I started reviewing on the internet by going to my local pub and watching the bands that would be performing and review them on a blog. I would usually spend the night being an unimpressed smug bastard and the next day publicly decrying the acts, harshly. Way too harshly than most of the bands (read 'all' of the bands) deserved. I thought I was being clever, cool, nonchalant. And it's taken a while, but I think this attitude, common on the net, has gotten really old and is ultimately fruitless.
The internet is saturated with people on blogs and in comments sections who spend so much of their free time spewing bile about bands or releases they didn't like, coming up with inventive and humorous metaphors and similes to send up the offending material.
As the saying goes, "Everybody's a critic" especially on the internet. It's become a bit of a trend mainly due to it being easy; mocking something someone else has done is far easier than creating something original yourself, and being sceptical and cynical is always perceived as 'cool' so now everyone takes the piss from their seats of power and anonymity and it's just gotten so weary. I'm officially sick of the negativity.
I'm not saying that people aren't allowed to say they didn't like something, just that there's too much focus being put on the negative. I guess it can make a person feel more naked to declare liking something than hating it, so that's the more common impulse, especially if that something has less of a following that will readily back you up.
I used to have a lot of time for hate and bile, these days I find myself jaded and tired reading about what people hate or even talking about what I hate. Video's like "Top Ten Worst Metal Bands,""Why Bring Me The Horizon Suck," etc., make me sigh with frustration. Not to mention the slew of comments that inevitably follow, usually to the tune of "WTF? Dis list sux. Ur music iz crap!" I just think, if it's so awful, why waste time on it? Listen to something you like or let other people know about this awesome thing you know about! It makes much more sense to me. I feel so much more enthusiasm for the positive reviews than I ever did for the rush of bile I felt for the scathing whine fests.
Essentially I think we all need to chill out somewhat, and remember that we don't listen to music to feel superior or to ruin other people's experience; we listen to music to be moved, to enjoy it. Don't we? Anything else, in my opinion is a waste of time. Recently, I've found blogs and vloggers who more likely than not will use their limited free time and infinite net space to talk about music and topics they think is really good and that they think other people will want to hear about and it's wonderful. Think about it, will you ever regret that you never took the time to call someone an idiot for liking 'Death Magnetic' on YouTube? Will you wish you hadn't just laughed and turned on an album you love?
I'm not saying I'll never write an angry review again or get pissed off when someone has got different taste to me, because I will, but I think it will help to remember the very true remark Laurie Anderson made: "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture". Keep that in mind before you waste time trashing the next KERRANG! teeny bopper poser band.
~Martin Dean Grainger