5 Reasons I Don't Review New Music
Steve Wiley is Up on the Sun's resident Record Store Geek. Biweekly, he shares stories of great music and wacky characters from his continuing 27 years in Valley record stores and the always-zany music biz.
Generally when I tell people that I write about music, they assume I write reviews for new music. However, those of you that may have read my past ramblings may have noticed that I never write about new music.
Since I don't get to talk to many of you deranged characters, my assumption is that most of you just figure it is because I'm some middle-aged cat whose music-finding drive got stuck in his early 30s.
I am a middle-aged guy, but that's not the reason I don't review new music. You'd think it would be, considering I've got Five Reasons I Don't Write About New Music.
5. Today's Music Sucks
I'm kidding. I don't really think that. It was a bait-and-switch header. There's always great music coming out.
But over the years in the record stores, I've have heard plenty of guys my age say that . . . plenty of women too.
It's not their fault. New music is just harder to search out, and listen to, when you get older. It takes work. I rambled in detail about this is in a little blog called Finding New Music is Easy; Listening to it is Hard, so I won't expand.
In addition, it's harder for today's artists to break new ground and really blow me away.
It's not their fault either, it's just a matter of time, experience, and brain space.
On a grand scale, there's not nearly as much ground to break. On a personal scale, I'm still surrounded by CDs and LPs I've positively sampled that I'm still vowing to get to know better. On both scales, it's harder for new music to get through to me, let alone impress me.
4. I'm Not a Critic
I'm a fan. Big difference.
I can help you build a wicked music library. I can write top 10 album lists in my sleep. I believe that I could do music for a movie (except for securing rights and that sort of thing). I can do a lot with music.
But I can't make music. It's not something I've ever learned to do.
However, I am a creator. Writing, video, painting, drawing . . . I've put myself and my "works" out there in front of people for as long as I can remember, and I know how much of a mind fuck it is to do.
So the thought of dogging somebody else's album, their piece of art, in public, isn't very palatable.
And I'd have to dog it if I didn't like it. What sort of writer, or human, would I be if I didn't offer up the truth?
So I try to stick to the "if you've got nothing good to say" theory and write about stuff that I can recommend thoroughly. There's plenty of established classics you still haven't heard.