Band: White Denim
Critic: Raoul Hernandez
Publication: Austin Chronicle, 2009
Writing Disorders: Idea Fever, Purple Hemorrhage
Longest Sentence: 71 words
Clunkiest Phrase: “fidgety acoustics of penultimate supplication”
I thought this review was a joke when I first read it because I can’t fathom how anyone could write something like it, much less how an editor of a newspaper allowed it to be printed.
Where should I even begin, Raoul? The review is unreadable. Take this sentence, which comprises ONE-THIRD of your entire review by volume:
“The gathering chaos and tumbling beat wrapped around a barbed bassline on opening greeter “Radio Milk: How Can You Stand It” reverberates a decided 1970s sonic warp, analog thick with vinyl width – poked guitars, holler harmonics, and disorientation – while the 1960s pop shambolism of “All Consolation” ticks a Motor City riot, and the stoner rock transistor shred of “Say What You Want” talks pulsing drift, rustic Indian accents, and surf undertow.”
First of all, when you’re writing about a song containing its own colon and measuring six words long, it’s best not to cram it in between so many adjectives that you lose track of the verb. Second, you don’t need to write “decided” as an adjective. We’ll trust you if you say the song sounds like something from the 1970s. Don’t waste space. Third, keep made-up words to a minimum. When you write 70-word sentences, our level of understanding is already knocked down to the level of Homo Erectus. “Shambolism?” Jesus, dude…
Let’s try something, Raoul — just bear with me on this one. I’m going to rewrite that enormous sentence, getting rid of every unnecessary adjective, every redundant phrase, and every sliver of word junk clogging up cohesion. Ahem:
“The beat wrapped around the bassline on the opening song reverberates with analog 1970s sound, while “All Consolation” incorporates 1960s pop.”
I didn’t include that bit about the third song, because it should be in its own sentence. But anyway, you get the idea. Writing fewer ideas with less fat gives your readers a fighting chance to grasp your thoughts. What you wrote sounds straight from a gravity bong. And while stoned ideas sound great in the brain, they could use a few edits before being offered to sober people.
Raoul, you mention 12 songs in your review — 12 songs in a review that’s not even 250 words long. That’s obscene. It doesn’t do the band any more favors than your poor readers when you write about its music like acid-trip copy with a strict word limit. If you’d cut that number in half, then you could have written twice as much about each song. You might have even written about what you THOUGHT of the album instead of just describing in very obtuse words how each track sounds musically. I can only speak for myself, but I have a sinking suspicion that people aren’t motivated to listen to music because one song is classified as “percussion filigree and blaxploitation boogie” and another is hailed as “espresso machine rhythmic choogle.” Not to hate on those less fortunate, but that’s absolutely retarded.
And that’s really what all of this boils down to. You wrote a sequence of criminally silly ideas strung together by a handful of verbs and commas. As a review, it reveals little about how this album made you feel, and whatever points you do make are lost in the word muck. Did you read what you wrote, or did you just write it and collect the check? PLEASE, for the love of Iluvatar, reread what you write in the future and ponder the following question: Is this crap? Everyone involved will benefit.