In Saturday's Washington Post, pop music critic Chris Richards penned an essay throbbing with dissatisfaction that today's protest music is inadequate for the Trump era. He began: "These are wild and anxious times for our wild and anxious planet. So why do the most visible protest songs of the Trump era feel so inert?... contemporary protest pop feels increasingly prominent, deeply unimaginative and embarrassingly insufficient."
While the Super Bowl had no hint of a national-anthem protest, liberals still found something to be angry about – “cultural appropriation” of two famous black men. Washington Post reporting intern Sonia Rao began: “In 2018, we heard Martin Luther King Jr speak and saw Prince perform during the Supreme Bowl....Both instances sparked immediate backlash online.” NPR implied that somehow you can't find Martin Luther King speeches except in Dodge commercials.
The Washington Post was a day late in whining about the lack of gun-control advocacy (or as they put it, “courage”) at the Country Music Association awards. Music writer Chris Richards wrote a “Critic’s Notebook” commentary headlined “A monolithic silence from top artists at CMA Awards.” Online, the headline was “Country music is becoming the soundtrack of a nonexistent, apolitical no-place.”
Did you realize Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” could be “weaponized” to instigate violence and that Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl” was “authoritarian hold music” similar to Adolf Hitler? If not, then you just aren’t listening, man. Washington Post music critic Chris Richards made the front page of the Style section with “And the Bland Played On.” The original online headline to the post was kookier: “Authoritarian hold music: How Donald Trump’s banal playlist cultivates danger at his rallies.” The essay reads more like an obscure blog post gone awry than somethhing worth of prominent play in a national newspaper:
Washington Post music critic Chris Richards wrote up Saturday’s Earth Day festivities on the national Mall on the front of Monday’s Style section. The headline was “At Earth Day rally, it was the message that needed saving.”
Richards liked the music, but didn’t like the talking. For example: “The event’s hosts, newscaster Soledad O’Brien and Black Eyed Peas bandleader Will.I.Am, appeared to have a rough time of it. O’Brien, either frustrated by glitchy teleprompters or perhaps not clear on how a concert works, actually shushed the crowd at one point.”
Over the years, the hip music critics have easily mocked the Grammy Awards for rewarding kitschy music. See: Milli Vanilli, Best New Artist. Oops. But that doesn’t mean Kanye West gets to declare himself the new dean of the rock critics like Robert Christgau.
Kanye threatened to storm on stage and take the Album of the Year award away from Beck and give it to Beyonce. Washington Post music critic Chris Richards actually applauded West’s antics on Thursday. His trash talk is apparently a treasure.
Graham Nash donated almost $4,000 to Barack Obama in 2008. But you'd never know it from Washington Post music writer Chris Richards, who penned a mouth-breathing valentine to Nash in Tuesday's paper titled "Resonant Rocker." The story begins "While America mulls over a foreign war," and Nash is preparing for a concert and dragging out a 42-year-old hippie peace anthem about "Military Madness."
Richards makes it obvious on Tuesday that he deeply loves hippie musician Graham Nash, who he says sings with an “incredibly handsome instrument” and “over the decades, his songbook has struck a rare and brilliant balance between the personal and the political, each lending more gravity to the other.” But the name Obama never comes up in the article. With Obama's wars and NSA spying scoops, it becomes especially ridiculous as Richards discusses 2006 concert by Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young that included the song "Let's Impeach the President":
Washington Post music writer Chris Richards has a political edge. Who can forget his gooey tribute to Obama press secretary Jay Carney’s musical taste for the band Guided By Voices? He can also leave out Obama when it’s convenient.
On Thursday, Richards wrote a story dominating the front of the Style section on “The Firing Lines of Chiraq,” as Chicago's rappers respond to the “epidemic of gun violence,” but names like Barack Obama or Mayor Rahm Emanuel never surfaced:
The Washington Post carried a huge, almost life-size picture of Jay Carney’s head in the Style section on Friday. But it was designed as a pick-me-up for the embattled Obama spinner. It was a story about...Carney and his favorite rock band.
“Benghazi and the IRS have kept Carney scrambling, and he hasn’t had much time to listen to ‘English Little League,’ the latest album from the Ohio indie-rock band [Guided by Voices] he has affectionately name-dropped in more than one news briefing.” Critics want Carney canned, but the Post wants him to feel happy about the “beer-soaked brilliance” of his favorite rockers:
The new Natalie Maines record is continuing to spur music writers to slam the "cowardice" of the country-music industry and the stuffiness of the country-music audience in the aftermath of Maines trashing President Bush at a London concert on the eve of the Iraq war.
On the NPR show "Fresh Air" on Wednesday, music critic Ken Tucker insisted Maines was just ahead of where the majority would arrive on Bush's wrong-headedness:
In a glowing review of The Roots' new album "undun," Washington Post music critic Chris Richards lamented it was "too bad" that the band's choice of Fishbone's "Lyin' A** B*tch" to introduce Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann on the November 21 Late Night with Jimmy Fallon will likely be "the one song" that the band will "be remembered for" most in 2011.
"The band considered it a joke. Certain corners of the media considered it an outrage," Richards noted (emphasis mine):