08 November 2007

i love amg. (so much more than bmg - that was always just a marriage of convenience, while it's lasted, but they're hardly the kings of convenience these days...) i love stephen thomas erlewine's catholic tastes and generous yet authoritative tone; i love thom jurek's exhaustive, opinionated, lovingly detailed, forthright essay-reviews (even when i don't completely agree with them) [but apparently lots of people don't] - and i especially adore tim sendra's [first record bought: monkees greatest hits - hey me too!; favorite magazine: highlights for children] gleefully tweeful indie-pop crushes. (and i like the other reviewers too - andy kellman on electronica; marisa brown on hip-hop; john bush on assorted things but i associate him with earlier techno for some reason...everybody on everything really, which is part of what makes the site so great - you get the sense that everyone involved has at least a decent familiarity with basically any kind of music that comes up.) btw: all of the reviews i linked above played a substantial role in convincing to pick up the albums, in certain cases without any other information.

i love the sense i've gleaned of what many of the reviewers/editors must be like, even though i of course have no idea - i particularly like when the gang gets together to dish about recent pop singles or, like, how hot kat mcphee is. it's a little like getting to hang out with your favorite professors (or maybe your camp counselors) in an incongruously informal social setting; slightly awkward but revealing. (wish they were still doing that - i haven't quite warmed to this new blog format yet, though it seems promising; it's nice to have comments, and it seems like it'll be easier to keep track of things. actually, it fills in some of the gaps left by stylus' departure.)

i love the monthly new release lists (though they're only up for three months) which are the handiest memory guides that always seem to include not just the best releases (as they claim) but pretty much every notable release from the month period. which brings me to the key point that amg somehow manages to give at least marginally positive reviews to an unlikely majority of records, without seeming unduly gushy or indiscriminate - they rarely deliver pans, even to controversial records, always patiently exploring the positive aspects of records while putting them in perspective. and the reviewers convey a sense of individuality and personability without ever letting themselves get in the way of talking about the music. which is understandable enough, since it's supposed to be an authoritative, encyclopedia-style publication; it's just impressive and inspiring how much creativity passion the writing still manages to convey, within those restraints.

most of all, i love and hate how easy it is to just get sucked into the web of all music guide: starting with their often-intriguing album of the day, or the notable releases of the week on the sidebar, or just looking up the records i just heard, or just bought, or saw at the record store and wasn't sure whether to buy (a total personal ritual), or was just thinking about...and then end up following hyperlink after hyperlink, constantly learning new things even when i thought i'd explored a particular strand to its furthest extent . there's so much music! and these guys think they can contain all of it!? (it's like something i said the other day to somebody who offered to lend me a book: thanks, i'd like to read it - i just have to finish the internet first.) no question, i spend more time on allmusic.com, on a daily basis, than any other website.

and now.....


yup, there i am... just joined the team, as an "expert" (or something like that) on uk and scandinavian pop. of which there are some mildly surprising gaps in amg's coverage, which i am thrilled and honored to be filling. there are certainly a bunch of albums and artists - including many of my recent favorites - that i'm looking forward to covering for them. the pieces i've done so far - bios and album reviews on richard x, margaret berger, and amy diamond - have given me the opportunity to revisit some favorites and in most cases come to some new realizations and reflections about them. (well not that new...mostly just how bizarre amy is, and how amazing rich and marble are.)

i'm keeping a running list of absent bios and reviews i want to write - not just in those genres, since i'm hoping to be able to write about other stuff for them as well - let me know if you come across something that they're missing. and then, of course, there are many more (inevitably) other artists in my "area of expertise" that i haven't even heard of - my editor just tossed me a short list of them the other day - "artists who've been charting recently in scandinavia." so there's plenty to explore there. which is good - it'll encourage me to write quickly and efficiently about the ones i don't care about/can't find enough information on (seeing as how i can't read swedish); and it'll keep me from wanting to write nothing but raves. may have already discovered a new keeper this way too - norwegian folk-pop band minor majority. (hm, maybe a little too earnest and maudlin though. we'll see.)

anyhow. that's the news. hopefully i can get myself some discipline. (and not spend hours composing silly blog posts like this one, so i can get to actually sharing insights about music. er something.) so far, anyway, i feel like this is going better than my past attempts at holding down music-scribing gigs. hey hey hey!


Dave said...

Congrats!!! You now join the ranks of Johnny Loftus and Heather Phares (and maybe STE half the time) as a pop writer at AMG whose opinions I must seriously consider when I check sumfin out. (Don't know if JL is writing anywhere major these days.)

ana patrícia said...

this is excellent news. congrats.