Artist: Meghan Trainor
Critic: Dan Weiss
Publication: SPIN, 2015
Writing Disorders: Scorn Disease, Infectious Punctuation
Irony: “typifies her personality problem”
Dan, help me out here. I’m trying to figure out why this man:
Would review this:
Oh, don’t get me wrong — I’m not suggesting dour men in their 30s can’t review pop albums recorded by women barely old enough to order a cocktail. It’s creepy, but these are tolerant times. And who knows? Maybe “Love Me Harder” is your jam and you belt out “Come & Get It” in the shower. Maybe I shouldn’t guess musical tastes based on beard, posture and choice of eyewear.
So enlighten me. Why DID you review a Meghan Trainor album? To give “enthusiastic yet discerning” commentary in the spirit of “tough-minded criticism?” Or did you just want to ass-ream an album you knew you’d hate for the Twitter attention?
I’ll get back to motivation in a bit, but for now let’s just focus on the writing. SPIN must be in dire straits if they named you anything with the word “editor” in the title. I read a lot of crappy reviews, but I still don’t understand why you or any other sourpuss can’t just trash an album succinctly. It’s not that hard. All you need to do is write something along the lines of “I didn’t like this” or “I didn’t care for that,” then give whatever reason and be done with it. You’ll probably still get defenders and haters duking it out in the comment section, and Web-only SPIN can limp through another quarter still in business.
But nope, you’ve got to dance around the donkey punch. Can’t talk smack without the clunky sociological introductions, the awful sentence structure, and the hyphens — oh, the hyphens.
“more of a you-can’t-sit-with-us aside”
“the oldest-joke-in-the-book-ask-a-lawyer “Lips Are Movin”
Look, I’m all for recreational hyphen use. But for every responsible user there’s a music critic plopped on a toilet with rubber tubing in his teeth, shooting hyphens out of a syringe the size of an oil drum. And WHY they do it has always baffled me. Why write like a pronunciation guide on Webster when you can just MOVE WORDS AROUND? That’s something an “eh-di-ter” does.
Whatever, I’ll just move on. Dan, you write poorly. This review is loaded with confusing sentences like this:
“Thing is, only the late Amy Winehouse managed to escape the retro-soul, big-band trap that OutKast (“Hey Ya!”) and Cee Lo (“Fuck You”) didn’t even try squeeze a second novelty smash from.”
Aside from that not making sense because you forgot a “to” in there — good one, editor — WTF are you even talking about? Are you saying Amy Winehouse “escaped” because she died — messed up — or that she was somehow the “only” one when you name two other artists who also escaped? Or does “escaping” mean not getting involved in the first place? In which case…WTF are you talking about? Isn’t retro soul what Amy Winehouse did, or are you talking about Amelia Winehouse, thrash metal soloist?
Now do me a favor and take a look at these two sentences side by side:
“What we don’t know is if she will ever turn a phrase as memorable as “no treble” again.”
“Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top” is the most important sentence Meghan Trainor will ever sing.”
So you don’t know…and you’re absolutely certain? Wow, that sounds like BS or — wait, I’ve got it — maybe you just didn’t read through your review before you posted it to cull dumb inconsistencies like that.
And then there’s the scorn. This whole thing reads like a gonzo porno, where the dude’s got his foot on a girl’s head, hissing “take it, bitch.”
“if she was actually as clever as her press release”
“if only she was as shameless lyrically as she is musically”
“she wants the dude she’s fucking to give her one”
Dan, back when I was an aspiring music louse, I thought I’d have to put in years on the beat to even get considered by Spin. But after reading some of your stuff, I’m convinced the interview process goes something like this:
SPIN: So…you have ears?
SPIN: And…you’re a dick?
SPIN: WELCOME ABOARD.
All of this is really disappointing to me, Dan, because you’re actually a talented musician, a talented musician no one really knows about or listens to, but that’s my point. If your band ever gets on the chopping block, would you want a preteen Katy Perry aficionado who hates loud guitars in basements writing the review? That’d be a crappy deal, right?
Or maybe you’d vigorously defend the perverse psychology behind dumping on artists just for the hell of it. If that’s the case, I’m glad Dan Weiss, drummer and composer, is above you in the Google results of your name. I think that’s enough scorn for today.