Dear Cherry Bluestorms Fans:

It will come as no surprise to our sophisticated listeners that artists’ work may be judged by a wide variety of people with a wide span of musical tastes. It is equally true that those who set up shop as authorities may or may not be qualified, whether their tastes happen to coincide with ours or not. Having the greatest tolerance for differences in taste, I tend to overlook the more subjective commentaries, whether negative or otherwise. Nevertheless, it offends me as a reader and intelligent consumer of music when I read unsupported conclusions, inaccurate information or misguided aesthetic judgments. These are generally offered as a result of willful ignorance of the work or genre. It therefore brought a sense of satisfaction and justice served when I read the following retort and upbraiding to the recent “The Pop! Stereo” review of Bad Penny Opera (see link below for The Pop! Stereo review).


Dear The Pop! Stereo:

Regarding your review of Bad (not “Ban”) Penny Opera:

The last thing I wish to do is to seem defensive. Everyone has a “right” to their opinion. But I believe a reviewer has an obligation to have some knowledge and understanding in order to have a valid opinion before expressing it publically.

Had you read the cover credits, you would have seen that the cover was painted by Peter Carpenter, “after Paul Davis”. The title is a play on Three Penny Opera. Paul Davis painted a famous poster for the 1976 New York Shakespeare Festival production of Three Penny Opera. Our cover was meant to be provocative in that we substituted the very feminine, but mustachioed Deborah Gee in the role of “Penny” for the male Macheath character in Three Penny Opera. You seem to think that the dripping red poster paint utilized for the title was meant to depict blood. That would be erroneous.

If you were out to review an album that “is loosely some sort of concept album”, one would think you would conquer your intellectual laziness so far as to figure out what the concept might be, for the benefit of your readership. Nearly all of the other reviewers of BPO were able to identify the concept, extract meaning from it and then made appropriate and enlightening comments. I’m sorry that you didn’t bother to research or consider the central meaning of our work before disparaging it. As for the music itself, I merely point out two things:
All of the other reviews were positive and nearly all of the other reviewers took the trouble to say why.

All art takes meaning from context. By neglecting to consider the concept and therefore the context, your points of reference as a reviewer are deficient if not necessarily invalid. I do not believe that you do your readers a service by making it known whether you like or dislike a work. Everyone will necessarily have their own taste and opinion. What is valuable from a reviewer but absent from this review, is a knowledge-based description of the work and an enlightened interpretation of the work, whereby an informed public can make up its own mind.

Better luck next time.

Yours truly,

Glen Laughlin
The Cherry Bluestorms

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