Album: As Good as Gone
Critic: Jared Bier
Publication: Tiny Mix Tapes, 2010
Writing Disorders: Jargon Palsy, Ambiguity Sickness
Jared, back when I was a music louse, I used to write reviews like yours here — maybe not as hard to read, but just as vague and pointless. Judging from the vapid copy, I’m guessing you weren’t too thrilled about reviewing this Nudge album. Maybe you plucked it off a thin list surrounded by screamo albums. Maybe your editor cleared the backlog onto you. Maybe you burned the week procrastinating. I don’t know. If it’s any consolation, I reckon most critics would have forced the same four paragraphs of airy jargon too. It’s easier than admitting you have nothing to say.
This whole review could have been about three sentences long, but you padded it up fluffier than a feather pillow with stuff like this:
“With some genealogical backtracking, one could probably put together a rather convincing argument suggesting common antecedents and, thus, the common qualities shared by these aforementioned genres, but the album skitters about too often to reveal the connections.”
Jared, I’m gonna let the lard speak for itself because that ridiculous sentence got me thinking of something else. Sometimes I wonder what critics would sound like if they actually sat down with a band to criticize them firsthand. I reckon you’d probably just nervously mumble praise, but based on your writing anything’s possible:
Jared: Hi guys, this was a solid 50% effort, but next time you might want to skitter less. I think it would help weirdos like me better ascertain connections between common antecedents after a good genealogical backtracking.
I really hope Matt LeMay is the only outcast in a world where critics confine their jargon to the Internet. If you really blow stuff like that past your lips in conversation, I’d recommend drugs.
It probably wouldn’t hurt. You’re not the clearest cat in the alley, Jared, and it’s your own fault. Whatever minuscule points you make get buried under all the clutter heaped on top. Read this:
“Nudge’s isn’t by any means a brand that thwarts all stylistic categorization”
Now read this alternative:
“Nudge’s style doesn’t thwart categorization.”
Ahhhh…Allegra. Want another example? Good, because I’m giving it:
“And for every such triumph, Nudge roll around to throw a monkey wrench into the whole business of tidying up”
Jared, I’m assuming the most important part of that sentence is the monkey wrench throw. So why did you need to say Nudge rolled around to throw it? Is it imperative to specify they didn’t sneak up, bellyflop in, or shuffle over? When you’re writing about a band with a common verb for a name, it’s maybe not a good idea to follow it with two verbs.
It’s disappointing to see you on RipFork again for mostly the same reasons of jargon, tedium, and ambiguity. Your reviews make listening to music sound like scrubbing limescale, but for what? What’s the payoff? After clogging a short review with all that piffle, you concluded As Good As Gone “lacks…unity.” Whoa, call the fire department to douse the flames on that insight alarm.
Let’s wrap things up, Jared, because I’d like to spit out your cotton ball so I can go earn money. I think one of your criticisms aimed at the band can help illustrate a cure for your own bad writing:
“would have benefited from a few more pieces serving to fill in the gaps.”
Considering the gaps in this review, you might want to look in the mirror.