There is a certain amount of narcissism that you must possess to write a blog. Before you write your first post you have decided that:
a) what you have to say is important (or at least interesting)
b) someone wants to hear what you have to say
However, I want to take them time to say something as humbly as possible (on the blog that I set up for me to write on so that people will think that I am a good writer and that I have a good taste in music). I am under-qualified to review a lot of music. I spend a lot of time trying to make you think otherwise. I arrogantly make “daring” comparisons (Yeah, I’m the guy who suggested that Dirty Projectors sounds a bit like Dave Matthews Band) and jokes about how every member of At The Drive-In should have quit music after Relationship of Command. But when it comes down to it, I have pretty weak credentials.
I’m not much of a musician (playing guitar doesn’t make you a musician). I don’t know a ton about musical theory or history. I just like music and love to talk about it. From time to time I feel like I have something interesting to say about certain styles and genres of music. However, there is some music that I’m just scared of.
For instance, I plan to never write a hip hop review. I can’t relate to the music. Though I know that Mos Def’s The Ecstatic was one of my favorite records of 2009, I don’t know enough about the history of the genre or the roots of the music (not to mention the struggle of being poor, hungry or discriminated against) to feel like I can adequately review it.
I have the same problem with electronic music. I know absolutely nothing about creating and producing digital beats and synth. Regardless of how cool I think that it sounds, unless the artists uses vocals I can’t tell one producer from another judging by style or creativity.
With that said, here are a few albums from the last 12 months that I would love to review but am scared too:
Mos Def – The Ecstatic
The Ecstatic features intricate layers of beats and samples that back Mos Def’s intense lyricism. This album produced my favorite track of 2009, “Quiet Dog”.
Four Tet – There is Love In You
“Cool” is the best word that I have to describe Four Tet. I love their use of organic samples (bells, chimes, hand percussion) mixed with digital blips and chirps. There Is Love in You is one of the most enjoyable records that I have listened to thus far in 2010.
Owen Pallet – Heartland
Owen Pallet is far too talented for me to criticize. He was previously known by the name “Final Fantasy” but has decided to be recognized by his birth name. He writes wonderfully orchestrated music that features layers and layers of intricately-composed strings and horns. His melodies effortlessly add to the brilliant compositions.
Aziz Ansari – Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening
How can a music critic justify themselves reviewing a comedy album? I’ve seen people do it, but I don’t have the audacity to judge someone’s comedic talent. Comedy is such a relative thing that varies from person to person. With that said, I think that this performance is hilarious.