Thursday, September 21, 2006

How to write a record review

1. Don't become friends with the band.
It sucks to write about your friends. Especially if you thought Album One was brilliant, and Album Two, well, so isn't. And you will be accused of gladhanding your friends' work, implying that you have no objectivity. Yeah, well, you don't. And so what?

2. Write for the people who might buy the album.
Oh! Controversy! Why would you write a review of something you didn't like (and would never buy) unless your editor assigned it to you? Kill your ego and your tendency to pontificate. The world has changed. Amazon, TexasGigs, the band websites, myspaces, and downloading mean that listeners can easily weed out what they don't want to hear. Say something to those who will want to listen.

3. Allow your reader to form their own opinion.
You'd think this would be elementary.

4. Write a story.
Spin a tale, tell the reader who you are, what you think, why. Spin another tale about who the band is, what they think, why. Do it in 400 words or less.

5. The worst press is no press.
Hate it? Kill it. Say nothing. It's mightily effective. Of course, the temptation to ream is enticing. But that's all about you and not about them. You do get that, don't you? Leave it to those who have refined the artform and made a forum for it. You don't have the chops anyway.

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