I have spent the last few nights going through the music reviews that I wrote for popmatters.com over a decade ago. It was quite nice reminding myself of those times. Some of the albums were still clear in my mind, as clear as when I heard them. Others, well others were less memorable. The thing that REALLY stuck out for me though was how much of a dick I was about some of these recordings. Even with some of the albums I liked I had this pompous and snooty tone to the music reviews. Some albums were almost deserving (actually none of them were) of the abuse they got but most weren’t. I can only assume that I found it easier to be mean about a record than be nice. Or perhaps it was because I was listening to these collections repeatedly I grew to hate them over time. Either way I have come to the conclusion that I was wrong to do what I did.
I remember one in in particular (HYPATIA LAKE: …AND WE SHALL CALL HIM JOSEPH) where I battered the record. I thought that I was being so hilarious. So brutally cutting with my wit. Yet, I’m listening to it now and it isn’t that bad. It is derivative of Pink Floyd and The Flaming Lips but so fucking what. These guys poured their heart into this recording and I didn’t have a nice thing to say about it. I recall that one of the band members contacted me to confront me about the review. I shrugged went meh and said that I couldn’t like everything. What an arrogant bastard I was then. The very nerve.
I shall strive to be mindful of the fact that I am dealing with human beings at the end of the day. Hopefully, this lesson is one I have learned and can continue to hold in my heart as I embark on reviewing tunes again. I’m doing this for entertainment for sure, for my entertainment and for the entertainment of the readers but I am also handling other people’s art as I entertain. I shall not be a bull in a china shop knocking over all of the prize possessions. I will endeavour to treasure each piece of art as I hold it in my hand. Sure I might not always like it, but that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t be respectful of the art and the artist.
I’m glad I did this exercise. I think it has prepared me for the days to come.