600 Reviews And Rambling - 08.20.01

Way back in 1997, I started this site in a rough sorta way on a free-hosting site. This section was the first one to be put up, and eventually I added movie and music review sections. Back at that time, I was adding two new pieces in this section a week, and a couple movie reviews and maybe one music review. It was slow going, and eventually I moved to a real hosting site and bumped the movie reviews and decided to kick it up a notch on the music reviews. At the time that I moved over to the new hosting site, I had about 30 reviews.

Just this last week, I was updating my site and realized that as of this week, I will have 600 music reviews at my site. It was surprising to me because I'd simply sort of lost track of things. About a half a year ago when I reached 500 reviews, I had a contest at the site and gave away music, yet it didn't even dawn on me recently that I was reaching another small milestone.

And really, let's face it; 600 still isn't a monster milestone. I know there are other personal review sites out there with more than 600 reviews in the archive, but for some reason it seemed like a much bigger number than 500 to me. When I realize the number, I got a grin on my face and I realized that it would be an excuse for me to bring donuts into work and tell people the milestone that they wouldn't care about.

Looking back through the reviews, it's easy for me to tell which ones I wrote 4 years ago. Not only are most of them a lot shorter than the newer ones I've written, but they're just not as interesting to me. I used to sit down and spit out a couple paragraphs on a disc, sometimes having listened to it only once before reviewing it, and many times I didn't give people fair shakes.

Over the course of the past couple years, though, I've learned quite a few things about not only how I perceive music, but my respect for it as well. I no longer give releases only one listen before I review them (my policy is at least 3 times all the way through), and as it's always been, it's hard for me to write really negative reviews, because I know how much work most people have put into creating their music (one of the things I've also done is tried to create some music of my own, and it isn't easy to make it sound good), and dismissing it with a two paragraph review just isn't fair. Honestly, I think it's possible to find something good in just about any release, and I try to do that, even with releases that don't do a whole lot for me.

One of the questions that I have gotten about the site is why most of my reviews tend to be on the higher side of the scale. My answer for this is that most of the music that I review on the site is stuff that I've paid for myself. Because of this, I'm forced to become a little more choosy in what I spend my money on and I'm not going to plunk down money for most things unless I think (or know) that I'm going to like them.

Although one of the main reasons that I write the reviews is that I simply enjoy doing it, it would be silly for me to say that's the only reason. Not only am I a compulsive music listener, but I'm someone who is always trying to recommend music to other people. I recommend things to friends, family, and even random people I see in the music store mulling over something I think is good. It's somehow connected to the fact that I think music has an amazing power in affecting my emotions and I want other people to have some of those same great feelings (even if the music that I recommend isn't always the happiest).

Therefore, by doing the site, I hope that some people out there have found music that they've enjoyed through my suggestions. Over the past couple of years, I've gotten into several email conversations with people who have read my reviews and sent me back suggestions, and have even gotten into a long-running discussion with a couple people. It's a fun thing for me. Along the same lines, there are a lot of smaller bands that I enjoy, and I like spreading the word about them to other people and hopefully adding to their fanbase.

What it comes down to is that it's all pretty much been a labor of love for me. I don't have advertisements on the site and apart from the occassional promotional CD that I review, there isn't a lot of monetary value to the section. In the end, I have to sit back and look at the numbers like 600 reviews (and roughly 250,000 words written) and think that hopefully some people out there have been turned onto music that they enjoy because of the site. Over the years, the traffic has increased at a fairly steady pace, so that's one good sign.

Finally, it's interesting to look back through the reviews and see how my interests have changed and expanded (and expanded again and again) to the point where they're at now. Whereas I used to think that I liked independent music and rather obscure artists, I become more and more aware all the time at how many great groups out there that I still haven't heard. Every week I find out about new groups that I want to hear and just when I think I've started paring down my "must have" list, it grows a little bit bigger.

Basically, if you've ever been over to the music reviews section, I thank you. If you've ever bought something because of my recommendation, I sincerely hope that you liked it. As always, I'm open to any comments that you may have, and I plan to keep on writing.