Tag Archives: reviews

weekly reading — the 9513 reviews

There are several reasons I try not to read reviews of albums I’m assigned to critique before I write mine. I don’t want to be influenced, but I also don’t want to be intimidated. I broke that rule this week and regretted it, because Blake Boldt’s review of the Court Yard Hounds (a Dixie Chicks side project) over at The 9513 is really excellent. So is his review of Chely Wright’s Lifted Off the Ground — though I kind of wish it hadn’t been published a week ago and therefore rather coy about the ‘private life’ we now know refers to her homosexuality. I’d be interested in his take knowing the full context — then again, Chris Willman did a bang-up job on that over at the Huffington Post.

But I digress. In general, I always enjoy the reviews at The 9513 — the first major country music blog — not least because they’re longer than most, and really allow the writers to stretch out and include some pretty turns-of-phrase that elsewhere might get cut for space. (The blog also does single reviews, which I love and hardly see anywhere else.) Now I’m faced with summing up the Hounds in less than 150 words and I’m jealous. Oh well.

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ebert to the rescue — again

There’s been so much hand-wringing among journalists about the encroachment of social media, new media, etc., and what it means for our future. And trust me, I’ve done my fair share. I am an old-school print girl at heart. But once again, Roger Ebert shames us, explaining that he’s not discouraged by Wednesday’s cancellation of At the Movies. In fact, he’s eager to explore the new platforms available on the TV show he and wife Chaz are developing:

I can’t prove it, but I have the feeling that more different people are seeing more different movies than ever before. With the explosion of DVD, Netflix, Red Box, and many forms of Video on Demand, virtually all movies are easily available to virtually all North American moviegoers. This has created a huge potential audience. …. We also know we will have a strong web presence. We will go full-tilt New Media: Television, net streaming, cell phone apps, Facebook, Twitter, iPad, the whole enchilada. The disintegration of the old model creates an opening for us. I’m more excited than I would be if we were trying to do the same old same old.

Ebert’s relentless optimism is especially welcome in a month when we’ve heard that film critics aren’t necessary and neither are music reviewers. His confidence — and continued success —  inspires me to have faith in the resilience of good writing and critical thinking.

quick tip: editing reviews

A book review I wrote for an HCA corporate publication

This will probably have limited application, but I thought I’d pass on a tip for proofreading album, book or DVD reviews in layouts. Make sure you check the title that’s in the copy against the cover photo that accompanies the review. Often writers are working from an advance review copy and titles frequently change prior to release. Most likely the cover art is the most up-to-date and accurate information. Also check that everywhere the title is mentioned — in the heading as well as in the copy and photo — it is identical in spelling, punctuation, etc. I actually caught an inconsistency on my own review, which proves you can’t trust a writer even if she purports to be some kind of editing expert …