Rolling Music Writers' Thread

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it amazes me that some PRs are still trying to send post to the former address of a company i stopped working for in 2008

liberté, égalité, beyoncé (lex pretend), Wednesday, 18 April 2012 15:52 (2 years ago) Permalink

Whiney and another editor got me away from "I", came to prefer it, esp. conveying my take via sneaky description.Which imposes its own test: later for the passing zings, make your case (but don't cram it too full, as I've been known to do). I don't see too much "I" these days; "we" and "you" are much more problematic: "When we hear, it we're amazed", "you're amazed." I am?

dow, Wednesday, 18 April 2012 16:04 (2 years ago) Permalink

I avoid the first person on dates too.

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 18 April 2012 16:04 (2 years ago) Permalink

"so, what do you think about getting some thai food?"

"ONE MIGHT ENJOY THAT. ONE MIGHT ALSO ENJOY SOME SUSHI."

scott seward, Wednesday, 18 April 2012 16:19 (2 years ago) Permalink

i am pro-one

liberté, égalité, beyoncé (lex pretend), Wednesday, 18 April 2012 16:20 (2 years ago) Permalink

I can understand why "I" might have been a bad idea in print media, but in this day and age, who am I/you/we/one kidding? I don't mind "I" if necessary.

Scary Move 4 (dog latin), Wednesday, 18 April 2012 16:23 (2 years ago) Permalink

I'd much, much rather see (and OMG use) "I" than "one." But that "we" and esp. "you", yeesh.

dow, Wednesday, 18 April 2012 16:33 (2 years ago) Permalink

I use "I" a bit but sparingly, I think most commonly when I want to imply "YMMV" to the entire audience.

Tim F, Wednesday, 18 April 2012 20:31 (2 years ago) Permalink

You Made Me Vrealize. What?

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 18 April 2012 20:32 (2 years ago) Permalink

one hates to continuously look up "ymmv" for one's edification.

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 18 April 2012 20:33 (2 years ago) Permalink

We think "ymmv" is a fine acronym, and we know you will too.

Tim F, Wednesday, 18 April 2012 20:35 (2 years ago) Permalink

i always forget "ymmv" too. it's just not a phrase one ever says in real life, is the thing

liberté, égalité, beyoncé (lex pretend), Wednesday, 18 April 2012 20:40 (2 years ago) Permalink

yeah "mileage may vary" is a pretty obscure phrase compared to "kissing my teeth"

some former lust object you've shamefully forgotten (some dude), Wednesday, 18 April 2012 20:43 (2 years ago) Permalink

lol

man down (D-40), Wednesday, 18 April 2012 20:50 (2 years ago) Permalink

isk how many times i have to explain that kmt is a thing in the uk

liberté, égalité, beyoncé (lex pretend), Wednesday, 18 April 2012 20:55 (2 years ago) Permalink

*isdk

liberté, égalité, beyoncé (lex pretend), Wednesday, 18 April 2012 20:55 (2 years ago) Permalink

oh my god

*idk

liberté, égalité, beyoncé (lex pretend), Wednesday, 18 April 2012 20:55 (2 years ago) Permalink

thread fubar

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 18 April 2012 20:55 (2 years ago) Permalink

"Chups" will always be better than "kissing my teeth".

Une semaine de Bunty (ShariVari), Wednesday, 18 April 2012 20:58 (2 years ago) Permalink

KMT isn't really a thing in the UK though is it?

Scary Move 4 (dog latin), Thursday, 19 April 2012 09:32 (2 years ago) Permalink

proves nothing

Scary Move 4 (dog latin), Thursday, 19 April 2012 09:54 (2 years ago) Permalink

it proves that a lot of people in the UK are right now using the commonly understood abbreviation kmt

liberté, égalité, beyoncé (lex pretend), Thursday, 19 April 2012 10:00 (2 years ago) Permalink

btw lex I noticed your new name and love it

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 19 April 2012 10:08 (2 years ago) Permalink

apparently there were protesters in france recently wearing that slogan on their T-shirts. i want one

liberté, égalité, beyoncé (lex pretend), Thursday, 19 April 2012 10:38 (2 years ago) Permalink

Used to think I wrote best at night, with a bottle of wine, when I was young and stupid and angry. Then I thought I wrote best early on weekend mornings, when it was quiet. Now I'd rather go for a bike ride on early weekend mornings. I write, in one form or another, all day at work. if I'm blogging or reviewing for someone, which is very rare these days, I do it in the evening, after tea, generally, and try and do it quickly. Revisions? Unlikely.

