Music reviews

Pompous writing makes me angry, guilty as I am of doing it myself de temps en temps.

Compare the review of RHCP’s new album Stadium Arcadium on with the review on Rolling Stone. You’d think that Rolling Stone, with its wealthier heritage of music criticism, would be the one guilty of tipping into verbose up-its-own-assness.

Bizarrely, the RS review actually describes what’s on the album relatively straightforwardly – whereas the one is the one that tells you that:

There’s perhaps too much mid-tempo simmering and reflection going on

And that the new album is

an unlikely record to kick back to, and one that both challenges assumptions and eases the band into middle age with an oft languorous, if undeniably savory groove.

Ok, that does convey something – but, seriously, does that strike anyone else as wrong? What the hell happened to rock and roll? And no, I don’t equate rock music with illiteracy, but there’s something all too… institutional about reviews that read like that.

I don’t know, maybe its irrational. After all, a review that said ‘It rocks, man,’ wouldn’t be terribly helpful. But I’d have thought there was a middle ground that didn’t cross over from simply articulate into verbose, pompous tosh. And it’s hard to believe that RCHP would be something you’d listen to in the library with your afternoon sherry with Colonel Mustard as you discussed the affairs of state (and where the bloody candlestick was).

Or maybe I just disagree that RHCP have gotten ‘middle-aged’ and am taking the assertion that they have badly… Am going to have to get the album and find out.

2 thoughts on “Music reviews”

  1. Sounds to me like the form fitting the subject – not heard the album, but I can easily imagine that very plausibly the Chilli Peppers could well have made an album for which this is the only way to talk about it. Think of The Manics’ This Is My Truth… or something – good, but not what they used to be, and very definitely not youthful, so how exactly do you praise it?…

  2. Whilst obviously part of my issue was with the fact that the band has (ostensibly) gotten middle aged, most of the problem I had with the Amazon review was its verbose pomposity.

    The Rolling Stones review, which does comment on the evolution of their style as well – is much more straightforward in its language and structure.

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