So, Ben Pratt thinks that a reviewer should spend a month listening to an album before forming any sort of opinion on it. Back when I used to write for magazines, I would rarely have more than a week to listen to an album, and because I was sent several at a time and writing for multiple publications at once, it meant that albums rarely got more than two plays before review. You learn fast to think on your feet, make snap judgements and trust your instincts. I’ve very, very rarely changed my mind about a record after hearing it multiple times, and certainly never gone from hated to loved. Some records, sure, take a while to sink in, and you know I did that recently with Manorexia, but if you’d have asked me what I’d thought of it on the very first play (when it felt like being punched in the face), I’d have known that the album was just too much to take in and told you to come back later. Yes, I change my mind on individual tracks on albums, and sometimes upgrade an album from “OK” to “good” or “good” to “great”. Yes, there’s the bias of comparison: an OK album played after a terrible one sounds a lot better than it should. Even so, I should be able to hear a record and know right away whether it’s good or bad and expect to hold the same view after a month.
So I’m going to put it to the test. I’ll review an album tonight, cold-and-blind if you will, writing down my thoughts as they happen on first listen – just like those live-to-air blog pieces that were fashionable a while back. Then I’ll come back to it a month later and review it again without reading what I wrote the last time and see if I’ve changed my mind. Since it’s been on my wishlist for a while, I’ll purchase a shiny copy of Thurston Moore’s Demolished Thoughts and communicate my first impressions … right about now. Continue reading