Musicians and writers often complain about the nastiness of their critics. But an article in the Friday June 15 edition of the UK's arty leftist Guardian title Sgt Pepper Must Die! suggests that delicate artistes can often be just as brutal when offering opinions on their peers.
Rock critic Paul Lester asked several well-respected musos and scribes, "to nominate the supposedly great records they'd gladly never hear again."
The rabid responses include the Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne dismissal of Nirvana's Nevermind ("Who is this band that sounds just like Nickelback? What are these drug addicts going on about?") and Art Brut's Eddie Argos slagging of the Stone Roses' debut ("It makes my skin crawl") while garage rock contrarian Billy Childish puts the boots to the Beatles' beloved Sgt Pepper ("The best thing about the album was the cardboard insert with some medals, a badge and a moustache").
Best-selling author Ian Rankin misses the point of the Velvet Underground And Nico entirely.
"It's one of the worst-produced albums of all time - put it on a modern hi-fi and you'll think: this sounds like shit. It's muddy, the volume comes and goes, the guitars are all out of tune, as is the viola. And Nico's voice is flat throughout - she sings English the way I sing German."
The greatest ire comes from post-punk provocateur Green Gartside of unlikely UK 80s hitmakers Scritti Politti. Not much of a fan a certain Montreal combo's Neon Bible, are we?
"What I hear in Arcade Fire is an agglomeration of mannerisms, cliches and devices. I find it solidly unattractive, texturally nasty, a bit harmonically and melodically dull, bombastic and melodramatic, and the rhythms are pedestrian. It's monotonous in its textures and in the old-fashioned, nasty, clunky 80s rhythms and eighth-note basslines. It isn't, as people are suggesting, richly rewarding and inventive. The melodies stick too closely to the chord changes. Win Butler's voice uses certain stylistic devices - it goes wobbly and shouty, then whispery - and I guess people like wobbly and shouty going to whispery, they think it signifies real feeling. It's some people's idea of unmediated emotion."
Not just that, but Arcade Fire totally rip-off the Talking Heads, too!