Thursday, June 4, 2020
Writing about music is so hard
You might only have to see a movie once to really write about it well. Especially if you see it in the cinema, where you're immersed in a single narrative, there in the dark for a couple of hours. And there has been a lot of great writing about television as it happens, and you can have weeks to think about a series, and what it all means and how it makes you feel.
But I have real admiration for those who write about new music as it happens, because it's the hardest slice of entertainment to write well about. It might take a lot of repetitive listening of a single song before you can fully judge it, and some music can take weeks or months or years to click.
But music reviewers have to crash into it hard, and instantly have an opinion about something, with no time for contemplation. They might change their opinion later on, but that initial take is always going to be there, (and if the song turns out to be a classic, you get to be That Idiot in years to come).
Retrospectives are so much easier, because you might have had years to think about something, and have seen its cultural impact, but you're flying blind with the latest singles.
Maybe it's because music is something that is beyond words, and rarely has the narrative simplicity of a three-act screenplay. It can make you feel, rather than think, and capturing that initial rush, whether good or bad, is so much harder than it sounds.