You would think that there might an Internet Law #17 that states that any music found on the internet must include the comment “There’s no good music now days” or some other crude variation. The law is indiscriminate. The comments must appear on new music, old music, good music, bad music.
The comment can be made by old folks where it often comes off with a “Kids these days” flavor. Or by younger posters trying to distance themselves from mainstream drivel: “I’m 17 and I love the Bay City Rollers. Justin Bieber couldn’t wash their bell bottoms.”
Now shame on me for reading Internet comments (my New Year’s resolution is to stop).
There are even people trying to make a living by expounding vociferously that all new music is bad. I’m not sure what these gurus are listening too but I feel sorry that they cannot escape whatever tunnel of bad music they have descended into. Or they’re just bitter douche bags.
But either way the idea that there is no good new music is crap.
It may take some work but it’s out there. The challenge is probably more that there is so much out there it is overwhelming, and so much of it is obscured through the mainstream media fixation on a dozen artists and the pop music industrial complex.
So maybe it’s not all your fault you can’t find the good music out there. The needle in a haystack conundrum.
You need a guide. And you say there are already guides. Music magazines and websites that lead you to new possibilities based on your interests. The “you also might like” capability that is all over for any topic. That can be overwhelming as well but at least it’s a start.
Maybe you need a real guide, you know, a real person helping you. And you say, you mean like music reviewers?
And I say yes. Except that most music reviews I have read (and I certainly haven’t read them all) don’t’ really guide you very well.
The “reviews” are either too much about the artists or too much about the reviewer or too filled with insiders references or jargon that would make wine reviews seem clear. These can all be interesting reads but they seldom tell me whether I should bother listening to the band.
So I’ve devised a fool proof formula for evaluating bands that would be helpful for those looking for new music that doesn’t suck.
A good review can go above and beyond but must contain these key components:
- Background on the band or band members. Why is this important? This provides context.
- What does the band think they are trying to accomplish. Where do they succeed? Where do they fail? Why is this important? Context..
- What about this band might you like. Why is this important? It focuses on what YOU like.
- Corollary: If you like these other bands, you might like this band. The reverse of “you also might like.”
- What about this band might you not like. Why is this important? Same as above.
And two parting pearls of wisdom to music reviewers:
- The review isn’t about you.
- Don’t judge music on what it is not.
That is all.