Skip to main content

Into the Looking Glass

As an avid music fan, I often find myself in the position where I am asked to write album reviews. The catch is, I'm not a musician. I don't know how instruments work, and I don't understand the terminology associated with them. I do, however, know what I think sounds good, and I often feel the need to spread the word. Unfortunately, when I try to write something up, I fall into one of several traps, and I am almost always dissatisfied with the result.

The first thing a person can do when faced with a situation like this is try to bluff. After all, we all know a wee little bit about SOMETHING that's going on SOMEWHERE in that piece of music. The VOCALS. Oh yeah, the vocals. I like those; those are gritty and honest. Hey, maybe that's a harmony. And maybe that part I'm digging, maybe there are some CATCHY RIFFS there. That wonky part, is that one technically complex? Is it derivative? Unless it's The Ramones, I'm not sure. Well, what else can I say? I'll throw in some vague laudatory statements, bulk them up with some verbs. Oh, it's SOARING, MOVING, WAXING, WANING. What a wonderful house of cards.

The other option is to be the music historian. Yes, that band is from California. Yes, their previous drummer was in Primus. It's all very, very interesting. It's also from Wikipedia. If someone wanted the Reader's Digest version of a Wikipedia article, I could do that in a heartbeat, unless it's an article about The Ramones.

And so by this point I have firmly established that I LIKE THIS ALBUM, so much so that I have told you inconsequential junk about the band members. Bully for me, right? But if I'm truly going to be a descriptive writer, I need to provide more specific information about the structure and style of the music itself. "Anything. Anything descriptive. A room. Or a house. Or something you once lived in or something - you know. Just as long as it's descriptive as hell..." Unfortunately, the only place to find that is in previously written reviews. This is, at best, thievery.

Are there ways for non-musicians to convey their excitement about new music and pick out the parts that suit them most? I would like to assume so. I can only state with certainty that I have never figured out a way to do it and be pleased with the end result. Writing about writing about music, however, has proven infinitely simpler.

This is an introspective and is not meant to criticize anyone or suggest anything.


  1. introspective like a Leonard Cohen song!

  2. Before I was laughed out of the Edinboro University music department....I took classes with a Musicologist...she was not a musician...or trained one anyway, but she pulled it off by saying how the music relates to the people that make it. like how music impacts life or impacts culture. That was the intent of the class, but it was strangely disappointing.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Give JR a Break

Recently, I've been reading some sites that have criticized James Roday, the lead actor on the USA show PSYCH for an apparent weight gain. But you know what? Who gives a flying fizzle stick if James Roday is slightly larger than he was 4 years ago. Apparently, it wasn't enough to scare away his current girlfriend/ co-star Maggie Lawson. (Who is one hell of a Catch!) And NO they are not engaged. That seems to be nothing more than a rumor, but there is a very high chance of it happening in the near future. Anyway, as long as PSYCH continues to entertain I don't mind about James Roday's waist. He, and Dule Hill, and Corbin Bernson too, can eat all the fried broccoli they want. The last episode of PSYCH wasn't so smashing, but I don't blame it on dietary issues. QATFYG: Are you keeping up with Psych? And who is hotter, James Roday or Maggie Lawson? (Trick Question but idk why) PS: If you have heard any more news on Roday and Lawson becoming Roday-Lawson, send it

"Mon Soleil" - Ashley Park

If there's anything people take away from my piss-poor legacy, I hope it's what a huge, unabashed fan of "Emily in Paris" I am and will continue to be. People love "90 Day Fiancee," "The Bachelor," and other garbage - allow me "Emily," which is at least harmless, kind of goofy fluff (which does, unfortunately, lean into some stereotypes, as the country of Ukraine knows ). I have already watched Season 2 twice. And honestly my favorite part of this show (despite my crush on Camille Razart and Lily Collins channeling Audrey Hepburn hardcore ) is Ashley Park. This woman has superstar written all over her. She's a bona fide Broadway star, and "Emily in Paris" has served as her pivot into the zeitgeist.  "Emily in Paris" is also showcasing her vocal prowess front and center this season, with her covering BTS, "All By Myself," "Sympathtique," and Marilyn Monroe. But the real standout performance is th

No Time to Fuck: The Goldfrapp Essay

Konnichiwa! This is Irina Cummings and I'm here to discuss one of the most brilliant, innovative, and creative artists in the entire history of mankind: Goldfrapp – or as I like to call them , GODfrapp – the fantastique, highly inspirational, and sometimes criminally overlooked electronic music duo from London consisting of Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory, whose godly music has certainly influenced the vast majority of today's synthpop ladies, including Lady Gaga, Little Boots, La Roux, Annie and Florence + the Machine (not electro but still worth your while). They're primarily known for their mind-blowing music (which have spanned pretty much every style of electronic music – and some non-electronic as well), their abstract, sexually ambiguous – at times forthright – lyrics which are often not gender- specific , and their elaborate shows, not to mention the amazing visual aesthetics of their work, conjuring images that masterly complement