Sick Mouthy (Scik Mouthy), Thursday, 19 April 2012 10:47 (2 years ago) Permalink

I dream of writing quickly. On ILX I'm extremely slapdash, and basically type faster than I speak, but outside of that I can spend quarter-hours deliberating over the placement of a comma or agonising over a sentence structure. It's shit because once I've re-read and re-structured a paragraph for the umpteenth time it stops making sense to me, and later when it's published it just sounds wooden.

Scary Move 4 (dog latin), Thursday, 19 April 2012 11:06 (2 years ago) Permalink

From this thread: Writing Reviews: How do YOU do it?

Writing Reviews: How do YOU do it?

Disclaimer: I've been writing reviews for a few years now and have got some cool work from it as a result, but I don't think I'm very good at it and I certainly don't think I've improved hugely since I began, so this thread is kinda selfish on my part. Sorry.

― Blue Collar Retail Assistant (Dwight Yorke), Friday, 27 April 2012 09:27 (1 hour ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Where do you write?

At home, at my desk. I only have a laptop though and I should really get a proper screen and keyboard as it's extremely uncomfortable typing on a small computer. Sometimes I sneak a little bit in in breaks at work but generally I don't like distractions, so no TV or background noise other than the music I'm writing about.

What do you about tight turn-arounds?

Panic a bit, stay up too late...

Do you try and listen to only the album under review as much as possible or do you let your listening habits remain relatively unchanged?

Generally I'll listen to it so much that it's rare I go back to it after review, even if I loved the album. It's a bit like learning a song you love on the guitar - once you've taken it apart and put it back together, it's hard to relive the magic.

How many drafts should you do?

I redraft as I go, although I'd rather take a different approach - i.e. doing a rough draft and then redrafting

How much biographical information is necessary?

Depends on the band, innit? Biographical info is necessary if it relates to the album I guess, but not if it doesn't

Basically just tell us your methods and practices, there's so many great writers on here and it'd be awesome to get a peek into the creative process.

So, basically I find the easiest way to go about writing a review is to imagine you're describing the album to a mate. Often if I'm working on something and a friend asks me about what I'm reviewing, I find I can summarise my feelings fairly well to them. That's your opening paragraph, and then it's on from there. I'm not a big fan of going through the whole album track by track, listing highlights and lowlights, I'd rather write about as though I were writing about a person - so rather than talking about the shape of that person's right hand, I'd describe their personality, the way they comport themselves etc...

Scary Move 4 (dog latin), Friday, 27 April 2012 10:19 (1 year ago) Permalink

"imagine you're describing the album to a mate."

That's the best advice about most forms of journalism. I always say that to young writers when discussing use of language: you're telling the reader what is happening. Works well for news. You wouldn't say: "The rain came down in black sheets as the maroon Volvo slid across the greasy surface to a cataclysmic halt in the front door of 67 Office Street." You'd say: "A car crashed into the front door of our office. It skidded on the road because of heavy rain."

Manfred Mann meets Man Parrish (ithappens), Friday, 27 April 2012 10:46 (1 year ago) Permalink

Yes, but a record isn't a news item (well it might be sometimes but generally it isn't) and I've never much liked the restaurant waiter approach to record reviewing ("I'm afraid the new Jack White is slightly off, sir, but the new Rufus Wainwright is a dish to savour").*

*Note: I have not yet sat down and listened properly to Blunderbuss which for all I know may well be a visionary work of genius, but you get the idea.

Here he is with the classic "Poème Électronique." Good track (Marcello Carlin), Friday, 27 April 2012 10:52 (1 year ago) Permalink

I'd want a second source on the heavy rain explanation

TracerHandVEVO (Tracer Hand), Friday, 27 April 2012 10:52 (1 year ago) Permalink

You might be able to claim on insurance so it's well worth verifying.

Here he is with the classic "Poème Électronique." Good track (Marcello Carlin), Friday, 27 April 2012 10:54 (1 year ago) Permalink

"Black sheets of rain" are a specific exclusion.

Mark G, Friday, 27 April 2012 11:01 (1 year ago) Permalink

"imagine you're describing the album to a mate."

That's the best advice about most forms of journalism.

i repeat this to my students so damned much. more than any other type of journalism, music journalism seems to be about nailing that tone.

Bad Company's Drummer's Daughter (stevie), Friday, 27 April 2012 11:13 (1 year ago) Permalink

i don't really have "rules" as such cuz it's dependent on the album, the artist, my word count etc, but i was talking to another ilxor writer y'day about how writing generally feels a bit like stitching to me (not that i've ever stitched anything but yeah). jotting down phrases or words i want to use, or ideas i want to cover, either on my phone or in a document, then kind of knitting them together when i come to actually write it.

liberté, égalité, beyoncé (lex pretend), Friday, 27 April 2012 11:15 (1 year ago) Permalink

i can't stand writers who have contempt for their readers. i think that was one of the greatest sins committed by NME during my era there. xp

Bad Company's Drummer's Daughter (stevie), Friday, 27 April 2012 11:16 (1 year ago) Permalink

You wouldn't say: "The rain came down in black sheets as the maroon Volvo slid across the greasy surface to a cataclysmic halt in the front door of 67 Office Street."

why wouldn't you?

