I wonder you can troll indie hipsters by taking the dullest bits from Yes’ infamous “Tales From Topographic Oceans” and telling them it’s the new post-rock act everyone is talking about?
On listening to the cover disk for the current Prog Magazine, I get the impression that 90s Dream Theater is the new 80s Marillion when it comes to new prog bands whose technical skill exceeds their creative imagination.
Sometimes reviewing can be an exercise in tightrope-walking when you’re reviewing from within an incestuous fandom where everyone knows everyone else. On one hand honest reviews are a necessity for the long-term health of the scene. On the other you don’t want to damage relationships either with fellow-fans or the artists themselves. It’s difficult to write honest reviews without occasionally treading on metaphorical toes, no matter how hard you try to say things diplomatically.
How often does a much-hyped creative work end up leaving you cold? I’m not talking about heavily-promoted artistic flops like Oasis’ infamous “Be Here Now”. I’m thinking more of things that create a huge buzz within a given fandom, but leave you scratching your head over quite what all the fuss is about.
Rush’s 2012 album “Clockwork Angels” is a case in point. When it came out many music fans of my acquaintance were speaking of it as an album of year, but barring a couple of songs the album failed make any strong impression on me at all. No matter how many times I listened the bulk of the album ended up going in one ear and out the other. The brickwalled mastering didn’t help, but neither did the the album’s lack of memorable songs. For me at any rate, it wasn’t a patch on golden age Rush from the 70s and 80s, and compared poorly with later albums such as “Counterparts”.
Have similar things happened to you? Can you think of albums or other creative works where sometimes it feels as if you’re the only person who doesn’t get it?
Seeing people’s “Album of the Year” on the Classic Rock Magazine Facebook Page page, I can’t help feeling that those listing the workmanlike Black Sabbath or Deep Purple albums as best of the year haven’t heard that many 2013 releases.
If this lot had managed to win the qualifier and been the Estonian entry from the Eurovision Song Contest, it would have livened up last year’s finals no end.
The Daily Mail and their ilk were the first to go apoplectic when anyone said a word against Margaret Thatcher in the wake of her death.
Yet they don’t have a problem dancing on Lou Reed’s grave. And they don’t see any hypocrisy in it; they don’t think in terms of “right” and “wrong”, they think of “us” and “them”. Thatcher was one of their people about whom nothing bad can ever be said. Lou Reed, on the other hand, represents “the other” about whom nothing good may be said.
They can’t even spell the word “Glamour” properly…
Sometimes I wonder if the above video played a part in getting Fish’s song “All Loved Up” into the Polish singles chart. It represents exactly the sort of vacuous celebrity culture the song skewers. It epitomises the way mass-produced corporate pop is completely divorced from the world of real musicians making real music.
It’s mechanically-recovered extruded music product, featuring talent-free “artists” who are famous for being famous, whose success is based solely on the amount of money spent promoting them. There is absolutely no chance that this song will touch anyone’s soul and change their lives.
The “guitarist” is a embarrassed-looking model who looks as though she’s never seen anyone play a guitar in her life. But in words of manager Angelina Konkol. “It is better to look at beautiful models pretending to play the guitar than ugly musicians who actually play the guitar”.
What a load of cobblers.
Don’t want that. Watch this instead.
Most of the reviews I write on this site are strongly positive. Part of this is down to a self-imposed rule that I won’t write a negative review where I know the artist. And to tell the truth, records where my reaction is “meh” are harder to review; it’s always easier to say what you like or don’t like about a record that to expand “It’s OK but nothing special” to any length.
But does a site need a few less-than-positive reviews to put the positive ones into context?
I’m thinking of Dom Lawson’s reviews in The Guardian. Almost everything he writes is a solid four stars. I can appreciate the reasons why The Guardian’s only reviewer with a deep love and knowledge of rock and metal shouldn’t be devoting too much of a limited space to second or third rate records. There’s so much good stuff out there which no-one else on the site is likely to review fairly. But since taste is music is deeply subjective, the more you know about a reviewer’s own tastes the more you know how much you can trust their opinions. So perhaps it would be useful to know more about what Dom doesn’t like?
Back to this site. Should I try and write a few more less-than-positive reviews of albums and gigs that I wasn’t that impressed with? Or should I stick to what I actually like?
Every time I see someone use “Punk” as a metaphor for something that has nothing to with music, I always hear the sound of a middle-aged music bore looking back at their their adolescence through rose-tinted spectacles.