Maybe we could spend extra time in 2012 thinking about how we, as individual listeners, respond when the music of the present seems especially connected to the music of the past. To figure out when and why we forgive artists that seem only the sum of very clear influences and when and why we actually seek out such artists. And maybe we could articulate a set of criteria for when “originality” is important to us. What does it really mean to “transcend influences”? Is that something that can be explained? What does it really mean to say an artist has a “unique voice”? We use these terms often, but I’m not sure we’re clear in our own minds what we mean by them.
Maybe you have some proposed New Year’s resolutions for music critics in 2012?