A Word About Music Reviews

I love music. I know damn near nothing about it, but I love it so. Not to be a corporate shill, but if I was going to be, I’d have to promote the shit out of Spotify Premium. (Even with some valid criticism that’s been thrown the company’s way.) For only $10 a month, it allows you to stream damn near anything on any device, and for people like me, it completely blew the doors off of my already voracious appetite for any and all music I might have even a passing interest in. I think that I have a pretty eclectic taste, with a vested interest in genres ranging from pop-punk to heavy metal to post-hardcore to hip hop to industrial to alternative country to all sorts of nonsensically-named subgenres.

Because I love music so much, I’ve thought of doing some reviews for it, but I’ve been hesitant. When I say I know nothing about music, I mean I don’t really understand how it works. I’ve taken several music theory classes in my life and somehow managed to absorb none of it. Whenever my musician friends use terms like ‘dynamic range’ and ‘polyrhythms,’ I nod politely and try to ignore my hemorrhaging brain. When I’m at rehearsals for musicals and hear the musicians relay instructions like, “We play 1 on the downbeat,” I try to complete my work as quickly as possible, lest I suffer an aneurysm. “What’s so complicated about playing guitar?” I think to myself. And then I watch someone play guitar, and I say nothing.

I have difficulty hearing bass lines. I have trouble telling strings from synthesizers. I don’t notice what all the instruments are doing because I ‘m too busy focusing on the guitar, or the vocals, or the piano, or that awesome drum bit in the bridge. I think I was 17 when I figured out a bridge was in musical terms. And I tend to get my music news from outlets such as Alternative Press and AbsolutePunk.net, which, depending on how plugged in you are into any given scene, is either laudable or laughable.

But then I think about an album like this. And how nobody I know listened to it. And you should totally listen to it. And I should write a review about that album so other people will hear about it and maybe listen to it. And I will. But not right now. I want to review another album. But so I just want you to know that when I write a music review, I may not be able to tell you what each instrument is doing that makes a song so cool – at least not accurately. Instead, I’m just going to try and tell you what an album made me feel – which is what I normally listen to music for anyway. Of course, going that route runs the risk of writing the sort diarrhetic hyperbole that gushes from Pitchfork Media every day because seriously, fuck those guys. Maybe calling their writing ‘diarrhetic hyperbole’ means I’m already there. Maybe I’m getting off track.

The point is: there’s some albums I’d like to talk about, and I’d like to talk about them using words I understand. I guess I’m saying that I hope those words are understandable.


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