About a week ago, I was driving somewhere with my boyfriend and talking to him about how on occasion, when I receive music to review, I often find myself at a loss for what to say because, since I usually choose an album by the name or the vague and generally overly flattering description given by the press release, I frequently end up with an album of a style which I know is popular, and common, but I don't know what to call it or how to describe it because I don't listen to other things that sound like it, and don't know what to compare it to.
He responded by suggesting that it's not necessary to know the history of a work of art, its influences, or its significance in its own genre in order to criticize it adequately, you only have to know what you think about it, and communicate that.
So, what do you all think? Is it useful, and or necessary, to offer comparisons to give an idea of a band's sound, or is it a cop out for when you can't put your feelings into more descriptive words? What style of reviews do you like \ what features do you like to see in music reviews? What, to you, constitutes a good music review? I know I love how at the end of Bitch Magazine's music reviews they always have a really clever "listening suggestion" like, "listen while : making a bonfire out of your highschool prom photos" or "goes well with red wine and asparagus" but I rarely come up with that sort of thing, and besides, I wouldn't want to cop their style.