("cataclysmic halt" is awful and nonsensical, agreed)

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 27 April 2012 11:20 (1 year ago) Permalink

or are you saying "Don't write as if you're Writing Prose"?

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 27 April 2012 11:22 (1 year ago) Permalink

for me the ideal is somewhere between bald delivery of facts, and using prose to effectively heighten reality for narrative purposes. it's all a question of balance.

Bad Company's Drummer's Daughter (stevie), Friday, 27 April 2012 11:22 (1 year ago) Permalink

It's like pentin' you have to know the rules before you're allowed to ignore them.

Mark G, Friday, 27 April 2012 11:23 (1 year ago) Permalink

"Black sheets of rain" - wasn't that a dodgy Bob Mould solo album?

Here he is with the classic "Poème Électronique." Good track (Marcello Carlin), Friday, 27 April 2012 11:24 (1 year ago) Permalink

No, it was a fucking awesome Bob Mould album.

Bad Company's Drummer's Daughter (stevie), Friday, 27 April 2012 11:29 (1 year ago) Permalink

I think it is a little too ready to laden on Heavy Metal guitar thunder to obscure the absence of melodics interests that so distinguished Workbook and Blue Coppers.

Here he is with the classic "Poème Électronique." Good track (Marcello Carlin), Friday, 27 April 2012 12:40 (1 year ago) Permalink

whereas

would be an awesome single, if only "Pictures of Matchstick Men" didn't exist.

Mark G, Friday, 27 April 2012 13:00 (1 year ago) Permalink

I dream of writing quickly. On ILX I'm extremely slapdash, and basically type faster than I speak, but outside of that I can spend quarter-hours deliberating over the placement of a comma or agonising over a sentence structure. It's shit because once I've re-read and re-structured a paragraph for the umpteenth time it stops making sense to me, and later when it's published it just sounds wooden.

^^ same here

rusty_allen, Friday, 27 April 2012 13:20 (1 year ago) Permalink

4 months pass...

How do you plan your reviews and articles? Do you write out a structure? use a mindmap? Take notes? Or just start writing and see what comes out?

This Is... The Police (dog latin), Wednesday, 26 September 2012 09:11 (1 year ago) Permalink

Live reviews: start writing and see what comes out (more or less). When writing for my city newspaper, the first 120-odd characters get auto-tweeted by them with a link and without a headline, so the first sentence has to be a pretty straightforward "please click me" lead-in, containing the name of the act. That gets me over the initial hump.

Features: Once my thoughts come to boiling point, I scribble down a detailed long-hand plan, extremely quickly, trying not to pause if I can possibly help it. That usually gives me around 3 pages of A4. Some bits won't make it into the first draft, other bits might get chopped out later, but the overall structure rarely changes much - as by scribbling at high-speed, I find I can retain the overall shape and flow of the argument. No idea whether this is common practice - it's a self-invented method, but it works for me.

mike t-diva, Wednesday, 26 September 2012 09:51 (1 year ago) Permalink

I'm trying out different methods. Started writing disparate notes into my phone while listening to the album and doing housework. Then started on a more detailed mindmap with doodles and stuff to get my thoughts in a better order. Now I'm gonna turn that into a structured list and then refer to my original notes to create the finished piece. Probably way more complicated a process than is necessary but it could help in getting the thing to flow together better. Next one I do I'm going to try a stream of conscious "just write as fast as you can without stopping thing and see what happens.

This Is... The Police (dog latin), Wednesday, 26 September 2012 10:00 (1 year ago) Permalink

Obviously I don't review much anymore, but when I do, generally I'll make short notes about a record (ideally whilst listening to it [in whatever context] but not always), and I'll email these to myself. These might be notes about specific tracks, sounds, references, or wider thoughts about context or whatever.

When I'm ready to write, I'll sit down with the laptop or at the desktop, and gather these into a single Word document. Always put the artist and title at the top first, like putting a harness on a guide dog so it knows it's about to start work. Then I'll flesh out all the individual notes into full sentences, and shift them around the document until they find a sensible order. It's a bit like building a dry stone wall - once you've picked up a stone (or sentence, or thought, or paragraph), you're not a,llowed to put it down until it fits into a space that makes the wall (review) take shape.

comedy is unnatural and abhorrent (Scik Mouthy), Wednesday, 26 September 2012 10:24 (1 year ago) Permalink


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