Saturday, March 22, 2008

Why bother?

(message received from reviewer)

"hi cody weathers, you don't know me and i don't know you. i reviewed one of yours and you reviewed one of mine.anyways, right now i'm at a crossroads and seeking your opinion before i choose a path. right now, i usually spend 20 minutes or so on each review in order to give the band some critical feedback. But then usually when i get reviews it's only 15 words long and it's some vague platitude with no real meaning. it's something like "cool tune, i like the guitars during certain parts." and that's it. i really can't use that for anything. i would rather someone tell me to redo the chorus or add something that i never thought of.anyways, i wrote you because i usually read your reviews of songs because they are great. and i'm wondering why you continue to produce indepth reviews when it would be so easy just to write down 2 sentences about nothing. i'm sorry i rant too much. let me know what you think."

(my reply)

Wow. You and I should go bowling. Naturally, I share your frustration with at least 50% of the reviews I receive. They remind me of haiku day in third grade with a bunch of grudging 8-year- olds finger-tallying their way through the requisite syllables in hopes of an early recess. I guess that for me, it's a matter of professional pride and the benefit of analysis that keeps me writing critique-style reviews rather than the vague platitudes you mention. If I'm going to do this at all, I want to do it as well as I'm capable of rather than embarass myself with an obvious lack of effort. But more importantly, I've really liked thinking critically about the true roots of my initial reactions to the material I hear, and forcing myself to justify and cite specific examples of problems or strengths. As I continue to listen to these songs, I feel that I'm becoming a stronger producer, and the patterns of my complaint and praise make me think very concretely about how I'll approach my own projects in the future. I hope you keep fighting the good fight. Cody

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