October 29, 2007 by A.C. Rhodes
pet peeves when it comes to music journalism? This includes reviews, narratives & interview formats. Swing away!
Category: Question of the Week
Over-referencing a current act with other current acts. Pitchfork and the review sections of predominantly-non-music mags like Bust have gotten better about this, but saying The Fever sounds like The Faint with bits of The Whatever thrown in are pretty useless reviews, leaving the casual music fan behind.
One of the standards to which I try to hold my reviews is: after reading this, would I know what this record/band sounds like had I never heard it before. I don;t know that I am categorically successful in that regard, but its what I go for.
I have a personal bias against artist biographies overtaking a review, but a lot of readers need to get to know their rock stars before they get to know the music, so its a necessary thing sometimes. Once upon a time when rock stars were larger than life and the press about them more rarified, this was a key practice, building up and then tearing down the mythologies, but now with an online tide raising all ships, artist bios hit me as kinda empty.
The word ‘angular.’
First-person narratives, commentary and anecdotes. Any more I get the feeling that a lot of thse “full of personality” writers who are all hung up on self-reference are wankers who want THEMSELVES to be just as important and interesting as the band he or she is covering. I read magazines and websites to read about bands and music, not about some writer’s “cool” personality.
I tend to agree, generally, with Mr. Secret.
But if one has to use the first person, try “me” or “I” instead of “this reporter,” “this reviewer,” of anything such.
Also: when I read a review, I want to find out about the music, not marvel at the writer’s wit in putting down an act.
When I read a review of a reissue or some other historical album, I don’t want the reviewer to copy the bio (especially without attribution) from the liner notes. Maybe a sentence to clue people who might not know who the subject is, then all about the record: what’s on it, how does it sound, what’s the packaging like, and so.
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