What exactly are you looking for in your next favourite band? And what is it you look for when reading a music review? OK, I’ll admit it, a couple of leading questions if I ever did and so I’ll tell you why I ask. Of late I’ve been making the time to listen to new music again as well as read about what the music press has to say about new music from new bands as well as lots of already established bands. I love music magazines. Without them my music taste would be a lot more drab than it is these days. (No bad thing I can hear some folks saying) Oh yes, I was getting to the point was’t I? So, whether you are looking for a piece of musical mastery that tantalises your ear drums, a sprawling artistry of lyrics, an exploration of new territory in sound or perhaps your looking for bit of music that either helps change your mood or prolongs/enhances the one you are already in. But your looking for something different. Or maybe your looking for something similar to something else. You might know exactly what you’re after or have no clue. And that is where our friends, the music magazines come in. Now, I only have one itsy bitsy problem, which I tried to explain to someone recently during a late night discussion. It’s not really a major criticism, more a part of of their territory, which really is unavoidable. They sometimes, write ‘bad’ or ‘harmful’ reviews. That may come in the form of technical idiosynchrosies, over comparison to another artist or genre and sometimes just downright negativity. Sometimes it’s just because the person reviewing doesn’t like it and that is their choice. And unavoidable or not, that can have a very detrimental affect on a bands future. In this day, for a band to make a living out of music has become increasingly difficult. Since the dawn of digital it’s all been different. Money that can be made from touring, merchandise, the rise and rise of the VIP meet and greet, and any other side projects the band may be able land themselves.
So, although I believe music magazines have a responsibility to tell it how it is, there is part of me that wishes they could avoid telling how it is when it’s not so good. Couldn’t they just ‘not’ tell it. Well, perhaps that’s part and parcel of what has made them so popular, made their money and kept them going. And I guess most folks are probably all pretty glad that’s the case. It’s not going to change but this is also a time for having your say and this is mine. So, what to do when negativity might just be unavoidable??
“Well, it’s avoidable for me”. I do try. But that statement answers a question I’ve been asked a few times recently. “Why are all the reviews you post so full of praise for the artist /album /gig / whatever”? Why is everything so great when you write about it? Do you never go to a bad gig, listen to a bad record or just think some music sucks? It’s pretty simple really. With the exception of the small exercise I undertook to review some music that friends had recommended, I’ve chosen it all myself. So, I like it. For stuff that may just not be my cup of tea, I’ll let someone else write something nice about it. Everybody wins!
And you know what, with that, I have a couple of recommendations for you. But they’ll be in the next post. Before you read that, ask yourself this. What exactly are you looking for in your next favourite band?