Monday, October 23, 2006

Reviewerspeak: Can you put that in a headline?

I remember reading a review, in The New York Times no less, that said the book was “the best ever written in the English language.” The pity is that I no longer remember the name of the book or the reviewer.

Critics always are striving to make their reviews stand apart - either through startling pronouncements, cosmic musings beyond the presumptive subject matter, pithy turns of phase, or hyphenated, compound-adjective constructions.

Here’s a New York Times’ review with the latest example of that last form, following a concert of the band called Wolf Eyes:

“Without fail Wolf Eyes’ work is described as noise. The term passes no judgment. The guys in the band don’t mind it ... The handful of people who have been coming to their shows for the last 10 years will roll their eyes at the idea that the heaviest, most feral, mega-atavistic, Fauvist-metal, stuck-pig, struck-dumb, electrocuted-porcupine, end-of-all music band of their days still needs explaining. But it does ...”

Got it?

Oh, and as for the headline on that review?

Not Music
But Noise,
With Chaos

- MichaelK, TBPAC


Dominick F., Senior Bean Counter said...

"electrocuted-porcupine"?? Pretty funny, but I'll still reserve judgement on Wolf Eyes until I listen to their noise. Critics are often wrong.

Heavy metal mayhem makers, Metallica, couldn't get mainstream airplay even after selling their tunes at a platinum level. In fact, I remember that when they won their first Grammy, the presenter obviously never heard of them, because he referred to them as "Metal-leeka"!

After they later conquered the world with the Black album, every reviewer had nothing but praise for James & the gang, as if they each personally discovered the band. Sad But True.

Anonymous said...

Not Music
But Noise

That's awesome! I wonder how said critic really felt about it!

Regina B.
Marketing Director
Azalee Marshall CAC