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#1: "Life-affirming". Get a grip. And a vocabulary.
All critism/journalism should always come from a purely personal view and say something about the journalists personal experience in relating to the art.
See the early film criticism of Godard, Truffaut etc from Cahiers du Cinema and you'll see some of the best journalism ever.
i also think this, but alexis petridis, guardian music critic, once said that this was the biggest faux pas a music journo could make.
Most writers are told never to write in the first person. I agree on the most part, it looks sloppy and unprofessional.
Especially IN THE FIFTIES!
Or you can get all of Truffaut's stuff in a book called "The Films of my Life"
I much prefer to write this way. It's definitely more suited to the 'blogosphere' than traditional forms of publishing though.
The critics of Cahiers du Cinema along with music journo's like Nick Kent, Charles Shaar Murray, Everett True, Greil Marcus etc all poured themselves into their writing. You got their own unashamedly individual take on things and i miss that.
Why do people think Charlie Brooker is so popular ? It's because he gives a deeply personal perspective that is intent on telling you what he thinks rather than what you should think
...easiest job in the world!
I'm not so sure. These people are highly talented, knowledgable and entertaining. Not everybody is
To me, they pretty much state the obvious. Entertaining though they are, it's not exactly hard to point out the flaws in a lot of television.
Avoiding writing in the first person is something you're taught in school in order to make rubbish essays by stupid people less embarrassing to read.
If you've got anything insightful or entertaining to say, give it as a personal perspective because that's what it is. Of course, very many music journalists do not have anything useful or entertaining to say.
#3: Focusing on the socio-economic repercussions of a socialist constitution rather then whether Silver Mount Zion's new album is actually good or not
so boring and stock.
a million times this
steer away from over-pompous reviews that go on about certain events that are a desperate bid on behalf of the reviewer to show how much they know about something. When I'm reviewing, all I want to write about is the music - not the fucking election campaign (unless there is a direct correspondence).
I also really hate reviews that are written like conversations, or plays. Yeah great, you've got an imagination but we all know that people who read internet reviews don't, so why bother?
Surely nobody outside of student journalism does this?
"Nick Drake on crack"
"S&M Davros on crack"
"Bastard child of X & Y vapid scenesters"
Anything written by Peaches Geldof.
skewers it something rotton
"Band 'x' plus band 'y' on drug 'z'"
"If you dono't like this, then you have no soul"
"Putting in lots of full stops. To. Add. Emphasis."
"I am sat here talking to" "tthe man opposite me" (I like first-person articles, but not if they're jammed with cliches)
when they say that a band takes their influences and combines them to form a sound all their own. this is almost never true.
being told that a band is the next big thing or that soon they'll be huge.
i couldn't give a shit about how big they are or will be !
possibly slipped into the first person once or twice.
At one time or another I've probably made all these mistakes.
I'm far from being a journalist though, I'm more of an idiot with to much time and to many opions on the internet.
just for his panda bear review
Aside from any unsubstantiated statement - reviews of music that don't actually mention the music (usually because though the reviewer enjoys listening to music, he knows fuck all about the actual mechanics of producing sound) take the cake.
...don't have much of a clue about the mechanics of producing sound either...
Most people don't have much of a clue about the mechanics of shooting a film either, but would you say that a film review would be richer without any discussion of the cinematography or sound production? If all that was mentioned was the story.
But it's just one part of the critical process. Over reliance or a blatant neglect of any aspect will mean the review is lacking in some way. It'll depend on the music in question, though. The production on an intricately produced hip-hop album would be a pretty massive part.
I'm glad it gives you so much pleasure to admit to being an ignant chavvy twunt so boastfully in public. Anything else?
"Here comes the science."
But they should never, EVER just 'describe' it. I mean, whats the point when people can just go away and listen to it? Music journalism should be about giving people a reason to listen to it/putting the music in some sort of context.
you're talking about music, not anything serious, you pretentious fuck
It means absolutely nothing, but so many reviewers use it.
Surely it depends on what they're referring to. If they mean relevant/irrelevant to life in general or some music scene, then it's clearly bollocks. If it's relevant/irrelevant to how they feel about music, then that's part of their personal opinion and means a hell of a lot in the context of the review. If music doesn't move you in some way, then why the hell are you listening to it? For pure entertainment? Because it makes you look cool?
They use it in much wider terms. "XXXXXXX has never been more relevant" or "XXXXX is becoming more irrelevant".
Inevitably becomes a piece about Tony Blair and New Labour
Is the most fucking annoying and meaningless band-hype sentence beginning ever. It featured in Kerrang magazine a lot in the late 90's. Anyone else hate this?
that people have mentioned :D
just like The Monkees.
Can British journalists please not use this term?
I got quite rightly derided for it when I used it once on this very site.
