Critical Failure: Popular Music

Critical Failure: Popular Music

Critiquing music can be fraught: whether it was Miles Davis or Elvis Costello who said it first, ‘writing about music is like dancing about architecture’. Our first event on the art of music criticism focuses on popular music.

Led by Lawrie Zion, critics Chris Johnston, Clem Bastow and Mikey Cahill discuss the role of the modern music journalist - as buying advisor, social historian, cultural critic - and how it’s become about everything but the music.


Portrait of Chris Johnston

Chris Johnston

Chris Johnston is a senior writer and music critic with the Age.

Portrait of Clem Bastow

Clem Bastow

Clem Bastow is an award-winning cultural critic and cake-baker. Her work appears in the Saturday Paper and Guardian, and she co-presents Superfluity on 3RRR. In 2017 she co-presented the ABC professional wrestling podcast Behind The Belt, and she co-produced the first wrestling 'death match' ever held on Tasmanian soil, Night Massacre, for Dark Mofo in 2018.

When she's not fighting crime by night, Clem works as a tutor in screenwriting at the University of Melbourne, and she is currently undertaking a PhD in action cinema and screenwriting at RMIT.

Portrait of Mikey Cahill

Mikey Cahill

Mikey Cahill writes the Rock City column for News Ltd.

Portrait of Lawrie Zion

Lawrie Zion

Lawrie Zion is a senior lecturer in La Trobe University’s journalism.

Listen to Critical Failure: Popular Music