I am no music expert. I have never studied music. I can't play an instrument*. I don't read in depth about music or musicians. I could probably count the number of gigs I have attended on one hand.
What makes me qualified to review albums? The same thing that makes 99.9% of people qualified. I listen to music. I like music. I'd like to listen to more music but whenever I try to decide what I should be listening to, I keep hitting the same stumbling block. Every review site out there fills their reviews with terms and phrases that I just don't understand.
So, I decided to write reviews for people like me. People who experience an album as a one off rather than part of a greater whole. People looking for something pleasurable to while away 45 minutes to. I created a set of rules for these reviews to fit within:
1. No jargon. You may understand it but not everybody does.
2. No talk of scenes or overly-complicated genres. I don't care if an album feels it is revolutionising the alt-folk post-punk house jungle crossover scene. It's music and it will be judged on its individual merits.
3. No banging on about the banging beats from your Bang & Olufsens. I listen to almost every album through a pair of £11.99 headphones and it's never done me any harm.
4. No using reviews to demonstrate how eclectic and varied your musical tastes are. FYI mine are neither eclectic nor varied.
5. No using reviews to pretend that musicians are your friends. I don't care if you did once see Noddy Holder in the basement of an HMV (true story), you were not even a fragment of a blip on the radar of his life.
6. No 'you'll like this if you like...'. If you like this, brilliant. If you don't, also brilliant.
7. No stars. No thumbs (either up or down). No hit, miss or maybe verdicts.
8. No EPs. Albums only. I have never been one to order a salad when there's a burger available and I won't be starting now.
I guess, in a nutshell, I am flying in the face of the commonly upheld theory that you should write what you know. I'm not an expert but I know what I like and I'm going to try and tell you why I like it. Then maybe you can tell me why you like it... or why you don't. Then someone else might come along and change the way both of us think about the whole thing...
Just because we don't have the expertise, it doesn't mean we can't help each other find more music and learn a little more about it. For now though, I welcome you all to come and be Musical Morons with me...
*ignoring a brief flirtation with a recorder and a one night stand with a glockenspiel