Band: Vampire Weekend
Critic: Andrzej Lukowski
Publication: Drowned in Sound, 2010
Writing Disorders: Idea Fever, Purple Hemorrhage
Longest Sentence: 58 words
Most Emo Phrase: “there’s less to love, less giddiness, less presence, fewer serendipitous moments of daft joy”
First off, I’d like to thank Drowned in Sound. After they posted a link to RipFork, I ended the day with over 1,800 visits, 40 new Twitter followers, a slew of comments, and some very kind emails from musicians and bloggers. So to thank you for all that you’ve done to promote my site, I’ve decided to rip another one of your reviews.
Andrzej, you’re the chosen one this time. But after slogging through half your review, I paused and felt that I needed a bit more info to explain what would drive a man to write something so bloated. After checking your Drowned in Sound profile, I wasn’t satisfied but did come away with this:
“If you’re a super-obscure or unsigned act your record isn’t likely to get a review because of space reasons and because it’s a waste if people won’t actually read the thing”
Waste? Let’s talk about waste, Andrzej. How about the needless babble you crammed into your opening? You burn three paragraphs before even mentioning album you’re reviewing — 271 words rambling about how Vampire Weekend is considered posh by some, preppy by others, and how it all somehow relates to the British class system. I’d be fibbing if I said I haven’t already come across people who’d rather belabor that kind of BS about bands instead of just listening to a goddamn record. Normally I just wilt inside, but the fact that you’re the albums editor of a major music website is ample grounds for hazing.
When you finally lose the four-hour rhetorical erection and get down to talking about Contra, you don’t exactly make the most succinct points:
“Here the debut’s surging, crashing wheel of highs and lows, killer choruses balanced against grating reggae lilts, audacious lyrical earworms and cringe-inducing verbal howlers is largely gone.”
Gee Andrzej, why didn’t you include a diagram of the surging, crashing wheel so that we could get a better grasp on its components? I’m wondering how the killer choruses provide balance to the grating reggae lilts. Is it by means of a cantilever system of weight…or perhaps hydraulics?
I never thought it would end, but after paragraphs of jargon I finally got to this:
“Let’s be clear: Contra isn’t dull.”
Nope, that would be your writing. Thanks for clearing that up at the 600-word mark, though. Seriously, are you kidding me? It took you that long to make a succinct point? If you’d just included that line in place of your ridiculous introduction, then your poor readers might have been spared an extra five minutes to decide whether to download the album or just make a sandwich.
Now that we’ve seen what kind of writing super-obscure bands are passed over to make room for your word orgies, let’s take a magnifying lens to some of your more baffling points:
“‘Holiday’s surging tempo, gloriously brainless lyric (“to go away on a holiday never seemed so clear”)…”
How is that lyric either glorious or brainless? What exactly is a brain-ful lyric? At what point does a brainless lyric become glorious, or even just “good” for that matter? For comparison, let’s take another rare example of when you mention lyrics instead of serf revolts, and maybe we can find out:
“The moment where Ezra intones “it struck me that the two of us could run” before a peal of eerie brass shivers your spine ought to put back impatience for a new Sufjan record by, ooh, an hour or so”
How is “it struck me that the two of us could run” any less brainless than that bit about a holiday? Is it a neutral sort of brainless, but using too much of the brain to be labeled that way? Do me a favor and send me some brainy lyrics, Andrzej, because I don’t understand your rubric. You get double points if you write the lyrics yourself. I’ll even post them.
I’ll end with a final revelation about the writer:
“Does this make it better? Worse? Well, it’s certainly less easy to pick holes in.”
Ughhh…WHY are you burning so much effort picking holes if it’s so hard? Do you think that people only listen to music because they’ve been provided with a comprehensive list of holes? If focusing on the band’s strong points is out of the question, why not replace the hole-picking with something for the readers? Why not embed a video, song clip, or SOMETHING instead of wrapping what you perceive to be another band’s faults up in your own chubby nonsense?
That’s all for now, Drowned in Sound. Thanks again for the exposure. I’ll be back.