Vinyl Junkies – written from scratch (d’ya geddit?)

Eurgh. This weekend I have mostly been getting annoyed with lazy journalism. Cajun Dance Party are just finishing their A levels, apparently. They got the album finished and ready for release and then went back to school. Fair play to them. But does that really make it ok to then say that they’ll soon be ‘top of the class’? Is that really the best way to say that they’ve got plenty of potential (and a decent debut album, as it goes)? It’s like the reviewer was channeling the jokes of Jimmy Tarbuck in an attempt to avoid having to think of a single, original idea.

It’s not entirely the fault of these vacuous dullards that clutter up the reviews section of most of the (notional, if not actual) broadsheets. If you’re going to tell someone to review an album in 100 words or less you may as well have a rating system of just: Excellent, Good, Ok, A Bit Dull, Crap, Blunt. Why bother with the other words if, having deployed a subordinate clause, the review is pretty much over before its begun?

Today’s Madonna review in The Observer set of the crapulous bullshit alarm almost as quickly as the actual album being reviewed. Almost every time Gavin Henson plays in a rugby match at which his partner, Charlotte, is present,  the commentators will call him Mr Church at some point in the game. What the hell is that all about? Apart from the fact it means absolutely fuck all, it’s such a simplistic and dopey way of saying he happens to have a famous girlfriend. In a similar manner, today’s review of ‘Hard Candy’ mentioned a ‘Mr Ciccone’. When exactly did Guy Ritchie change his name by deed poll? I wasn’t aware he had time in between making gangster films according to the law of diminishing returns to do such a thing. I mean, for fuck’s sake, it doesn’t matter where that review had appeared; it’s shit journalism, and it’s meaningless space filling. I should know. Ahem.

I know I shouldn’t be getting worked up about this, but do any newspaper reviewers actually have anything to meaningful to say about the music they’re attempting to evaluate? Having spent a few years writing reviews for one of the monthlies, I can vouch for the fact that it’s bloody hard work, but that doesn’t mean you should just settle for the first draft to avoid getting stressed. A review needs to be an interesting piece of writing on its own, irrespective of what it’s about, otherwise why read it in the first place? 

I can’t actually remember what the review said about the album, but I’m willing to bet it’s every bit as desperate as the single that preceded it. Oh, and if you can spare a couple of quid, probably best send it to the ‘Clothes-that-aren’t-underwear for Madonna to wear in pictures and videos from now on fund’. Just Google it.

***

I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the tunes of The Field Mice and Trashcan Sinatras this weekend and, were I less worked up about trifling matters, I would happily tell you more. As it is, have a quick poke around the interweb. Emusic-ers can get a splendid compilation of pretty much all of the essential stuff by The Field Mice right now, while Trashcan novices can download slightly low quality audio files of much of their output here.

Oh, and the muxtape’s been updated to reflect some recent musical highlights.

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