Conrad Amenta’s review of “Odd Blood” by Yeasayer


Band: Yeasayer

Album: Odd Blood

Critic: Conrad Amenta

Publication: Cokemachineglow, 2010

Writing Disorders: Scorn Disease, Idea Fever, Jargon Palsy

Stuffiest Phrase: “a well attuned if hypertrophied sense of style”

Unintended Irony: “it can’t help but come across as unintentionally absurd”




A week after discovering your existence, Conrad, I’m still struggling to understand why you write the way you do. Read this sentence:


“Worse, this desperate paternalism is exploded sonically to nth realms of crass pretension, cramming every last space with splurges of computer-generated excess that mostly belie a lack of vision or forethought; the band are, in the parlance of staidly academic critics, wanking.”


I’m sure there’s a good chance that if I point to your own pretension and excess, you’ll just say it was all for the irony. So instead of going down that road, let me add some of my own irony to the pot. You see, the most fascinating thing I unearthed about you is that you actually play an instrument. I’m assuming you’re Conrad Amenta, drummer for the Canadian band Books on Books. If you are, you’ve got skill behind a drum set — I listened to the tracks up on MySpace. But what I can’t understand is what drives a competent musician to barf so hard on other artists’ work. Here’s a snapshot in case you forgot by now:


“That record was mostly shitty and had absolutely no sense of scope or direction”

“see also: their stupid band name”

“the unremitting bullshit of boneheaded opening track”

the excremental wave of this band’s approach to songwriting”

“An overcooked vanity piece from a band inflated by praise”


There’s a rich history of performers dissing one another in interviews and songs, but I can’t say that I’ve come across many 1,000-word rants written by musicians against their peers. Drumsticks or not, you write like a prick. And you’re not even brief about it. You write like an incapable prick who can’t edit his thoughts down to something less than “entirely superfluous.” Examples, you ask?


“the heart-warming entropy of a self-truncating simplicity”

a nebulous referent and yet all-important to getting these artist’s appeal”


Thankfully you only used the word “quasi” twice in the course of this review, which helped to whittle away the girth on sentences already fat on modifiers. Speaking of sentences, I’m trying to steer my criticism away from people’s grammar and spelling, but for someone berating a band so savagely, I’ll make an exception. You don’t have a firm handle on words, Conrad:


“true progression comes in the form is seamless integration”


“The same mentality is presented her without irony, used a vehicle for something Meaningful”


In the future if you’re so close to deadline that you can’t spare a reread, you might consider writing less to cut down on typos. While I’m sure some readers would be absolutely crushed if you capped your thoughts on why a band’s album deserves an F+, you might actually attract those who value readability.


Conrad, if you take a look around RipFork, you might notice that I have a problem with the phrase “to be fair.” When a critic uses “to be fair,” it usually means a reassuring pat on the back with one hand and a donkey punch in the other. You didn’t exactly convince me otherwise:


“That record was mostly shitty and had absolutely no sense of scope or direction, but, to be fair, there were some very melodic and occasionally addictive tunes.”


To be fair, huh? Well, to be fair, Conrad, if you keep spending time writing fussy junk like this, you may end up in a similar boat with your own music.

11 thoughts on “Conrad Amenta’s review of “Odd Blood” by Yeasayer

  1. You say nothing interesting or particularly slam-worthy here. Wow, he plays in a band, which somehow precludes him from making harsh criticisms. You rip him with “pretentious”, an insult better left in 2003. Your writing is atrocious and scattered.

    The internet has plenty of excess too, including absolutely dreadful meta-commentary.

  2. I actually enjoy his writing.he always shows intelligence and forethought. He is also a good drummer, one of his many talents! Too bad you have too much time on your hands.

  3. What, pray, is an “occasionally addictive” tune in a mostly “shitty” record?

    Does this mean that parts of a tune are addictive? Like, “In December drinking Horchata” is so addictive but “I feel psychotic in a balaclava” is not.

    Or does this mean that you find these tunes addictive only after certain time spans in your life? Addictive for, let’s say, a week then shitty. Then back to addictive after the release and inevitable failure of your own album?

    Jesus, Conrad! If your review were a knee it would have jerked itself into a fucking fracture.

  4. … you could have just written “This album is so full of shit, that even though it occasionally smells nice, I don’t want to review it”.

  5. I don’t think there’s a need to even comment on the band’s name. There are several silly names for bands or even singers themselves but it’s their freedom to choose what they want to use.

    Emily Travers

  6. In the words of Rob Reiner when reading Spinal Tap’s reviews to the band… “The review of “Shark Sandwich”, which is merely a 2 word review, says “Shit Sandwich”.

    Enough said.

  7. Pretty spot on review. I also have this album. I thought the same thing to myself about how amazingly legit tracks 2-6 are (actually, I enjoy how the vocalist slides and wavers his notes in track 1, but that crazy robotic effect adds no value) listening to the album in my car. It’s a shame the last 4 tracks on the album aren’t really up to the same standard of all those preceding it.

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