The album review is a precarious beast. The first and foremost conundrum that must be dealt with, is the why: why deconstruct an album; why search for profundity amidst the drivel; why analyze an artist’s oeuvre in an attempt to find meaning. For all questions concerning the why, please see my manifesto on music criticism here.
Then there’s always the case of trivializing artistic intent with pompous descriptors and a plethora of adjectives (both of which I am guilty of). Or over-analyzing some bored kid’s work, and attributing great meaning to the music, when really it’s just a mass of fuzz and haze (of which I am also guilty of).
And that’s not even mentioning the difficulty of ‘rating’ a record. Score an album too low and you’re labeled a cynic; too high and you’re a naïve optimist. Take the easy road out by giving it a six or a seven, and you’re criticized for having no backbone. I have long since abandoned allocating any kind of rating system: choosing an oft-arbitrary number out of ten, or how many thumbs I would raise, or Pitchfork’s decimal-place specificity seems incredibly pointless to me.
I have also found that reader’s often never make it beyond the initial rating – so refusing to describe an album with a mere number, may force people to actually read the articles. Or not… Probably not.
What follows, is the complete archive of my album reviews. Should you find meaning in my lengthy prose, even lengthier adjectives and generally unnecessary adverbs – then I have succeeded. Should your response be one of disgust, annoyance and utter fury at my fondness for words like somnambulant, bourgeois and soundscapes; the fact that I often interchange colons and semi-colons; or the sad truth that I’ve used the description, “a giddy, Kafkaesque exegesis of internal retrospection” more than once – I hope you can come to forgive me.
Also keep in mind, that this archive spans almost three years of work. Thus, my writing has been greatly improved, and I warn you against reading anything written before 2009, (my fifteenth year of life, and one where I employed multiple exclamation marks to convey my adolescent insights).
You may be interested to see how I got from here (my first review ever written) to here (my latest, and greatest review). It’s interesting to note that despite the latter being 4,000 words longer than the former, both reviews contain the words ethereal, amalgamation, and metamorphism. So maybe I haven’t really changed that much after all…
I want to first offer you the chance to explore the archives by year of publication, in order to avoid the sophomoric and cringe-worthy writing of my early years –
Browse by year:
Or you may peruse the album reviews by artist. Some reviews are scathing, others self-congratulatory, a few are largely apathetic and at least one was written while intoxicated.
♦ = capsule review
Browse by artist:
1990s – Kicks
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Before Today
♦ Bad Lieutenant – Never Cry Another Tear
Basement Jaxx – Scars
The Big Pink – A Brief History of Love
♦ Birds of Paradise – Birds of Paradise
Bishop Allen – Grrr…
Bloc Party – Intimacy Remixed
The Boy Least Likely To – The Best Party Ever
♦ Cage The Elephant – Cage The Elephant
Camera Obscura – My Maudlin Career
Christina Aguilera – Bionic
Cobra Starship – Hot Mess
♦ C.W. Stoneking – Jungle Blues
♦ DateMonthYear – Pot/Kettle/Black
David Guetta – One Love
Discovery – LP
Foals – Total Life Forever
Girls – Album
Harlem – Hippies
The Horrors – Primary Colours
Jack Johnson – To The Sea
James Blake – James Blake
Karen O and The Kids – Where The Wild Things Are OST
Kong – Snake Magnet
Male Bonding – Nothing Hurts
The Mars Volta – Octahedron
The Morning Benders – Big Echo
The Nextmen – Join The Dots
Of Montreal – False Priest
Picastro – Become Secret
♦ Port O’Brien – Threadbare
The Rural Alberta Advantage – Hometowns
Salli Lunn – Heresy & Rite
♦ The Temper Trap – Conditions
Tyler, The Creator – Goblin
Vampire Weekend – Contra
Washed Out – Life of Leisure
Why? – Eskimo Snow
Wolf Parade – Expo 86
The xx – xx
Yo La Tengo – Popular Songs
♦ Yves Klein Blue – Ragged & Ecstatic