How to interpret online music reviews

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One of the coolest things about the interwebz is the ability to find TV shows, movies, books/authors, bands/music, or people to argue with. I live a few hundred kilometres from the most isolated city in the world, which means that there isn’t a cinema, there aren’t many international touring acts that come through town, and author book signings are somewhat rare. Since Al Gore invented the internet we are all able to be connected and find things we like through the magic that is The Internet.

“This, Jen, is the internet.”

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Of course with an abundance of new stuff comes an abundance of indecision’s. How do you tell which books are worth reading, which movies are worth watching and which bands are worth listening too? The obvious answer would be to consult reviews.

Music reviews are often troubling, they use industry jargon that not everyone understands, especially not the people using the jargon. So I have quickly summarised the commonly used phrases and interpreted them.

Solid album: every song sounds the same.

Standout tracks: the only decent songs.
The album grows on you: hated this album the first time I listened to it and after having to listen to it several times to complete the review have found I can tolerate it.
Intricate melodies: pretentious wank.
Outstanding musicianship: lots of solos.
Impressive guitar work: endless guitar masturbation.
Concept album: lots of pretentious filler.
Soulful lyrics: girlfriend/boyfriend just left the singer.
Soulful melodies: all band members/artist depressed.
Heartfelt emotion: band members/artist suicidal.
Best album of the year: only new album I have.
The best release from this artist/band: it’s about time they put out something decent.
Epic: too long.
Pop sensibilities: commercial radio fodder.
Proponents of (insert name) style: I hate this sort of music.
Founders of (insert name) style: the guys that everyone else copied.
Challenging: annoying.
Diverse styles/sounds: imitates everything popular at the moment.
Critically acclaimed: only pretentious and annoying people will like it.
Commercially successful: listen to it on the radio instead.
Uplifting: saccharine.
Back with a vengeance: last album was terrible.
Offers up some great tracks: band/artist only wrote one song then packed in filler.
Career defining: surprisingly good album.
On heavy rotation: has a huge marketing budget to waste.
Staple of radio playlists: inoffensive.
Politically charged lyrics: think they are better than everyone else.
Confrontational: annoying.
Distinguishes itself: will fade into obscurity in a month.
Stamped their mark: all the vapid DJ’s like it.
Most important album/artist of the year: utter crap that is inexplicably selling well.
Taken (insert country) by storm: some DJ overseas thinks that it’s good.
Radio friendly: bland.

Hope that clears things up a bit. At some future date I will attempt to cover the common book review jargon.

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