Why My Top 10 is Better than The Onion AV Club’s (and Probably Yours)
In my youth, I tried my hand at writing music reviews professionally. This was a bad idea on many fronts. For example, industry pay rates are still stuck in Charles Dickinson times (for real), and freelancing causes a tax situation so fucked up that you will hate yourself for the poor choices in life you have made. Namely freelancing.
Anyway, this is my way of saying that I have experience in music criticism, and I know why my list is better than the AV Club’s. There are two major reasons:
#1 — Endurance
Professional: When you are reviewing professionally, you get an endless stream of free, shitty music. And you get piles of stuff that may not be bad, but is completely not to your tastes. After slogging through this mighty slush pile, week after week, your senses dull.
Suddenly, a mediocre, competent album breaks the tedium. You fall in love with it! It’s not shit! The End Of Year list is filled with the best of the shit pile!
If you are lucky. If you’re not, then you also get whatever reviews someone has paid bribes to promote. Trust me, even back in the Zine era, I knew popular “good guy” publications that only had a review section for it’s revenue stream. I get the sense that the AV Club is above this. They are not the “good guy” I’m alluding to.
Me: I vet, buy, and listen to ALL of the music I review. I not only have personal but monetary investment in this music. I buy the best, and list the best of the best.
#2 – Trial by Committee:
The AV club has some fucked up nomination/vote combo that makes sure that whatever individual vision put into the list is homogenized to tasteless oatmeal.
Also, they have a self loathing streak that forces them to review mass market dreck like Ke$ha. See, they’re not snobs!
So there. That’s my argument. I may be wrong. I may be hard on the AV Club, but I read those guys every day. I like to think that’s the greatest complement you can pay a writer.