Saturday, March 10, 2012

one more word on groupthink in record reviews...

In yesterday's post, I talked about the first record review I wrote. I explained that I was unfair to the band, in lare part because of a subtle form of peer-pressure.

A more blatant example of that occurred later in that semester, when the paper got a review copy of The Smiths debut album. For some reason, the editor decided that we should all gang up on the record. So the whole music staff (or a large part of it anyway) struggled to outdo each other in negativity. We each wrote a review, and they all appeared under a defaced press photo of the band.

The fact is that some of my criticisms were actually accurate. Morrissey's vocals were a bland monotone. But (as did the others) I went over the top, looking for anything to nitpick, and refusing to acknowledge anything good. That was probably my low point as a music journalist.

Now, the fact is I never did get into the Smiths, and I have no real interest in their music. But still...

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