Band: The Courteeners
Critic: Camilla Pia
Publication: MusicOMH, 2010
Writing Disorders: Infectious Punctuation, Detachment Syndrome
Longest Sentence: 66 words
Warts: “Wilde-esque musings,” “perhaps most puerile,” “obsessive Oasis-aping,” “dumb bravado anthems”
Camilla, I was shocked to discover that you’re two years older than me, because reading this review I got the impression you were still in high school. Thinking that, I had some hope that you could be turned away from the dark side, but it might be too late. This review has so many hallmarks of bad music writing that amputation could be the only cure.
So…where to begin? Well, let’s just start with your opening sentence and see how things flow from there:
“With Liam and Noel on trial separation for the time being (their ‘will they, won’t they’ over the years boasting more ups and downs than a Brangelina biog) there’s an opening for a gutsy rock ‘n’ roll boy band to keep the post-pub punters in good voice.”
Camilla, WTF is with that matryoshka doll sentence? Putting quotation marks inside parentheses inside a sentence filled to the brim with apostrophes and hyphens doesn’t exactly scream “clarity.” Try reading that sentence without the pointless parenthetical aside. Whoa…
But you’re so hung up on cramming sentences that I think you’re just forgetting how simple and appreciated readability can be. Take this next sentence:
“As adoration goes it’s pretty baffling, but let’s not forget this place has a tendency to over-revel in a romantic nostalgia for all of its musical achievements past – the opening of Peter Hook’s Hacienda-alike The Factory most recent testament to that.”
Speaking of pretty baffling, what the hell is with that last clause? Did you forget a verb somewhere in there, or am I missing something? If you’re going to write a mad-lib, at least give us a blank space. But there was something else in that sentence that pinched a nerve, Camilla: the word “let’s”. Anyone who’s read RipFork past the first post probably already knows what I’m getting at, but just in case you’re inexperienced, I think some more of your plump prose might help to illustrate:
“We’re not asking for Wilde-esque musings here, but talk of a “space cadet dressed in fibreglass”, plans to “fuck right off into the middle of the sky” and perhaps most puerile “I’m still young/ I need life more than I need a wife/ the good times are calling me” are so pitiful they make Lady GaGa’s pen to paper sound like poetry.”
Well, what are “we” asking for here, Camilla? Since you didn’t specify who’s in the club, I’m going to assume I’m included. So…girl I’ve never met who lives thousands of miles away…how do you know I’m NOT asking for Wilde-esque musings here?
I’ve got a theory, Camilla. I don’t think so many music critics are reluctant to use the first-person singular only because they learned to avoid it like the plague at university. I think they feel uncomfortable writing such harsh words against another person with such a bare label of ownership. Read this:
“I’m not asking for Wilde-esque musings here”
Sounds different, huh? To me it sounds petulant and bossy, like you’re the center of the universe. But turn “I” into “we” and all of a sudden it sounds softer, more authoritative, like a consensus. I wouldn’t have made much of this if it were just a random occurrence, but…
“you can’t help but feel”
“let’s not forget”
“We know they can do it”
“we’ve got to ask”
“you can actually picture”
The way I see it, you’ve got a couple choices here, Camilla. Either you can keep writing other people’s opinions to insulate your own, or you can start writing only what you feel comfortable owning up to. You might find you focus more on the positives. Imagine that.
There’s still much to cover, so feel free to get up and move around before the next bit. It was hard singling out just one example of your bent logic from a field of so many, but here goes:
“there’s a painful attempt at disco”
I don’t understand the U-turn on disco in the past three decades. From what I’ve gleaned, disco was hated by nearly all who couldn’t dance when it first came out. It was to music critics what Gossip Girl is for religious fundamentalists today. Now after all that rancor, there’s considered a right and wrong way to make disco to the point where a band can actually mess it up? What exactly are the new rules, Camilla? I’m curious. Are you sure you didn’t mean that you thought it was a bad disco song rather than a painful attempt? If there’s actually a book called “The Right Way to Make Disco,” I’ll relent, but otherwise I’m calling BS.
All right, one more rope on the rump and we’ll call it a day. I’m going to put two statements side by side for comparison:
“The Courteeners, back from being brutally beaten into submission by critics over dreadfully retro debut St Jude”
“So we’ve got to ask: When will The Courteeners actually be themselves? We know they can do it; piano-backed Last Of The Ladies and thundering finale Will It Be This Way Forever are both striking in their stark honesty”
Let me see if I’ve got this straight. You’re basing your assessment of a band’s true self off of two songs from a two-album catalog? Call me crazy, but maybe those are just two songs that you liked and represent how you want the band to sound overall. But hey, I guess “we” all agree with whatever you think anyway. You must be proud to join the solemn ranks of those who “brutally beat” an album into submission. Such a noble calling.
Work on your writing.