Album: For the Masses
Critic: Ian Roullier
Publication: MusicOMH, 2010
Writing Disorders: Detachment Syndrome, Scorn Disease
Irony: “it should at least be joyful, unpretentious fun”
Ian, I thoroughly enjoyed picking over your review. And I want to thank you for all your online self-promotion. It really helps me to poke fun at a music critic when he’s written lengthy autobiographical tracts on several sites. It gives me a better picture. So to show my gratitude before we begin, I’m going to give my audience a little reading aid. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine the kind of person who writes such self-absorbed crap about musicians, so here’s a photo to place a face with his work.
Now let’s begin. You didn’t really care for this album – I gathered that much from the empty rating circles. And this:
“Well, sometimes restraint and reason must be eschewed in a fit of seething rage. After hearing this latest set from Leeds-born London-based ‘dance-punk’ outfit, Hadouken!, feathers need to be spat.”
…Or you could have just sent the album back to your editor and politely declined instead of throwing a word conniption. You were seriously thrown into a “seething rage” after listening to an album? Wow, I wouldn’t want to be the waitress to fudge your lunch order. Instead of a tip, I might get a diatribe on napkins about my exact place in the sorry state of the food service industry.
Half the time I’m not even sure where you’re directing your rage because it all became “one amorphous clod.” There’s more about your intense hatred of teenagers than your thoughts on the album itself:
“one amorphous clod of flaky, pubescent nothingness.”
“angst-ridden exuberance is all very exciting, but ultimately it’s a fruitless hormonal outburst”
“sounds like a bunch of teenagers screaming at themselves in the mirror in between squeezing their spots and wondering why nobody’s tweeted them for the past 18 seconds”
“they come across as snotty adolescents with an emotional range more limited than that of Paris Hilton”
Look, I know it must be awkward being the only 33-year-old at the high school dance, but you were a teenager at some point too, Ian. And just because most of them listen to something other than “Jean Michel Jarre’s Franco-techno” doesn’t mean that they deserve an older man’s tightly puckered hindsight. That’s weird.
But while we’re on the subject of scrunched assholes, I got a kick out of this:
“Naming individual tracks and pinpointing their flaws is a foregone luxury”
Well, I’m sure you’d propel the UK to gold and glory if pointing out flaws in individual tracks were an Olympic event. But you also thought it was “one amorphous clod,” so who knows? Maybe you’re just talking out of your butt because you’re so hopping mad about teenagers. And it’s not like your writing is so much more original than whatever Hadouken! made here. Is it so different from your peers’? Let’s take a look at some ridiculous hyphenation…
“their drum-and-bass-castrated-for-mass-consumption sound”
A weird metaphor…
“it’s about as hard as a knob of butter in a blast furnace”
An overreliance on adverbs…
“fantastically, stunningly groundbreaking”
The patronizing tone…
“everyone with half a brain sits and sniggers”
Capping it all off is your severe aversion to the capital “I” except when writing your own name. I’m still struggling to unravel why so many music critics lack the ability, but I think I understand why you’re so loath to write in the first person. Here’s something you wrote in your confusing two-paragraph introduction before even mentioning the band you hated:
“Surely it’s a journalist’s duty to report back the truth”
By “truth,” I assume you mean your opinion. Ian, forgive me for saying I don’t cower before your gravitas. You’ve written front-page articles on BOTH the Islington Gazette AND the Tottenham & Wood Green Journal, but in the land of subjective experience, you’re just one seven-billionth of the earth. Use the first person.
I’m going to close on your opening here, Ian, because it’s still baffling. I don’t know if it was meant to be ironic or if you really have no self-awareness when it comes to writing:
“Some hacks feel the need to proclaim their love or lay into a band merely because they want to form an extreme black/white opinion that they can then spout in a review, feeling it injects some kind of ‘personality’ into their prose.”
For all your effort, Ian, you don’t much stand out from that crowd.