John Doran’s review of “Turning the Mind” by Maps


Artist: Maps

Album: Turning the Mind

Critic: John Doran

Publication: NME, 2009

Writing Disorders: Scorn Disease

Most Emo Phrase: “If I wanted to go to church I would do. In full corpse paint armed with a bucket full of petrol, a box of matches and Mayhem on my iPod”




Thank you, John. You proved to me that bad music writing isn’t strictly an American phenomenon. Actually now I’m wondering whether Britain was the first to spawn loquacious, bitter writing about the musical arts and America just picked it up as a pastime.


Your opening paragraph is something to behold:


“What is it at the moment with all this half-arsed, evangelical Christian hymn-aping synth music masquerading as dream-pop or screen-gaze? If I wanted to go to church I would do. In full corpse paint armed with a bucket full of petrol, a box of matches and Mayhem on my iPod. This arpeggiated, over-produced, glossy, easy listening music goes so far in the direction of being unchallenging it actually becomes aggressively offensive.”


Dude…calm down. It’s an album. An album of music. If you’re this wound-up over such a trifling thing, I’d hate to think of the homicidal epithets you’d rant when somebody mentions Darfur.


Seriously, do you think this is badass? Badass is diving into a surging river to save a loved one who’s drowning. It’s balancing on a moving motorcycle to blow up a car with a Beretta. Badass is not typing up a furious diatribe about how you’d burn down a church while listening to Norwegian metal and somehow connecting it to your poor opinion of an album. That’s emo. Really emo. Oh yes — and in case you didn’t realize, you write for a magazine that more often than not features men in eye shadow on the cover. Emo.


Also this angry review is so wonderfully British that it makes me giggle:


“Such is the sugary onslaught of sparkling and synthesized major key pap, listening to it is like being beaten to death by a room full of wrinkled Women’s Institute ladies armed with Battenburg cakes.”


Um…I’m going to assume one of two things. Either you have a very active imagination, or you were actually beaten by wrinkled women with cakes. And do you know who REALLY hates major key pap? Emo kids.


When you finally get around to talking about the songs, the genius of John Doran flows forth like a mighty river:


“leaving us with obviously titled songs like “I Dream of Crystal,” “Valium in the Sunshine,” and “A Memory of Clouds. (one of these is made up, but you can’t tell, can you?)”


Call me crazy, but I think more obviously-titled songs might be called “Dreams,” “Valium,” or “Memory.” But you’re the ace at the obvious, John, not me. And wham-bam, man, you also rival the Norse god Loki in parenthetical trickery. One of the songs was made up! Oh, that’s knee-slapping good. I LOVE the little games you play in your writing! Making up a song title in jest! Tee-hee! Let’s go burn a church!


And then there’s your conclusion, which somehow has something to do with something:


“you’re left thinking that those yodelling fucking elf-botherers Sigur Ros have got a lot to answer for”


Yeah, you Icelandic FUCKERS! You better stop yodeling or John Doran is going to burn you with metal! Emo metal forged in the smithees of NME.


Keep up the badassery, emo John.

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