...which described a band's second album as their "sophomore debut".
maybe not so much now, but after funeral I ended up checking out so many bands that were the new 'arcade fire', most of them were crap
Thought it was apt when it was mentioned a year ago, now appears to be the stock go-to phrase when announcing the much-trumpeted arrival of, er, landfill-girltronica..?
instead of using words such as glacial and referring to windswept tundra lazy journo's now always seem to start reviews of any Icelandic music with something like, "It would be too easy to refer to shifting glaciers and windswept tundra when describing Icelandic bands..."
Wish they could just use their enormous brains to emote the music more imaginatively sometimes.
and start referring to the music as either "poor" or "bankrupt".
so fucking pompous. And meaningless.
Loads of the stuff above actually. Most of music journalism to be honest. Totally disagree with the bit about it being all about the journalist or whatever. Fuck that. Why do you think I care about you? See EVERETT TRUE. And did I ever tell you about that time when Kurt gave me that Daniel Johnston t shirt, when we were bezzie mates and everything? He was on stage at a flaming lips gig I went to about ten years ago. Stewart Lee was in the crowd and couldn't stop shouting at him to fuck off. Funny.Bit of a journo-off.
but as a journalist myself (well, kind of), I've been amazed at how many of the broadsheet record reviews are copied almost word-for-word from press releases, which really irritates me. My dad buys The Word, which I read through on occasion, and there's something about their house style which really, really grates with me; it's hard to articulate, but they tend to make these sweeping, portentous, pseudo-objective generalizations about bands which are always just slightly, irritatingly off the mark. Then again, I guess that's what you get when you employ people like David Hepworth...
my band got an awesome review a few weeks ago.
they commented on how great the sax was.
.... but the sax player didnt turn up..
what a load of shit.
supposedly once reviewed a gig that had been cancelled
i still miss it though :( not for the fabulous quality of its journalism or anything, just because it was something to read while waiting for a band to start
"The Strokes are sat in their tourbus..." Sat? What the fuck is that? The present participle of "to sit" is "sitting" you fuckwits. No one at NME seems to understand simple English grammar.
It's called "past tense". You fuckwit.
"are sat" is past simple passive voice. Be more discerning with your 'f-wit' strafing.
However, despite being grammatically incorrect traditionally, "they are sat" has worked it's way into grammar as a common British English colloquial form of "They are sitting" ('proper English') or "They are seated" (old-style more formal English).
I suspect the person who wrote "They are sat" is trying to make his English sound more working-class than it is.
I'm looking at you, Q
That's even worse!
but I get told by the publications I write for not to use it.
Only other faux pas would be my big emphasis on how big a certain band will be. It just personally excites me. I don't really mind if nobody else cares.
is to avoid adverbs. "If you need an adverb it probably means you have the wrong verb." So I notice that.
I also notice ending sentences with prepositions. *cough*
Or starting sentences with "That".
I hate when reviewers say things like "song makes me feel like I'm sitting on top of a purple mountain top with God," though I've lapsed into hyperbolic spiritual bullshit myself.
I've learned "dry" is better than "wet" writing. Don't get gushy on me, motherfucker!
Clever is good, but don't get carried away.
Keep the jokes to a minimum. Whenever I'm tempted with the jokes I realize they're a) not very funny and b) taking the piece way off track.
Which is my last pet peeve: Don't ramble; keep focused. I don't want to know about how the reviewer first heard the record walking his dog on the Thames, I don't give a shit how the bass player's second cousin used to be Bo Radleys etc.
that pitchfork do. Yes well done, you wrote a passable bit of prose about that shows how clever you are, unfortunately it tells me next to nothing.
were the editor's score for the prose?
but then I am a pretentious dick, so whatever. The Louis XIV one is one of my favourite things in the world ever.
attempts at objectivity
referencing other bands that the band in question plainly never listened to
why not give a subjective number? Same applies to Pitchfork reviews; if you're going to give your opinion on a record's merit then giving a score is a valid summary of that person's feelings towards it, whether it's out of 10 or 100.
why do you feel a need to put a numerical evaluation on your personal enjoyment of something?
YOU ONLY GAVE IT 7.7?!!? IT'S CLEARLY AN 8.3!!!!
If I see an album's been given numerous high scores I'll be inclined to listen to the band, but I doubt I'll go out and read every review of an album unless it's a band I feel strongly about. A number is an instant reference point for the general concensus. When an album's being disregarded as a result of negative reviews, that's slightly different. Few people would give an album an unfair hearing after a positive review. I mean, even thinking you like an album more than you do is less of a problem than seeing 3.3 on Pitchfork and not bothering to read the review, let alone listen to the record.
