The difference between OED definitions #1 and #2 is that #1 is the common public conception of the meaning of "criticism." The truth is, though, #2 is usually expected of most critics. I am discovering this as I write more and more music reviews for editors, and absorb their advice, input, and goals. What I see is happening though, is that objectivity itself, the act of merely describing, is strikingly biased as well.
It makes sense to me that there will be many more 'bad' reviews than 'good' ones. This is representative of the general quality of music out there: there is so much more bad than good. Most music is mediocre at best. I realize that I am a more critical person than most (in the sense of def. #1), and I fully believe that the relative few treasures more than make up the lack in everything else. And I also acknowledge the pleasure derived from ripping on awful music; though I can't in any way make that sound anything but malicious, it's nevertheless true. I love to bash awful music.
Some people argue that it doesn't do any good to be so negative. So many bands are struggling just to keep on it; why would somebody want to expend the extra effort just to further discourage them? Well, in the example of certain horrible bands, I would say that that is precisely my goal. I would also say that opening a discussion on a band is nothing but good for that band, because there is always someone else with a different opinion, and writing about it brings it into people's conscious thoughts. Any press is good press. Besides, if you ask me, it's the rare musician who really has what it takes to perservere, and I am not even referring to musical skill. If someone has it in them, that alone will get him where he needs to go. That's the kind of faith I have, and it's the kind of faith you need in order to keep on it.
Of course, maintaining this kind of faith is what prompts me to seek it out in others. The people I have surrounded myself with are recognizably radiant in it, and the musicians I respect, whether I know them personally or not, are similarly aglow. And this is what I mean about being objective; a critic can only be objective within her own worldview. Even when I try my damndest to avoid a bias, it's only some poetic ambiguity, or distanced technical language that is a device for feigning interest. I want to add, also, that the challenge of this kind of writing is strangely enticing as well - sort of an exercise in subtlety.
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