Jonathan Sanders’ review of “Burning the Days” by Vertical Horizon

Vertical Horizon

Band: Vertical Horizon

Album: Burning the Days

Critic: Jonathan Sanders

Publication: Stereo Subversion, 2009

Writing Disorders: Scorn Disease

Longest sentence: 67 words

Number of album songs mentioned: 2

Adverb foul: “cringe-inducingly bad”




Jonathan, you made a lot of weird claims in this review. Aside from the usual “industry killed good music” argument, you brought up stuff that baffles my buttons.


For instance, you lost me at lumping Third Eye Blind in with Alice in Chains as two parts of “every band in the genre.” What genre is that? Rock and roll with guitars? Music with words? Aside from AIC effectively disbanding before Third Eye Blind even had a hit, the two bands don’t sound all that similar.


Then there’s this:


“No, this isn’t as cringe-inducingly bad an album as Third Eye Blind’s Ursa Major, which will go down as one of my five most disappointing albums of the year.”


Jon, it’s pretty clear from this review that you’d rather get a BJ from a garbage disposal than listen to Third Eye Blind. So, it wouldn’t be “disappointing” if you had no inclination towards liking it in the first place. It would be one of your “five albums of 2009 you hated the most.”


And then you start talking like none of this harsh writing is your fault, that you’re not ripping the band, but simply performing your duty to savage its music:


“It’s hard to blame the band”

“for the band’s sake I’m at least respectful of…”

“makes me feel a little bad trashing an album…”


I don’t understand why music critics feel the need to fist-bump the band they’re excoriating. Is it some form of insurance against a beatdown or a libel suit? It seems to me that if you wanted to do something for “the band’s sake,” you wouldn’t write:


“I feel like gouging something into my ears to stop the hook from reverberating”


Maybe you could just be content with having an unfavorable opinion of a band’s album without taking a dump on it with flowery words. Or maybe in the future you could ask Matt Conner to send you an album from a band that might remotely interest you. (Try it, he’s a nice guy.) Or at the very least you could be an asshole without apologizing for it.


Thankfully it’s not all pins and barbs. Let’s move on to the lighter side of Jonathan Sanders:


“Meanwhile, if you hear Marcy Playground’s prepping a reunion tour and launching a new album, run quickly in the other direction.”


Dude, if you can A), name me any Marcy Playground song other than “Sex and Candy” and B), explain to me why you think that song was so awful, then I’ll consider running with you. Otherwise I’ll just think you’re sprinting awkwardly out of a Starbucks because the barista wouldn’t let you use the bathroom.


Finally, the nail in the coffin:


“makes me feel a little bad trashing an album that, if the band’s lucky, only 10,000 people will end up hearing.”


Strangest thing, Jon. I doubt even 10 people will end up reading your album review, but I don’t feel the least bit bad in trashing it. I guess that’s what separates us.