Here at sputnikmusic.com, we have a whole crap-load of users who have yet to write a review. It’s not necessarily in my job description as a staff writer to notice things like that, but then again it’s not my job to stare at the leggy photographs in the liner notes for Joanna Newsom’s Have One On Me for hours on end either, which is what my day generally consists of. Some of these users are fairly established, with a few hundred comments or so. It’s clear they’ve read plenty of reviews and would theoretically be able to accurately reconstruct one of them in their own unique voice, so why haven’t they? And then it hit me:
I haven’t written a how-to guide yet.
I have been on this site for far too long now. I won’t say how long exactly but I will hint that it may or may not be more than four years. As such, I’ve watched reviewing trends come and go out of style like all those articles of clothing in the American Apparel ads (or maybe they’re cool because they’re out of style? Are they post-out of style?? What sort of man wears a scarf in the summer anyway?). Back when I first joined the site, people were still writing track-by-track reviews and at that point I think there were still only 175 or so Pokemon. Things were simpler back then. There was a basic reviewing progression that was prevalent, and if you look at my earlier reviews, you will see a good example of it. People generally started off writing track-by-track reviews, which made sense because back in 2006 a lot of people were still using Limewire and could only find two or three Avenged Sevenfold songs from a particular album. So they would read through the track descriptions until they saw choice words like “best” and “song” and “on the album,” hop onto their favorite P2P program, and presto! “Unholy Confessions” was now their legal property. After that, they would start to mix the track-by-track format with a more professional style of reviewing, which had the distinct advantage of not seeming like it was written by a butthead teenager with the musical intuition of a…butthole.
These days, the format is frowned upon, and anyone who writes their first review as a track-by-track will be treated to a stern talking-to from someone with a 2009 joindate. So we have ground rules now. Don’t write track-by-tracks. Use paragraphs. Have an intro and a conclusion. Sounds easy enough, right? After all, there are people on the site with 200 of the damn things. (There is an investigation pending as to whether or not they use the same review except for changed band, album, and song names. TRMdetective is on the case.) Still, no matter how easy it seems, there’s a bit more to it than just slapping a few words and genre-names together, despite what Iluvatar would lead you to believe. So here are some surefire tips to help you timid nerds write your first review:
Find some inspiration! Now, you might think that simply listening to the album in question is inspiration enough, but think again. It works sometimes, sure, but for the most part it makes for boring and predictable writing. Instead, look in unexpected places. For example, the inspiration I used for my last few reviews were the leggy photographs of Joanna Newsom from the Have One On Me liner notes. Needless to say, I typed all of them one-handed, which was tedious but ultimately satisfying. Of course, you might not find the same inspiration that I did from those pictures (if you’re PirateSquid), so be creative! Is there an empty water bottle on the floor of your room? You can use that! “The riffs slowly dribble towards the forefront of the song like the leftover water in an upturned Deer Park bottle.” See? Is there a pizza box on your kitchen counter? “This song tastes like pizza.” Boom! Pow! Bang!
To be honest, inspiration is really all you need. With unique, unexpected inspiration, the sky is the limit. Actually, fuck it, the universe is the limit. Just ask Insane Clown Posse, who, in their music video for “Miracles,” can be seen riding a giant metal boner into the sunset, intent on ripping a hole through the atmosphere and into the realm of the Dark Carnival. It doesn’t matter where you find your inspiration; when you write your review, there will be magic everywhere in this bitch.
Til next time!
|GDandBlinkfan76 (11:33:57 PM):||everytime i nap i wake up with stomach cramps|
|GDandBlinkfan76 (11:33:58 PM):||dunno why|
|Soliquidis (11:34:16 PM):||cramps huh|
|GDandBlinkfan76 (11:34:22 PM):||ya|
|Soliquidis (11:34:30 PM):||how bout a bloody vagina?|
|Soliquidis (11:34:45 PM):||you get tehm when u take naps too|