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Wednesday, January 25, 2012


I started thinking about this, album reviews, after I read an extremely funny one on Metal Archives. Really, why do we read reviews? Why do people write them? Is it supposed to be a democratic process? Do some people have a superior musical taste and vision that most of us just lack? Frankly, I don't know.

Review 1 : OMG! They have done i again! Love these guys! Fantastic - 10/10

Fanboi review. The kind for who, certain bands can do no wrong. Not really over the top, but a little stupid at times. Can be blatantly blind.

Review 2 : Can we move on please? This is boring! - 1.5/10

Someone who listens to a lot of music and is certainly trend hopping. Because the alternative would be someone like Dom Lawson, somebody, who has genuinely heard a lot of music and can objectively review the material. I am not saying he/she does not have a point. But then the review does not contain the explanation, just a bloated, overhyped rhetoric of how cool the person is and how much music he/she has heard and how he/she has moved on from shit like this.

Review 3 : Good album. Could have been more innovative, but can't be faulted with. - 6.5/10

Most of the people fall in this category. The average, the bourgeois. Not to say that they are totally wrong or whack, but just playing it safe. This is a subset of the fanboi category with some caution thrown in. You can find the most relevant criticisms leveled against an album in such reviews, albeit not one but all of them read and digested and then synopsized. The cowardice aside.

Review 4 : Hearing them for the first time and hating it! - 1/10 

This is faggot central, right here. If you haven't heard the band before this, how do you conclude that you hate it? Some music tends to grow on you and some is first listen love. More often than not, these review will include phrases like "XYZ is so much better technically", or "this movement has stagnated" or "they should be incorporating some of ABC in their music". These are reviewers, I feel like taking a digital hacksaw to.

Let us get some things straight. Music is as objective as it gets. I think Nicki Minaj is terrible and so is Justin Bieber. I think Meshuggah is goddam awesome and Lamb of God are great. But I have drawn my own lines where I think something is good or terrible.

Technical perfection and complexity for some might mean unnecessary digressions for others. Progressive influences might mean straying away or losing it for others. Heavy music might mean noise to others. Party rock can mean terrible thoughtless music for some. All of this is objective.

According to me, being able to draw a line based on logic, musical taste and common sense is the best way to review music.  Being open minded is a pre-requisite when listening to new stuff. A review is made up of many aspects :
1. certainly the music
2. but also the lyrics
3. themes
4. style of music
5. history of the artiste.

Nobody is forcing you to give a reason for why you like or dislike certain music. But giving a sane and logical reason makes for a more believable review. Disagreement can ensue, but you make the other person think about the reasons that you just stated. That might just change things around.

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