Allow me to clarify my main point: i have been a critic, some time professional, most of the time out of simple passion. I have dissected music, books and movies. I have put my heart into it since i wanted to WRITE about what i loved, to share my feelings about it, my views. And some times it can be an incredibly satisfactory process. For an addict to sharing like i am, its a fun gig. And also a quite noble exercise for writing, since its hard to put feelings into words, without sounding fake or clichéed. When you're good at it, your words can get to the heart of a person and make them interested into wahjt youre talking of and feel waht you felt.
Still, that isnt the case for the most part. Music/Cinema journalism is the lowest point of writing. Its a bunch if jaded people that get paid to write long winded, hazy rambling pieces about things that they dont care for, dont love or hardly experinced at all. Most of the time the sponsoirs dictate what they have towrite: you wither keep the reviews positive or you get no more promotion and loose your position or work.
And in some cases, you hear so much of whatever youre reviewing, that you loose any interest or passion for it. You just go through it lik in an assembly ine, with no heart or involvement. Everything becomes a numb series of lookalike empty holes. You started with a passion but passion dies eventually and the business and industry take its place.
So at some point, it even hard to fill the character quota. Maybe you havent even listened to the album. Not attentively. Or you couldnt care less about it, but you cannot say that. So what do you do?
Here's a few suggestion from a guy that has done it and done it many times and well. Cause in a world were passion, intelligence and talent are a minus, methodical mediocrity is the way out.
- Use Generic Number Scores That Wont Bother Anyone
Nowadays, the average reader of reviews hardly pays attention to what you write. People are borderline illiterate, so if they make the effort to pay attention to what you have to say about something, first thing they'll slam their eye on (and possibly the only one, will be a genereic number score. Doesnt matter if you find what you criticized mediocre, good but flawed, adequate or whatever. Just put a 9 under it and get on with your day: That will erase your credibility but credibility doesnt pay.
- Be Verbose
You have a word quota to fill and a deadline. And what you have there is so numbingly duill that you really have not much to say about it. Or, simply, you didnt have the time or disposition to analyze it in depth. People dont get that most of the time, beoing a critic isnt a JOB, music writers dont get money out of it. They get the stuff to review and a couple of freebies but also get the hassle from artists (who generally despise them), labels (who hate their guts and want them to be trained monekys) and the idiot public (who no matter what always get pissed at articles and unleash their pent up rage at them). So, to avoid this, just be pointlessly verbose. You'll get shit thrown at you anyway (probably by people who couldnt write a grocery list) but at least youll get out of it. Use words like "gravitas", "momentum", "Sophomore", "pastiche. When youre describing music, use reviewer lingo, like "platter" instead of album. Fill half the review recounting the bio of the band, in detail. Describe one song with clinical detail, using boring technical sentences that have no hint of criticism in them as in "the title track is a three minute groove laden tunes with interweaved tapestries of keyboards and a pulsating rhythmic section". See? what i just wrote doesnt mean shit. Could be anything. But it filled space.
- Take No Positions
In theory, your opinion should be an effective statement that has meaning and could really influence your readers towards what you review. Reality is one of those options:
- You have no readers, besides your firends, and evn they just peek at a few of your writings mostly for a laugh
- You have a few readers but they just read your stuff to take digs at you when they're on a bad day, so whether youre objective or not, it makes no difference
- You have an audience but if you wanna keep doing it (but honestly, why? get a real job, your mom was right) you have to please the hand that feeds
So to avoid trouble and mental exhaustion by taking no stances and circling around the judgement youre supposed to make. Write lengthy paragraphs that say nothing. Numb everyone that reads so they stop reading. So you can numb yourself
- Read No Feedback And in General Be Ready For Disappointment
What you write will be quoted out of context, attacked in the comment section or be completely ignored. Yours, in the end, is an opinion and even if it comes froma good place, our world has no interest for opionions. So just prepare yourself. Forget why you did this and ignore all feedback. Do it to get to a better place, to fill time or to keep your writing in form. Dont put heart into it. Not even near it.
So thats the cold truth. Do what you want of it.