It’s Impossible (For Me) To Be A Music “Critic”

You know, the more I think about what I want this blog to grow and evolve into, the more I stumble upon more questions rather answers. It’s like Cody Jinks once said, “the more I know the more I know that I don’t know”. Like Cody, I do know one thing, even if that one thing is different than his.

I’m not going to be a music “critic”

While I won’t necessarily call this an outright country blog (because as evidenced by readers on other blogs, WAY too many people make a big deal out of a name), I would say that country music is my primary area of passion and focus for Broken Moon. It’s sort of weird starting a country blog right now though. I could have started during the onslaught of bro-country back in 2013 and 2014 and had a great time with it, or I could have gone back even further to a time when I could talk about George Strait or Alan Jackson being on the radio.

So why didn’t I? Well, a lot of it has to do with time honestly. I did not have time before to commit to one of these things, but now I do. Simple as that. That being said, what do I actually want this to become?

I started this blog out of passion sure, but where do I want to direct that passion towards? The majority of country blogs today are mainly review blogs outside of a select few, and that’s totally cool. I like seeing what others have to say, even if let’s face it – the mainstream produces endless amounts of doo-doo while the independent side is producing mountains of gold every week. To be fair, I’ve discovered tons of great country artists through reviews, and I think they are a valuable part of the country music blogging scene.

But I can’t really do that. I can’t assign grades to music and leave it at that. So many people want to point to genres and how we don’t need them and how they’re just unnecessary boxes, and while I personally have never been a fan of that argument, I can respect where it’s coming from. However, for me the real box around music is the concept of being critical in general. I’ve reviewed one album to date – the Infamous Stringdusters’ Laws Of Gravity. I’ve tried doing other reviews, and I also tried doing them for fun last year on Microsoft Word – dissecting albums, songs, etc. and assigning what I thought was an appropriate grade to them.

But let’s face it, is that really anyway to go about listening to music? A year is a long time people. We never know what the year will bring for us. Hell, we don’t even know what the next day will bring us sometimes. We experience different moods at different points in time and we connect music to memories that we can’t erase. Why? We’re humans damn it!

I’ll give you an example: The beginning of every year is always the busiest time of year for me. I hate winter, work is usually busy, and therefore I’m not as much in a good mood. I rarely have time to listen to music and when I do, it’s not with undivided attention because I can’t afford it. However, I LOVE Spring and Summer. My workload isn’t as hectic, the weather is 1000% more appealing, and more often than not I’m happier. Most of the albums I hear during this time of year tend to stick in my playlists until the end of the year because I can link them to certain times of year or memories. I can play it and think, “wow, this takes me back”.

Moreover, I also think it’s hard to say why certain music connects with us the way it does. For me personally, the latest albums from both Cody Johnson and High Valley fit this mold. On the surface, both have a lot of problems I could easily point out – the songwriting on both albums is not up to par, and the instrumentation is solid but rarely stunning. And yet, they don’t bother me for some reason. Yeah, the timeframe in which I heard each album contributed to it, sure, but there’s just an element about both of them that I keep coming back to, despite me knowing how much I probably should dislike them. I’m no musical connoisseur, and I never want to pretend to be something I’m not. I am who I am, and I like what I like. It’s that simple.

With that said, if I do reviews here, I might review certain albums or songs after they’re released, so as to let time sink into them and really make sure I’m prepared to explain why I like or dislike them. It won’t be professional, but it’ll be me. That’s what I want Broken Moon to be – a place for me to be me, but also a place where readers can give their opinions as well. I love having my ideas challenged, and I love hearing what others have to say. Keeping an open mind is the best thing to do in my opinion. So with that said, as I continue to revisit and revise my musical philosophy, I hope you, the reader can help this to grow into something special. If it does, it won’t just be me who did it, it’ll be you as well.

– Ian



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