicians, whereas sports retains ex-athletes at least as advisors. Instead of discussing drop D tunings, harmonies, 12 Bar Blues, syncopations, shuffles, riffs, etc, our music mag reviewers are too busy yacking on and on about Mick's lips, Iggie's (lack of) attire, or how many masks Peter Gabriel can wear in one show. I don't think any music publications that I know of have ever tried to hire people who were technically capable to even discuss musical issues - only observations that any non-musician would have about an artist, with the exception of technical mags like Drum, or Guitar magazines.
So true. On the other hand, I know many musicians who avoid writing reviews because either 1) they'd rather spend their time making music, 2) they don't have the patience to articulate music theory in a way that non-musicians can easily understand, and 3) they have to write about their peers, which is not always easy if the review is critical.
Right now, I'm handling a college course in music theory for non-music majors. My students are majors in Art Studies, Film/Broadcast production, and Literature, and started off with zero knowledge of music theory. After walking them through basic reading and writing rhythm, melody, and functional harmony, my final presentation/term paper is for them to write a review of two popular songs (one they like and the other they don't) which includes simple formal analysis. I told them of the sad state of popular music reviews, and challenged them to do better. I'm looking forward to hearing their presentations starting next week.