Sunday Best Vol. 01 | No. 07

Everyone is a Critic

No artist wants to be on the end of harsh public criticism but are artists becoming too fragile and defensive in the face of critics?

This week I came across an interesting video of the music critic Anthony Fantano doing a review of the hip hop artist Logic, doing a review of Fantano’s review of Chance the rapper album, The Big Day. If this sounds a bit confusing, that is because it is. Essentially Logic offers a critique of Fantano’s review style in what appeared to be a bit of a publicity stunt from the artist in the run-up to the release of his album College Park, on February 24.

Logic suggests that Fantano is overly harsh in his criticism and biased against artists he doesn’t personally like. Perhaps Logic was making his points tongue in cheek, but could be setting a bad precedent for the fragile artist that can’t take criticism. In response, Fantano defends his position asserting that he takes his role seriously and strives for honesty in his reviews. Both make some interesting points and they got me wondering if professional criticism still has a place in the age of the internet and social media.

For his part, Anthony Fantano has revitalised a dying art for a younger generation⏤the album review⏤with his YouTube channel, The Needle Drop. He is probably, at present, the most well-known or recognisable in his field, and with that does wield significant influence with consumers. And so to my original question⏤do we still need critics?

I think the answer to that question is yes. While everyone has platforms at their disposal to express their opinions, professional critics still provide important context and analysis that go beyond personal opinions, and often bring years of experience and expertise to their evaluations. Moreover, while social media has democratised the conversation, it has also increased the noise, making it harder for consumers to find valuable and informed opinions.

I also found a fascinating video from the 1990s by Siskel and Ebert⏤perhaps the most famous film critics in film history⏤where they advise young critics on how to be honest and forthcoming in their reviews, especially in a world of political correctness.

Obviously, the world has moved on from the 1990s and the idea of political correctness has evolved considerably since then. Political correctness has been important to correct systemic inequalities and a way to promote greater inclusivity and respect for diverse perspectives. However, in some ways, in the realm of cultural criticism, perhaps the critic’s job has become a lot more difficult to navigate where certain perspectives or ideas are privileged over others, and in which criticism is constrained by a desire to avoid offence or controversy.

Criticism can be considered an art form in itself, as it involves the careful evaluation, interpretation, and expression of one’s thoughts and opinions on a particular work of art. Just as painters or writers may use their skills to create a work of art, critics use their skills to analyse and evaluate the work of others, and to communicate their ideas in a clear and compelling way.

Let’s support the critics and avoid a future where this film wins the Oscar for best screenplay:

Here is a list of some well-known critics in various fields both historical and contemporary:


  • Roger Ebert: Considered one of the most influential film critics of all time, Roger Ebert was the film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times from 1967 until his death in 2013. He also co-hosted several TV shows, including Sneak Previews and At the Movies.

  • Pauline Kael: Pauline Kael was a film critic for The New Yorker from 1968 to 1991. Her writing was known for its wit, passion, and incisive analysis, and she was a major influence on film criticism in the second half of the 20th century.

  • A.O. Scott: A.O. Scott is a film critic for The New York Times. He has won numerous awards for his writing and is known for his thoughtful and perceptive reviews.

  • Manohla Dargis: Manohla Dargis is also a film critic for The New York Times. She has won multiple awards for her criticism and is known for her incisive analysis of films and the film industry.

  • Mark Kermode: A film critic, broadcaster, and writer, Kermode is known for his extensive knowledge of and passion for cinema.


  • Harold Bloom: Harold Bloom was a literary critic and scholar who wrote over 40 books on literature, including The Anxiety of Influence and The Western Canon. He was a professor of humanities at Yale University from 1955 to 1990.

  • James Wood: James Wood is a literary critic and essayist who has written for The New Yorker, The Guardian, and The New Republic. He is known for his insightful analysis of contemporary fiction and his advocacy for the art of the novel.

  • Michiko Kakutani: Michiko Kakutani was a book critic for The New York Times from 1983 to 2017. She won a Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 1998 and is known for her insightful reviews and ability to identify trends in contemporary literature.

  • Parul Sehgal: Parul Sehgal is a book critic for The New York Times. She has won multiple awards for her criticism and is known for her eloquent and perceptive analysis of literature.


  • Robert Christgau: Robert Christgau is a music journalist and critic who has written for The Village Voice, Rolling Stone, and NPR. He is known for his Consumer Guide reviews, in which he assigns letter grades to albums and songs.

  • Lester Bangs: Lester Bangs was a music journalist and critic who wrote for Creem, Rolling Stone, and The Village Voice. He was known for his passionate, irreverent, and sometimes confrontational writing style.

  • Ann Powers: Ann Powers is a music critic for NPR. She has written several books on music and is known for her wide-ranging knowledge and ability to connect music to larger cultural and social issues.

  • Jon Caramanica: Jon Caramanica is a music critic for The New York Times. He has won several awards for his criticism and is known for his provocative and insightful takes on popular music.


Kenny Beats – Louie

Kenny Beats has made a name for himself as one of hip-hop’s most versatile producers over the last five years. With Louie, his full-length debut, he pays homage to his father, a former broadcaster, through radio-style transitions and recordings of his voice. The album is a joyous, funky, and texturally dynamic record bursting with soul samples, warm studio instrumentation, and a range of complicated emotions.

Listen to the album on your favourite streaming platform.

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Enjoy your Sunday, wherever you are.

Featured image by @dzabello