Wednesday, October 11


I always end up doubting myself (and the decisions I make) regarding blogs, blogging, and writing in general. Reading that Hitchcock post - it isn't very good. Part of it is rust - still got to clean the pipes out, get things flowing. Part is that it I find it both hard and somewhat pointless to evaluate or review a new release. Music is not something that is just part of my life - it is integral, a true soundtrack. I live with and inhabit music, or perhaps I should say music inhabits me. Whether purposely consumed or a product of unconscious osmosis, I seem to pick up things here and there from both the new and the old. Asides aside for a moment; much like a pair of shoes, I find it difficult to pass judgment on music until I have lived with it and kicked it about in different situations.

Reviews often strike me as the worst of all worlds. Combine facts of a press release or liner notes with snap judgements and a deadline (or at least, some perceived need for timeliness) and hope for the best. Some small number of these concoctions surprise in their level of insight or astuteness, but as the saying goes, even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and again. Most fall nearer the old(ish) chestnut (attributed to everyone from Martin Mull to Thelonious Monk to Elvis Costello), ""Writing about music is like dancing about architecture." Of course, this makes it interesting in that modern dance could probably do a wonderful job with architecture, though writing about music still is a challenge. Mayhap Zappa was onto something when he said, "Rock journalism is people who can't write interviewing people who can't talk in order to provide articles for people who can't read." I certainly have moments where I can only nod in sympathy.

The short of this is that I don't like reviewing. In wishing to avoid the traps of the MadLib approach (ARTIST NAME has released their new album ALBUM NAME, which sounds like ANOTHER ARTIST NAME mixed with A THIRD ARTIST NAME. The standout tracks TRACK NAME and ANOTHER TRACK NAME evoke AN ARTIST NAME, leaving this reviewer AN ADJECTIVE.), I do things like "real time" impressions, or I write stories that are evocative of the feel of the album, or, best of all, I just give my opinion without placing a value judgment upon it. If I like it, I do my best to state why. If I dislike something, I'll try to do my best to explain the reasoning. I don't place much value on artistic intent - if you mean to paint an apple but it comes out looking like a pear, I don't see why I should care - I just judge the pear as a pear, you know? Of course, there are exceptions to every rule.

In summation, don't expect many reviews, at least in the traditional sense. I'm not happy with that Olé! Tarantula write up, which is a little too vague too often. I do have some things planned for the next few days, so stay tuned. Maybe another podcast? I got a hold of a long lost favorite, from the time of shoulder pads and big hair, when "Wicked awesome!" wasn't an exclamation only in daily use in Maine...

No comments: