Chapter II: Album Reviews10:35 AM
I have gone from pleading that nobody reads me my own album reviews in the early 2000s to willingly reading reviews both good and bad. I have become the critic of the critics who is more interested in internal flow rather than how many stars they gave my music...
I have been the reviewers' pet for a long time. Always appreciated, never horribly misunderstood, ridiculed or hated. Maybe it is due to this safe feeling that I have begun to read reviews with a genuine interest in the writer's way of thinking, in their approach to music.
With the explosion of on-line media there are millions of platforms for music reviews these days and therefore all guidelines or common principles have been washed away. I think this suggests both immense possibilities and the danger of complete chaos. As the pretense of objectivity and unemotional evaluation is vanishing, album reviews now have the potential of rising from the listener's subjective experience. Putting this experience to a context that is informative or on some other level justified seems to be the problem at present.
What is the purpose of album reviews in magazines and on-line publications? Has it shifted as the printed press prints smaller and smaller reviews and the virtual reality knows no limitations of length? Has it changed when there is continually more and more music to be written about?
Are we reading the reviews to know what to buy, what is in or to learn about one person's experience? Does any one reviewer have authority to decide what we will listen to? Is the loss of authority in criticism a facet in dwindling sales of music?
At best a review of an album is in discussion with the music. It is inspired by it, it responds and creates onwards from there. I am still in search for such a review. I guess writing it would take a long time...In the meantime, I will keep reading.