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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Why Do Music Reviews Have To Be So Cerebral?

Yesterday, I was out in the yard mowing the grass while listening to music on my MP3 player. As I was listening to the new Posies album, I started thinking about why this particular music affected me and how. I realized that my love for the Posies, and in fact many of my favorite bands, is a much more emotional response than a cerebral response. And I realized that this perspective, at least in my circle of friends, is quite the minority and is generally considered gauche.

The great irony of this is my involvement in the music industry. A few years ago, I joined a couple of my best friends in a business venture that they had started to market and promote independent music online. I eventually become a co-owner in this business. At one point we became frustrated trying to find good magazines to advertise in so we decided to start our own. Thus became Paste Magazine.

While I am no longer part of the ownership of Paste Magazine, I am still very good friends with many people that work at the magazine. And the magazine has done quite well and received much acclaim. Much of its appeal has been in the intelligent way that music is discussed and the focus on quality music. Yet while Paste covers many of my favorite bands, I sometimes find discussions with my friends there about music a bit tedious. And I feel as though I should be more analytical about my approach to music. But I just can't do it.

I'm sure I come across as a moron when I talk about some of my favorite bands with "Dude, they just rock!" But sometimes I just don't have more to say because I have such an emotional attachment to the music I love. I have even been brought to tears by listening to music that brought out so many emotions. And it is remarkable how music can energize me.

About a month ago, I went to see The Posies live here in Atlanta and had one of these emotional experiences. Both Ken and John fed off the audience and vice versa. After the show, I decided to go talk to John and realized that I didn't have anything particularly witty or intelligent to say. So like some panting schoolgirl I said, "Dude, I just relived the last 15 years of my life". John first said "Wow thanks for making me feel old" then stopped and said "No, that's really great." And he nodded and smiled at me realizing that I "get" what he does.

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