I could never be a music journalist. I have a soul, for one thing (cue the boom, tish from the drum kit). I’m lacking the temperament, the ego, the required self-discipline. I don’t enjoy my prose all hacked apart by semi-literate sub-editors, whilst I’m generally underwhelmed when in the company of musicians – far more enamoured by the sounds they conjure than any traits of personality exhibited in the free, after-show bar (a horrible, sweeping statement, I know; blame a youth misspent – a certain level of extraneous exposure).
You’ll of course be well-versed in the common cliché re: those who write about music are failed musicians (see also: any critic and their chosen, target medium). This belies the fact that word construction for public consumption is a specific discipline in itself. Care, convention and panache are mandatory – not exactly my strengths, but ingredients nonetheless required to grip the reader, to convey that sense of energy behind why we’re all such music geeks.
Which leads me to another facet of music journalism that’s easy to dismiss as unworthy or unbecoming; the humble review. That balance between subjective ennui and objective analysis. A false setting, for the relationship between listener and song or listener and album requires nurture. Effort. Time in which to ferment – riffing with words when new to the subject matter is like attempting to encapsulate a relationship after a first date. Music reviews are the language of cliché and connivance; far more credible when given space to gestate.
In short, music appraisals should exclusively feature songs from 1997 until further notice.
Which is why I rarely review new material. Also, if I’m not listening to albums from a certain year in the 1980’s then I’m struggling to write an article all about albums from a certain year in the 1980’s – and if I’m not doing that, I’m drunk in a ditch or ditched in a drunk or allowing the constant trickle of unsolicited mp3s that us music bloggers accrue to become a small lake. I always try to sit down with headphones – swimming trunks and goggles on – but good intentions have never been my style. Perhaps they should be, when tracks as intriguing and enticing as the example below the words floats untouched in my inbox. ‘Anything for You’ is courtesy of Philadelphia duo ShiShi – and in my finest reviewer’s parlance, this is shoegaze exotica. A little rough around the edges, but endearingly so, finely balanced textures buttressed up against one of those vocals sentimental fools like me can’t resist. The only problem is I now need this on vinyl… and I don’t look hot in swimming trunks.
ShiShi / Anything For You
ShiShi, on Patetico Recordings, live here