Reading music criticism can be exhausting, if not infuriating. As more and more blogs push to make every post as viral as possible, writers seemingly cave to the pressure and stop being thoughtful and start being snarky (guilty). So not only do I understand the desire to be an earnest voice in music criticism, and to shun the idea that you have to know everything and have an unflinching opinion on it as quickly as possible, but I really like it when writers are willing to do that. That's why I love, love, love Anna Minard's column Never Heard of 'Em, for instance—it proves genuine and valid music criticism can come from all kinds of music fans, not just nerds with the biggest record collection and a thesaurus (though those can be good, too).
That's also why I wanted to like the new music blog My Husband's Stupid Record Collection. While the premise doesn't bother me that much—a woman and her husband have had to pack up and move his 1,500+ records five times in eight years so she decided to finally listen to these records she's been otherwise ignoring—the execution is so disappointing. As the title of the blog implies, she already has an opinion about the record collection—it's stupid. Though she's spent the better part of a decade with these records in her home, it's still her husband's. The blog could be an interesting excuse to learn about music and become familiar with something that's clearly so important to someone she loves, but instead of really trying to figure out why these albums are worth so much to her husband (or, better yet, really trying to establish her own relationship with them, separate from his) her reviews are often glossy and empty. The author doesn't actually want to listen to and learn, she'd rather just barf out some words about what the bands are wearing and hope the idea alone makes for decent page clicks.
The husband actually ends up coming off as a pretty fun dude; she writes in a post about Anthrax:
HOLD ON. Alex just started singing along and saying something that sounded like “evil, N-word, fassen.” Me: “What are you saying??” Alex: “Efilnikufesin.” Me: Very confused stare. Alex: it’s “nice fucking life spelled backwards, N.F.L” and then he jumped off the couch and started dancing uncontrollably.
While she, in the same post, fuels gender stereotypes:
Look you guys, I’m really liking it. It’s oddly beautiful, but I feel like it’s really hard for girls to get to know this kind of music. I would NEVER want to see this band live, even though I’m really liking the music. It would be too violent and too dangerous, and that sucks. And yet I’m not blaming the people who feel the need to get “caught in a mosh,” upon hearing this. It’s probably exhilarating, but sitting on the couch listening to it is fun in a totally different way. Why does music have to be such a division of the sexes sometimes?
Oh, I don't know, maybe because there are still women who think that only men can like Anthrax because women prefer to listen to beautiful music while sitting on a couch? Still, the project is less than a month old, so it's quite possible her tone will evolve past the "LOL—look at the clueless wife laugh at the funny clothes from the '80s" and become a more sincere, or even smart, attempt at music writing. I'd love to see that happen. Either way, I'm sure it'll end in a book deal. Just like the 300 sandwiches blog did.