Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Critic

In college, I occasionally wrote CD reviews for this reputable student weekly. And I think I was pretty awful at it.

When writing about music, I tend towards the same tropes, and it makes my writing seem really flat. A not necessarily exhaustive list of these tropes:
  • The Historical Context Theory - Offer a brief history of the trajectory of the band, citing previous albums, personal tragedies and triumphs, record-label switches and the like. Then offer my own brilliant! theory of where this most-recent album fits in. Bo-ring (though I'm sure it'd be better if I had better theories; I do not).


  • Teh Descriptor! - Engage in annoyingly overwritten description of what the album's sounds like, using phrases like "machine-gun drumming" and "stuttering guitars". Seems very, very forced when I do it. Lame.


  • The Smackdown - Trash the album with ever-harsher swipes at the band, ending in ad hominem attack. This kind of writing is really easy, and it can even be sort of devilishly fun to do. But again: boring, and usually unproductive since it doesn't really offer a critique.


Which is all a way of telling you that, yesterday, I heard Melissa Block's interview with The Weakerthans' John K. Sampson. It's a good interview, and it reminded me to pick up their new album, Reunion Tour.

First impressions? I like it. But I couldn't tell you why.

4 Comments:

Blogger CrowdedMill said...

I too heard the interview with John Sampson this week. I was thinking of getting that album too. I have found more than a few interesting bands/albums from NPR's interviews.
Some of my favorites:
Spoon: Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
The Decemberists: The Crane Wife
Amos Lee: Amos Lee
Ray LaMontagne: Till the Sun Turns Black

Hmmm...I have a five hour drive to PA tonight. I may have to dig that LaMontagne CD out...

28/9/07 12:52 PM  
Blogger Stanley said...

I have a standing order from my friend to listen to Ray Lamontagne. He's played me a few songs, but I need to get him to burn me a mix or something.

Boobers? You out there? Mix CD, please.

28/9/07 12:58 PM  
Blogger The Neoskeptic said...

ray lamontagne played an acoustic set a few years ago at the now defunct music hall on West Main street (rhymes with "bar pill").

apparently, when people in the audience were talking and shuffling about the room, Ray stopped playing, bitched them out and told them to shut up, and then continued playing. story was he did this multiple times.

1/10/07 12:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

10/1/10 10:36 AM  

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