Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

OPINION: Music cannot be reviewed like movies

Nadir Benslimane

For this opinion, I had several flowery and incredibly prosey introductions I had up in my noggin’. Most of them were going off on the philosophy of music, relating it to how important it has been as one of our historical constants. Then I thought about it and said, ‘screw that’, and decided to drop the semantics.

Reviewing music is a bunch of bunk and a huge load.

At least, reviewing it in the sense of judging whether it is a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ piece of music. That’s almost, if not completely, impossible.

Even with that stipulation in mind, I wouldn’t even call music reviews ‘reviews’ if they just examine and describe their composition and mixing. At that point, just call it what it is: a musical summary for those who have better than a base level knowledge of musical know-how.

It feels like I’m sitting in an auditorium watching a bunch of people shaking each other’s hands in a big ol’ circle reading a piece like that. Yes, good, you have broken down every piece of this song and have the critical thinking skills to acknowledge that the lyrics are probably not directly about what the singer is singing about. Good for you.

But while these kinds of reviews irk me in the sense that it reminds me of a bunch of snobbish pricks patting each other on the back while sipping tea out of dixie cups, nothing annoys me more than music reviews that claim certain music is good or bad.

Now, a person might claim that, as a piece of media, music can be judged just like any television show, movie, or literature. However, they could not be more wrong.

Take for instance, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Universally, it is considered a bad movie, with bad CGI, and a sub-par ending. Despite these facts, I find the movie enjoyable and love rewatching it on occasion. My enjoyment of the movie, however, does not negate or get rid of those bad traits, they are still present.

Even in movies where bad traits are either intentional or ‘intentional’, they are still used in consideration for their overall metric as a movie, usually leading to worse reviews.

Music, on the other hand, has a bit more leeway in that sense. The bar for making enjoyable sounding music is fairly low, as music made to be purposefully poor can both better fit with what the artist was going for while also being enjoyable.

One good example of this is the Joker’s theme from The Dark Knight. In composing the mad clown’s theme, ‘Why So Serious?’ Hans Zimmer chose to use a razor blade on string instruments to produce terrifying notes and a sound that seems to scratch at your brain.

Another good example of this is the E-Rank music from Sonic: Unleashed. If you’ve never listened to it, do yourself a favor and do that right now.

Another reason that judging music to be good or bad is that everyone’s music taste is already overly subjective. If someone doesn’t like the sound of the acoustic guitar or banjo, then of course they’re going to think country sounds like butt. If you don’t like hearing any reverb put over a person’s voice or effects, really, then a lot of modern music is going to be a slog to get through.

Really, all this comes down to is that music is so much harder to fit into a mold than any piece of media. It can be anything you really want it to be, and that’s okay. What’s not okay is to judge others for liking one piece of music over another or not liking the same type of music as you. Or acting like you’re better than everyone else for knowing the difference between a melody and a microphone.

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About the Contributor
Jacob L'Hommedieu
Jacob L'Hommedieu, Worldview Editor
Jacob L'Hommedieu is the Worldview Editor of The Maroon. He is a Senior Political Science Major with a Minor in Social Media Communications. Other than writing, he enjoys spending time with his friends and relaxing on the front porch with a cool glass of water.

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