I have chosen to review this album review as it’s relevant to a particularly worrying point raised in the lecture on the ‘democratisation’ of music reviews. I am of the opinion that this is a bad thing. Why? Because being passionate about a topic isn’t the same as having an academic/professional understanding of, at the least, the methodology.
Firstly, the reviewer is not an authoritative figure on the subject. In fact, upon inspection of the website I could not find the author as a figure for the company, and also found that anyone can write in with the hopes of being published. This is in line with Alexis Petridis’ comments that the internet is the great enabler, allowing everyone to be a critic.
Secondly, there is absolutely no contextualization within the article at all. Aforementioned reviewer Alexis Petridis states in his article ‘how to write the perfect album review‘ that “the more you research an album or the artist who made it, the better.” This review features no mention of Lisa’s prior album’s in detail and doesn’t reference any of her personal context surrounding the recording of the album. It is this deep research of an album Alexis’ mentions that give the reader a greater understanding of the meaning of the songs as well as the record in general. Would we look at Pet Sounds the same if we had no knowledge of infighting between Love and Wilson, or the LSD-induced, psychosis-ridden songwriting of Wilson? I’d say not.
The review is also just uninspired in my opinion. It does not grab my attention quickly, rather offering generic terms such as “raw talent” and “newfound strength” which do not entice me into reading more. The review offered me nothing in way of getting more out of the music as a result of reading the review, and it reads very clinically, bouncing from track to track with a short 3 line synopsis with no real in depth conversation. As a result, it certainly didn’t inspire a conversation with myself or with others. In my opinion, this is an example of ‘democratisation’ gone wrong.