If you want to write about music, have no friends.

Not self-pitying, just a warning about what it takes to do this job correctly. If you want to be an assassin, you can’t get easily distracted by compassion. Same for record reviewers: you must be ready to kill, rape, sodomize, and write accurately about the value of music in its own right and in context:

I wrote this in an email to someone whose opinion of me I respect, but wanted to be very clear about what my obligations can and cannot be in reviewing a submitted work. I figured I’d elaborate, because these words should exist somewhere:

This will sound like horseshit, but it’s not: a really good reviewer has no friends, and isn’t nice. He must be honest, brutal and quite honestly biased AGAINST most of what he or she hears. It’s not a job for people who like people, which is why I’m only partially good at it.

If you send anything here, keep in mind that it’s my job to be harsh

A good reviewer walks alone. If your dedication is to the music, a subset of art, and thus to the integrity of individual works and their genres, you have to be a real critic. That does not mean someone who is blanket negative, but someone who is able to look into the purpose a work serves and comment on it. Your job is to find artistic vitality only if it exists. 99% of reviewers do not understand this and either approve of everything (which makes them popular with labels and fans, who have short attention spans) or are poseurish negatives who hate everything even if it’s good.

The problem is this: there are many more good people out there than there are musicians who express something profound. Our time on life is short, and we only want the great music, because anything else is filling your time with something relatively inconsequential. Great art requires natural talent, discipline to get control of it, and finally, some stirring in the soul that gives you some content. What passion of life, what conflict and what love, do you express? Most bands express nothing more than wanting to be a band.

Even many good people just want to participate, and so make worshipful but contentless tributes to their favorite genres.

The above makes me sound like Satan or Stalin, but it’s all true. To be a good reviewer, you cannot be a friend to anyone. You must be a reviewer and you must be cynical. Most music is passing in its value, and will be forgotten before the ink dries… your job is to pull out the eternal, and in so doing, you need high standards, and in doing that, you will alienate almost everyone you know and become a leper-like pariah who wanders the earth alone, scorned even by his cats. – Facerook

0 thoughts on “If you want to write about music, have no friends.”

  1. DRI FTW says:

    In all sincerity, THANK YOU for being the “unfriendly asshole” who paves through so much shitty music to tell the rest of us about the truly good stuff. <3

  2. Iol says:

    I’m pretty sure you missed the point of whoever said you must have no friends if you spend your time bitching and moaning about shitty metal albums some sleazabags wrote a long time ago when they were teenagers…

  3. rr says:

    Metal has lost its original impetus of course, but there’s still plenty of good stuff out there. So I would agree with FTW that it’s an invaluable service and one helluva time saver if nothing else.

  4. adrian adrianson of the adriatic says:

    lol you have no friends

    that’s ok though you still have your virginity

    fuckin pussy

  5. ff says:

    But… But… I’LL SUCK YOUR DICK!!



  7. Fuck you says:

    i can’t wait to sue this website…

  8. constructive criticism says:

    This blogpost makes absolute sense compared to all the attention “underrated” artists from Texucks get on this site.

  9. batman says:

    that’s why I only make friends with people in good bands

  10. LIER!!! says:

    This is a lie, because you gave your friend-o’s in INTO OBLIVION and WIHT positive reviews to avoid conflict. Both of which pieces of music are clearly sub-par garbage!

  11. ingrown nuthair says:

    I don’t have any friends, does that mean I should become a reviewer?

  12. T.G. says:

    Haha, the guy doesn’t even know the dudes from Into Oblivion personally. They’re from fucking Canada. Wiht is garbage though.

  13. fail says:

    holy shsit I’m so drunnk riht now! its rpobably a bvad idea too reply

  14. lovin' the dub step virginity promises spells. says:

    Naw bro, Wiht is transcendent majesty!

  15. lovin' the dub step virginity promises spells. says:

    dose this work to?

  16. Internatio says:

    I’d say “makes you sound like Satan or Marx/Trotsky” which is all good if you ask me.
    Stalin, he was ready to make friend with anyone who would let him in power (He was ready to make an alliance with fascists in early 30s, then 180° and his popular fronts stuff included anyone self-described as remotely “left”, even some “progressive” christians – then another 180° : Molotov-Ribentropp pact, then again Great friend with Churchill).

  17. Guardian of the Blind says:

    ^ lol wat

    ah, the mysterious inner workings of the aspie mind…

  18. ULTRA BORIS says:

    I say that Morbid Angel sucks but Overkill and Vio-lence fucking ripp my cheeks off!! I like everything that has balls and it’s heavy, most metal is lame though… check out my reviews for da shitt!! Prepare for the large boner of THRASH !!!!!! (nOktorn blows dick he’s a pussy:)

  19. ImmortallySuicidal says:

    A reminder to myself, I must never try writing a review, as I am a loner and still have no friends.

  20. afro-hessian says:

    You say Justin Bieber-I say Tupac

    You say Lil Wayne-I say Biggie Smalls

    You say Drake-I say Ice Cube

    You say Soulja Boy-I say Big Pun

    You say Gucci Mane-I say Rakim

    You say New school-i say shut the fuck up

    You say Pop-I scream Hip Hop!

    You say Hannah Montana-i punch you in the face

    92% of teenagers have turned to New school and Pop.If you are part of the 8% that still listen to real music,copy and paste this message to another 5 videos. Don’t let the real rap die

  21. Josh says:

    I think you are a genius and I love all of your reviews. I find your writing is by far the most in-depth and amazingly detailed content I will ever read. I constantly read all of your reviews over and over on my favorite black and death metal albums and they never get boring. Simply stunning is all I can say. Your are a master musician and musical dissector of the highest degree.

Classic reviews: