Ben's Arbitrary Record Reviews (and other music-based speculations)

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Why a Music Site/Blog?

If I’m any judge of character (and I am), I imagine you’re probably sitting there saying to yourself, “Not another wannabe music critic. Why are you jumping on this bandwagon? Do you really think I want to be told what I should like by you when I can get that from Mark Prindle? Don’t you realize I can go on youtube and listen to a song as easily as you can, and make up my own mind? Shit, I can watch a man tea-bagging a Shetland pony if I want; my own tailor-made jizz-festival is only a google-search away. You make me sick, sitting there in your hip-muso-ivory-tower, reveling in your oh-so-informed didacticism! Fuck you!”

Firstly, calm down and let me pull the rug from under your expectations. Like most young Caucasians I wanted to be a prospering musical artiste from the moment I realized my love for playing the guitar, but as the years roll on that ambition becomes an inevitably diminishing light at the end of a very long tunnel. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m resigned to my fate as a failed musician, an as such my inevitable raison d’etre: passing judgement on other (successful) musicians with a sense of envy-fuelled resentment. Hence, this site.

The point is, I’m not here to tell people what to like; my sole intention is to point them in the direction of good/interesting music that they might not have been exposed to before. I’ll give my opinion, then, keeping in the spirit of open discourse, you can tell me if you agree (always nice to meet another well-informed music fan) or disagree (what the fuck is your problem anyway?).

What Will this Website Feature?

My aim here is to create a nexus of my (and hopefully others) ideas regarding music in general. I’ll be reviewing stuff as well as discussing arbitrary thoughts that occur to me and possibly make lists pertaining to these thoughts, as that’s what people seem to like these days.

I’ll attempt to review an examlpe of at least one of the following on a weekly basis:

a) something in congruence with the contemporary zeitgeist (released in the last few years)

b) a “classic” album, which I might love, hate or be indifferent to

c) an “underground” or forgotten album most people probably haven’t heard (or at least something not in the mainstream)

An example of this triumvirate would be In Rainbows (Radiohead), In Rock (Deep Purple) and The Ruin of Nova Roma (Taint). (Incidentally, these are all albums you should hear)

I’ll use a rating system of 0-10, with 0.5 integers. I could just grade things out of twenty, but I enjoy using the word integers too much.

Just an FYI: As far as formatting goes, don't be surprised to see me blaze my own erroneous trail regarding the conventions of "good" writing. My time doing philosophy at degree level taught me to loathe academia and all the facets thereof i.e. correct formatting. (It also taught me the definitions of words like ‘solipsism’, and that you're more likely to get a job with no qualifications at all, than with a degree in philosophy.)

A Word on the Enemies of Contemporary Music

This may be a trite sentiment, but music really is an amazing thing; the ability to produce and enjoy it is one of humanity’s greatest gifts. When it’s done well it can be can be a source of joy, anger, sadness, elation, even transcendence. But music – worthwhile music – is under perpetual attack from a merciless plague driven by greed and the quest for ratings.

The most insidious element of these TV talent shows is the profit-worshipping, black-hearted vultures for whom music is literally just a business; the shows are a factory production line pumping out a brand new carcass to strip the flesh from as often as they’d like. The mentality seems to be:

Hmm, this person can sing. Quick, let’s manipulate the fucking dolts who watch this programme into lauding them, milk them dry, make a fuck-ton of money, drop the chump like a used Durex, then put them out to pasture in obscurity.

The judges on these things don’t fare much better when judged as individuals. Take the dark overlord, Simon Cowell. This is a man who epitomizes baffling narcisissm; a man who almost certainly gets erection when he looks in mirror despite resembling a malformed eggplant with no fashion sense. Cowell is worse than a lot of the other judges in so far as he plays up to the idea he actually has an interest in something other than the marketability of contestants. It’s a blatantly dishonest canard with which he tries to maintain the façade of credibility, whilst firmly retaining dollar signs in his eyes.

The poor, the stupid , the confused and the elderly that comprise the deluded masses who frequent (and watch) these programmes are less to blame than those who produce them. They’ve just bought into a lie, and as such they don’t want to perform and create art for the love of doing it, they want an easy path to being rich and famous. The whole pursuit has been polluted by this attitude that music owes them a living. After the dream dies in a few months, the next time we’ll see these people is when they pop up on I Love the Noughties in 20 years time. That’s if they can spare the time between playing working men’s clubs.

So do your bit for the preservation of music as a worthy pursuit. Shun the industry that sells its collective soul and negates artistic integrity for the sake of financial gain.