Friday, March 9, 2012

and speaking of record reviews...

The first record review I wrote was for Bon Jovi's first album.

It was not a well-written review. Worse, it was unfair in its negativity. I won't say I was being dishonest, but I was allowing myself to be unduly influenced by the opinions of others. I was a freshman in college, eager to ingratiate myself with the older students who ran the paper. I was given the album to review, and with it came plenty of snide references to how awful it was. The music editor who I was dealing with was not into any of the new stuff that was popular then. Hair-metal? Synth-based new wave? All bad. He was extremely closed-minded about musical styles (though, of course, he didn't see it that way). I let his taste influence me too much, and didn't give the record a fair shake.

I did acknolede that there were two decent songs -- "Runaway" (which managed to hit the Top 40) and "She Don't Know Me." Actually, looking them up on Wikipedia, I am surprised to see that those two singles peaked at 39 and 48 (respectively) on the Billboard chart.  I thought they did better -- probably because the video for "Runaway" got a lot of play on MTV.

At any rate, while I did acknowledge that those two songs were good, I also said that the rest of the album is a bunch of undistinguishable sound-alike tracks. I wrote that the guitar lead from "Love Lies" sounds like "a video game having its program violently mistreated." And, of course, I also asked if they used the same recorded guitar lead on every track or bothered to rerecord it for each.

Now, I can't at this time go over my review point by point. For one thing, I don't still have the album -- it was on vinyl, I got rid of most of my vinyl records in the last ten years or so, and that is one of the records I never bothered to replace with a CD copy. But suffice to say the album, even at its weakest, was much better than I gave it credit for.

But I don't think my negative review really hurt Bon Jovi's career much.

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