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.