So what is this all about?
Because I don’t have enough on my plate, I have decided to review my entire music collection, encompassing over 30 (more like 40) years of albums, cassettes, 8tracks, CDs, mix CDs, downloaded music, etc. and including genres from Broadway shows to obscure punk to shitty classic rock.
A long time ago, I wanted to be a music critic. I wanted to write for Creem or Rolling Stone. I needed for the world to know exactly what I thought of the latest Led Zeppelin album.
One day, many years later, my dream sort of came true. I was asked to write CD reviews for a very small, local entertainment zine. My first assignment was reviewing Sugar Ray’s first album. I panned the damn thing in brutal fashion and I was summarily fired. I learned a little bit about the relationship between record companies and struggling music magazines that day.
I also learned that I didn’t want to be a critic, in the strict sense of the word. I wanted to write about music. I wanted to talk about music. I wanted to share every song I loved and discuss why I hated the songs. What I did not want to be was a pretentious, smug prick who writes year end reviews for Rolling Stone where you make not so much a list of albums you loved, but a sampling of bands and songs that prove your indie cred and show just how smart and hip you are, knowing full well that the majority of those reading your article will have heard of maybe two bands on your entire list.
You know what’s missing from most record reviews and year end lists? Honesty. I don’t want to read the standard pretentious claptrap as to why the Rolling Stone’s Exile on Main Street ranks right up there with the discovery of penicillin. Be honest. You love the album because it’s what was playing on the stereo when you finally got that goofy looking chick from the record store to make out with you. I can get behind that. That’s important. Setting industry standards and enlightening legions of 12 year olds with guitars takes a back seat to flashbacks of banging MaryAnne Brady every time you hear Tumbling Dice.
Just once I would love to see a smug critic put something totally mainstream on his list amidst all the earnest, self-aware bands. Like, right in between Songs Written on a Bleak Afternoon in Prague and This Album Title is Really an Obscure Reference to a 13th Century Philosopher, there would be the latest offering from Papa Roach, with the explanation that it makes the critic feel like a pre-pubescent boy just discovering his dick, and he likes that.
So that’s what I’m doing. I am reliving my entire record collection as opposed to reviewing it. I’m doing what I always wanted to do were I to become a music writer; discussing the emotions and memories that are involved with each selection.
The reviews are short, to the point and are less and are more anecdotal and rambling commentary than anything else. Some of them are mined from old blog posts, but give me a break. I’m talking thousands of albums here.
These are in no kind of order. It’s all very random, and mostly go off suggestions I receive at twitter. If you suggest an album to review, chances are I own it in some form. Don’t be all obscure and shit on purpose.
I encourage audience participation. Leave a comment. Tell me what you think. Share your memories of these albums. Writing about music is a joy to me, but discussing it with others is even better.