On Reviews (again)

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.

This entry was posted in asides, Music, Music Opinion. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to On Reviews (again)

  1. In some fandoms, being honest with your reviews — calling a fan darling out for what it is, for instance — is often seen as being bad form. I wondered why, until one day another fan put it this way: When a given fandom is embattled and small to begin with, it’s our duty to support even the parts of it we don’t like for the sake of the health of the fandom as a whole. I couldn’t disagree more.

  2. Sam Lewis says:

    Yeah. When something stinks, it stinks!

  3. Tim Hall says:

    When it comes to honest reviews, there’s a difference between being very negative towards something you strongly dislike, and offering constructive feedback in response to something which is good but could have been better.

    In a small and incestuous fandom the former is something I’d never do. If someone from the UK club-level progressive rock scene made a record as bad as Death Metal Christmas I would probably just ignore it, at least on public forums.

    (Edit – meant “former”, not “latter”)

  4. Thor lawrence says:

    It does not help that many can not read a text diplomatically — i.e. considering the meaning and context — and so they ignore nuances and possible alternative interpretations.

  5. Tim Hall says:

    Indeed. I’m always apprehensive whenever I publish a review for an artist I know personally, because I never know how they’ll react.

    On one hand I’ve had artists telling me they want honest feedback that tells they how they can improve their act. On the other I’ve had people telling me my duty as a fan is to be uncritically supportive at all times.

    And I need to be careful what I say, because artists read the comments as well…

  6. PaulE says:

    “Duty as a fan is to be uncritically supportive” – Sounds more like a cult. And people will assume that the reviews should be read as advertising if there is no evidence of critical thinking.

  7. Tim Hall says:

    Ought to stress that those weren’t anyone’s exact words, but that was the implication.