Critic's choice: I was very disappointed to read Richard Bom's letter in the February 10 issue bashing Jason Heller for his review of Ani DiFranco's Knuckle Down. Although I like the little I have heard from the new record -- yes, Richard, thanks to XM Radio, Ani does enjoy fairly regular rotation on the satellite these days --Jason is certainly entitled to his opinion. Mr. Bom should know that reviewers unavoidably bring their personal tastes to any critique. Over time, any intelligent reader should be able to discern whether or not a particular critic's views hold water for that reader. Any art form is subjective by its very nature.
Of course, Mr. Bom's response was not particularly surprising, as Ani's fans tend toward the fanatic --hanging on every lyric, every slap of the guitar, speculating on all aspects of her life, from her sexual orientation to the length of her armpit hair (true story!).
What was surprising, however, and wholly inappropriate in my opinion, was Bom's lampooning of "you music critics, people who lack any creative ability...." I do not know Jason personally, but I did happen to bump into him once. His band, Red Cloud, was recording in the studio next door to my session. The very creative and hauntingly honest music coming out of their room compelled me to come over and see who was responsible and pay my compliments.
In the future, I would hope that Mr. Bom would be content to enjoy Ani DiFranco's music without the need for validation from every music critic out there, and that he might refrain from slinging insults at those who do not share his enthusiasm.