Oi mate, my name is Steven. I’m a post-post-meta-ironic college student.
THE PURPOSE OF THIS BLOG
I got seriously into music in late 2014, after ignoring everything that wasn’t a soundtrack or classical for most of my life. My spirit of “everything that gets played on the radio sucks” was broken by a little indie pop album called Bad Blood by Bastille. After a few more purchases, I stumbled across the Beatles Red Album, which prompted an “everything I know is wrong” moment. Afterwards, I started getting seriously into music history and classic rock. I wrote about a few albums I bought in a Microsoft Word document near the end of 2015, and eventually uploaded them to Tumblr. I continued writing one review a week to discipline myself into writing more, listening more, all that kerfluffal. I now write at least three short reviews a week, with bigger chunks of content sprinkled throughout.
This blog has always been about whipping myself into shape. I lack motivation in most areas of my life, so forcing myself into such a rigid schedule has been good for me. If you enjoy the work this whipping produces, I’m honored, but that’s not my main intention. I write for myself.
MY PILLARS OF THOUGHT
My pillars of thought, orchestrated to give me as open of a mind as possible, are as follows.
-There are no bad ideas, only bad executions.
-There are no bad emotions, only bad appeals.
-There are no bad genres, only bad output.
These are guiding principles, NOT unbreakable laws. I’m not going to praise your Nazi propaganda, even if it’s the best dang Nazi propaganda I’ve ever seen.
Without question, the major inspiration for a album-review focused blog came from the legendary George Starostin and his site Only Solitaire. He is possibly the smartest, sharpest, most insightful music critic I’ve ever had the pleasure of stumbling across, and he never lets popular opinion clamp down on his critiques. A linguist by profession and an obsessive rock fan day-to-day, his shockingly comprehensive knowledge and direct, precise, colorful writing style make him my major idol when it comes to text reviews.
Props should also be showered upon John McFerrin and his site, John McFerrin’s Reviews of Music. While I admire Starostin more for his analytical and communication skills, McFerrin’s humanity and warm humor are qualities I envy perhaps even more so. To read a McFerrin review is to watch a huge music geek gush about his hobby, and the energy is infectious. Even his negative reviews keep this character about them.
Outside of music criticism, my main idol is the polarizing figure Bob “Moviebob” Chipman. Bob takes a lot of crap, some of it fair, most of it petty, but I can never understand someone who say’s he’s not a good critic. His reference pool and eye for detail rival most film school graduates, and he’s always the one able to say something new about a movie without being a contrarian. This is the entire premise of his series “Really That Good“, which you should definitely check out if you like film criticism. His open-mindedness and brilliantly simple phrase “You can make a good movie out of anything” shaped my own principles immeasurably.
Outside of criticism, my major writing teacher was William Zinsser and his brilliant book On Writing Well. His ideas on tight writing and clarity above all else have forced me to polish my writing more then any other author.
Other critical influences of mine include Doug Walker, Lindsay Ellis, Todd Nathanson, Kyle Kallgren, Arin Hanson, the crew of RedLetterMedia, ShayMay, Matthewmatosis, Derek Alexander, Ben “Yahtzee” Crowshaw, Jim Sterling, Alex Rochan, and Joshua Burner.
Speaking of which, my sense of humor comes from Calvin and Hobbes, Homestar Runner, and my dad.
AS FOR MYSELF
I’m an aspiring journalist/novelist. I avidly watch and discuss film (though I’m not an expert by any means), enjoy classic rock (ditto) and spend too much time on YouTube. And yes, I am a Christian, hence the lack of colorful swears I would spout otherwise. I like to think that my judgements are objective, but really, the list of things that usually override my logic is extensive. These ticks and fetishes include:
-Contrast and antithesis
-Cult classic status
-Cosmic Horror/Lovecraft Lite
-Body Horror/Hilariously unrealistic blood and gore
-Fluffy, syrupy idealism, especially in romance
-Trope subversions, aversions and lampshadings
-Melody and Leitmotif driven soundtracks
TOP 15 MOVIES (always subject to dramatic change)
10. The Princess Bride
9. It’s A Wonderful Life
8. Hamlet (1996 Kenneth Brannagh version)
7. Shaun of the Dead
6. Pulp Fiction
5. Evil Dead 2
1. The Remains of the Day
TAP 5 DIRECTORS (same)
5. Alfred Hitchcock
4. Stanley Kubrick
3. Sam Rami
2. Edgar Wright
1. Quentin Tarintino
MY FAVORITE ALBUMS (obby-dobby)
TWERK 5 MUSICAL ARTISTS (still here)
5. Arcade Fire
4. The Beatles
3. Frank Zappa
1. The Who
TIPTUP 5 VIDEO GAMES (guess what)
5. Super Mario World
4. Super Metroid
3. Conker’s Bad Fur Day
2. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest
1. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
(yes I was a Nintendo kid sue me)
OTHER RANDOM DUMB STUFF ABOUT ME
-I’m homeschooled but still kan’t spell.
-I am the oldest of five children. This has turned me off having more then two of my own.
-I’m a Myers-Briggs INFP (which incidentally spells FiNe SiTe), Keirsey idealist, Sociotype IEI, Enneagram type 4, and Bartle Explorer. All this is to say I’m an over-sensitive twit with obnoxious mood swings who trusts unscientific personality analysis systems.
-I know next to nothing about music. I played the piano for four years and then stopped for reasons I can’t remember. I think it had something to do with me being an impatient lazy kid. I played the clarinet for a year after that and stopped because oddly enough clarinets usually sound terrible on their own. I am the most boring, strained baritone you ever heard. These are the credentials I review music with.
-I like Homestuck and Friendship is Magic, if you’re a fandomy person.