Band: The Rumble Strips
Album: Welcome to the Walk Alone
Critic: Rebecca Robinson
Publication: NME, 2009
Writing Disorders: Infectious Punctuation, Scorn Disease, Detachment Syndrome
Number of Hyphens: 25
Longest Sentence: 59 words
Most Emo Phrase: “the underlying laziness that makes its advert-friendly wipe-clean Stepford Wives-rock so hard to stomach.”
I was going to go a week without posting since there were too many 6.8’s and 7.0’s to really sink my teeth into, but luckily I got this baby gift wrapped in my inbox. Thanks to Morwenna Ferrier for sending me such a choice morsel of crap from one of NME’s summer issues, written by Rebecca Robinson.
Rebecca, you seem really angry. Why is beyond me, but I figure it’s something more than just knowing you’ll never beat out Miss Texas 2009 on a Google search for your name. Take this bit you wrote, for instance:
“The Next Big Thing turns out to be just another indie-by-numbers, stadium-filling, over-produced, shamelessly derivative, five-man, smug-faced shit factory.”
David Attenborough: A solitary and pugnacious creature, the Rebecca Robinson will not take kindly to burgeoning indie bands that don’t tickle her fancy. A full-grown female will mount a stout defense, hurling a barrage of hyphenated phrases. If this formidable array should prove unsuccessful at deterring the bands, the enraged Robinson will somersault into a handstand, spraying a cloud of longwinded insults from specialized anal glands. Goodness, here comes the cloud!
“‘Mark Ronson-produced’ has already become synonymous with ‘garish and unlistenable’”
“This album is the solitary cockroach scuttling around in the post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteground of British music circa-2001”
“It’s shameful. Well presented and immaculately recorded, but still shit sub-Maccabees schlock.”
Becca, there are plenty of bands through the years that I haven’t particularly enjoyed. And like you, I wrote like a craven asshole when reviewing music. But I have to say that even at my most verbose and dickish, I never attacked a band with the drama-queen fury that you unleashed on these Rumble Strips. “Exaggeration” is an understatement when describing what you scribbled out here. Example number one:
“‘Welcome To The Walk Alone’ may have the skeletal blueprint of pop genius running through it like words in a stick of rock but it verges on insulting.”
Really? You’re insulted by that? I don’t like to make generalizations, but most folks are usually insulted by things like Down syndrome jokes, racism, sexism, genocide – that kind of stuff. But I suppose that since whatever you were talking about only “verged” on insulting, you can just as easily retort that you didn’t mean it was full-blown insulting.
But speaking of things that “verge” on whatever else, let’s take a gander at some more hyperbole, shall we?
“Charlie Waller’s voice verges on the vomit-inducing.”
Are you serious? Listening to this album actually made you nauseous to a point just shy of regurgitation? If you’re really not just exaggerating, you might want to get your GI tract checked out, Becca. It doesn’t sound healthy. If you nearly blow chunks when you hear some pop guitars and a falsetto, do you spontaneously combust when someone mentions child trafficking?
But I get it. I understand how easy it is to write that a band is ruining western civilization when the most heat you’ll catch for it is a couple of miffed comments in the page footer. It’s an opinion by law. But Becca, I have a problem with your choice of pronouns when doing it. You see, you have a tendency to avoid owning your asshole diatribes by writing your opinions as if they were formulated by someone other than you. Ahem…
“We can’t help pining for the vibrant and enthused band”
“we’re saved the inevitable crushing disappointment”
“We like to imagine the recording process involved Ronson beating them with sticks and screaming”
“We barely remember what ‘Sweet Heart Hooligan’ sounds like”
Look, Becca, I know it’s probably embarrassing for you to write that you personally like to imagine a producer beating a band with sticks, but please don’t include the rest of us without our consent. Just like Jeffrey Lebowski doesn’t quite get away with the royal we…you know, the editorial…you don’t speak for me. Unless you list at least one other person who agreed with you, then write in the first-person singular. After savaging a band you’ve never met because they played this note one way or that chord another, the least you can do is admit that you’re the one who pulled the trigger on their reputation.
I’ll be keeping my eye out for you in the future, Becca, careful to stay downwind when I do.