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Re: “Toby Keith and the American Way

Lawngun has well-illustrated that different people can enjoy music that requires different depths of listening and understanding. And an individual can appreciate music at various depths, as well.

Yoyo and Mr. Arnold do a fine job of illustrating this at the other extreme. They are the purveyors of merit in and of themselves, willingly condemning whole swaths of the population to feeblemindedness. To me, that's much too simplistic, and, judging by the review itself, I bet Ms. Cushing would agree.

Our languages, jack, may not be as divergent as you think. I never said Keith was unassailable, nor do I mind any thoughtful critique of his (or anyone's) music. That's just it! The review didn't attempt to critique the music, instead off-handedly dismissing it without much comment. I'll cry foul on that every time I see it, regardless of the artist or genre involved (as I do when some try to claim that rap isn't "real" music).

This was never really about Toby Keith for me. I would have reacted similarly if the review had instead cavalierly dismissed Blake Shelton, Rise Against, the Doobie Brothers or Motley Crue. I just dont believe anyone who builds and sustains a fan base for an extended period can be written off. You can't fake it for 10 or 20 years. There's gotta be something there.

My reluctance to defend Keith, besides not being the real point of my participation here thus far, is mainly because I'm not sure it's worth it. If I'm going to attempt a meeting of the minds with someone, I'd probably prefer it be over something weightier. However, jack, if you want to take it off the board, I'd be happy to start a side conversation about Keith's or anyone else's music.

Posted by chuckaly on 08/11/2011 at 8:46 PM

Re: “Toby Keith and the American Way

You're still missing my point, jack. A deconstruction of Keith's merits musically, politically or otherwise might be a fun exercise, but not really what I was getting at and, frankly, not something to which I want to devote much time. There are plenty of places you can go to find info on him and his music if you're interested.

It's pretty simple, so let me put it to you this way: Has Toby developed a following by accident? Are the millions of people who have enjoyed his music over the years flat out wrong? Are they ALL complete idiots?

YOU don't have to like him, and I doubt anyone could sway you even if they tried. But to take a stance that he is completely without merit (no matter how much you dislike him) is also pointing a finger at a lot of people and saying, "You and your opinion have no validity."

If you're willing to go there, you're saying a lot more about yourself than you are about Toby Keith or any other artist you don't like.

Posted by chuckaly on 08/11/2011 at 10:49 AM

Re: “Toby Keith and the American Way


Thanks for defining the parameters in which I am able to disagree with you.

I actually don't have a problem with you thinking Toby Keith sucks. And you probably don't care that I can't stand Bob Dylan. But I would be compelled to call out anyone who said either was a crappy musician.

It simply defies logic.

Music critics, in particular, should know better.

Judging by her profile, Ms. Cushing is young and still in the stage where she's sure of pretty much everything. I imagine as she matures as a person and writer she'll take a less caustic approach and realize it's okay that different people like different things.

Her piece is actually nicely nuanced and pretty insightful -- but for her easy dismissal of the music. She notes the "apolitical" and other surprising tendencies in the audience and completely misses them in Keith's music -- and it's his music that brought such a varied constituency to Shoreline in the first place!

If she absolutely can't find anything redeeming in Toby Keith or any other artist she is assigned to write about (everyone has blind spots), she can skip it and her editors can (should) send someone else. To casually deem an accomplished performer as completely lacking in merit is an affront to those particular fans and a disservice to the publication's readers. Not to mention reflecting poorly on the writer's willingness and/or ability to grasp the subject they have been assigned to cover.

Posted by chuckaly on 08/10/2011 at 4:05 PM

Re: “Toby Keith and the American Way

Clever, well-written, somewhat predictable and hugely condescending. Reminds me to attend the next gathering of music critics and write a witheringly snarky send-up of their equally predictable affectations. Oh wait, that's right, music critics are much too cool to actually gather in groups.

Only one completely unforgivable mistake here, though, and that's in asserting Keith isn't a very good musician. Uh, what? Empirically speaking, his track record as a songwriter who's penned almost all of his own material puts him in Billy Joel/Elton John territory. Beyond, really, but even a thorough comparison of airplay, charts and sales leaves some room for debate. He's also a vastly underrated vocalist, but there's no good metric for that.

You don't have to like him, his music or his fans, but to dismiss his musical abilities is abjectly ignorant, lazy or both.

Advice to writers: When taking forceful stands on any topic or event, don't include glaring inaccuracies. They undermine your other omniscient opinions.

Posted by chuckaly on 08/10/2011 at 8:26 AM

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