Also, giving stuff numbers is fun.
music taste is as personal as it gets so why pretend otherwise? how self important do you have to be to even think about applying some sort of objectivity to a record review?
unless the writer actually stresses what they like and what they want from a record, their words are completely redundant to anyone reading them
A general positive consensus from sources which have pointed me in the direction of bands I've grown to love is a strong indication that I will like the record.
if you mean metacritic then hahahahaha
obviously numbering a release objectively is impossible, but it's good to know at a glance what people think is very strong or very poor. on average when skimming sites quickly, i won't touch the 3/5 reviews, but the 4-5/5 and the 1/5 ones get a lot of attention. the former to see what the fuss is about, the latter for glorious, cheap schadenfreude.
that's the problem
one of those 3/5 albums might be the best thing you'll ever hear but you'll never know because you won't take a couple of minutes to read about it
there are an awful lot of albums kicking around, aren't there?
reading a 3/5 review of a record which will undoubtedly justify an 'average' / 'decent' score is very unlikely to make me buy a record is it?
Three out of five, three out of five (it's not enough)
Six out of ten
Better luck next time
really irriates me, because obviously bands are all about the lead singer whist the band are just a bunch of nameless 'Sleeper Blokes'.
And it annoys me no end when the reviewer makes point of saying that they missed the first band (or three) because of "transport issues", and this seems to happen in a lot of live reviews I see. It's a waste of the limited number of words reviewers get and always makes me think that they got paid for telling me that they missed half the bill.
I mean I don't think any of the music I love is particurlaly critically embraced.I'm suspicious of people with record collections that tick all the OMM/Mojo/Q reader Classic's boxes. I read reviews and stuff, but honestly most new music is driven by the size of a bands PR budget and then theres usually editorial politics to boot. So what you finally read might not actually be what the writer intended anyway.
Was it Frank Zappa who said that talking about music was like fishing about architecture or something. I can't remember, but I dunno, if it moves you and you like it cool.
i think it's attributed to a lot of people, but yeah, good quote.
utter bollocks of course. :)
which is mostly dedicated to analysing the band's image and/or supposed place in some barely existent "scene" and how that either makes them great or a bunch of cunts, then gives maybe a sentence or two to the music at the end
(and i have to mention one review i read of the futureheads's single "radio heart", which consisted entirely of a discussion of the practicalities of someone actually having a radio for a heart, and didn't cover the single even once. that was kind of impressive)
any publication where it's evident that it's being dictated from above that all writers must profess a liking for certain artists and a dislike of others, regardless of what they actually think (ie the nme)
the last issue of plan b i purchased was full of that, "yr" all over the place. its use seems to be restricted to the likes of plan b and here and probably pitchfork if ever i read that, as well as in the titles of various albums and songs that tend to appeal to the writers/readers of the above. where the fuck did it come from? and why won't it fuck off?
Black Mountain poets from the 50s? Maybe?
Ooh, poetry, validation, maybe they're being dead clever and referential
or tout pointlessly restricted angles along the lines of 'x did this and is shit or a negative influence, y is the antidote and what we should be celebrating'. hard to take you too seriously if i like x then, even though maybe i could like x and y. criticism that tries to impose a musical worldview on others, like it's politics or a game or something, basically sucks. also a lot of journos seem afraid to admit the fact that they're just one guy with a subjective opinion 'cos they think they'll look like a big pussy or something.
Whether the review is for a personal blog (in which case, write it however the hell you want), and whether the review is written by a music journalist, as in, a person who is paid to write about music as a profession. (Also, there's the sub-category of those paid tiny amounts to contribute reviews to mags or blogs or whatever).
I think the moral of the story, though, is reviews are defunct.
"Like getting hit over the head with a bottle, in a good way"
How is that possible you fuck? Get a vocabulary and stop being so sensationalist.
The use of clever words when it really isn't needed - using ennui or ersatz does not make you seem on a higher culturally level!
Also, not getting paid for it, and then reading an awful review of someone who does get paid - see The NME, Kerrang, Rocksound, DiS, Pitchfork, OMM…etc
First person is a big no no in the journalistic world, unless you can really relate it to something specific and have the depth of language to pull it off.
is where I go for music journalism treats. See laest AC record review:
Animal Collective are the Peter Pans of indie-rock. Four avant-garde thirtysomethings from Baltimore, whose stage names betray their regard for childhood, Panda Bear, Avey Tare, Geologist and Deakin have made eight albums of head-spinning, outré pop, the best of which evoke the fleeting highs of prepubescence when life is endowed with endless possibilities...Certainly Merriweather Post Pavilion is both ecstatic and informed by ecstasy.
that's a good one...finding an angle and then shoe horning the album to fit it rather than...you know...like...actually letting the album give you your angle.
boys been watching too much skins.
Dead people are so great. Since John Peel died I haven't heard his name without that phrase attached.
Reading this thread's reminded me why I stopped writing music reviews. I got so sick of trundling through the same stock phrases, which is hard to avoid in a 100 word review of something unspectacular which you recieved a day before the deadline. Or if you're constantly reviewing the same kind of music.
It made me rage
Not because of the score or anything, it was just
"[Journalist/Publication] talks to [Band] about [X], [Y], and [Z]."
lazy comparisons to radiohead. that fucks me off more than anything i think
alexis paedophile writes.