A view on reviews ...

(October 26, 2017)

 Reviews should amount to more than a list of comparisons. I know the objective is to give the reader a clear and simple reference to better understand what the band/ artist sounds like. I’m guessing the purpose of using phrases that range from ‘sounds just like ...’ through ‘in the same vein as ...’ to ‘reminds me of ...’ is to help the reader to know what to expect. True, possibly ... but then again, ‘sounds like’ to some might be different to ‘sounds like’ to dozens of other people.

Now before some detail-hound warps back through every review that’s ever appeared on FolkWords and confronts me with the evidence using a barrister-like flourish to prove that I have taken the comparison route ... I freely admit that sometimes it helps for clarification ... but not every single time. Simply reviewing an album by doing no more than listing who it ‘sounds like’ is not telling the reader what to expect in clear and simple terms, it’s being incredibly lazy.

The English language has enough gloriously malleable and ductile, expressive and animated adjectives to enable most of us to adequately describe what we hear in words that convey meaning. And to make those words convey meaning does not mean resorting to employing a host of ‘sounds like’ references.

It means getting inside the music and taking the time to listen and hear what the artist is striving to convey. It doesn’t mean dredging through your memory to find a band/ artist that sounds vaguely like the band/ artist in question and then rely on ‘sounds like’ references. Be creative, after all the band/ artist doubtless invested considerable time, money, effort, tears and sweat, and possibly blood to create their work ... it’s only right to do the same.

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