I’ve stopped writing music reviews because after 10 months and 150 reviews my listening habits have gotten drastically worse and my overall enjoyment of all music has severely decreased to the point where listening to new music and writing reviews is no longer fun. I love music too much to keep doing this to myself, so I’m making the selfish decision to abstain from writing reviews at this time.
I always had this Holden Caulfield ala Catcher in the Rye complex when it came to Postrockstar. If I knew about a release, no matter how big or how obscure it might be, I needed to review it. I needed to save every album from being just another strand of data on the infinite internet. The people needed to know about the these artists and their works of art that they would otherwise probably never find. When you think like this and are in a position to discover bands and albums at will, backlogs of work quickly form. At the height of Postrockstar, I was pouring 12-15 hours a week into this site and still not scratching the surface of our backlog. Even with the help of other writers, who write for our site for no compensation, we could never keep up with the sheer amount of requests we get from bands asking to review their work. As it stands my inbox sits at 96 unread messages, 3 weeks after I removed the email link from the site.
Which leads me to the other reason I’ve stopped writing reviews: Bands who take reviews personal. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with a lot of very personable bands who have facilitated my every need and have been nothing but kind and helpful to me. The majority of the time I enjoyed what I heard from them and we both mutually benefited from our contact with one another.But what am I to do when I receive their music and I dislike it? If I write a negative review to a band who has been courteous to me and Postrockstar, a band will come back to me upset and in full defense mode. It’s happened on more occasions than I can recall. A lot of people wonder why our website has a lack of negative reviews. If I write a negative review, who am I really helping? I put myself in an awkward position with the band and ultimately put postrockstar in a no-win situation. We piss off a band and sometimes even our readers who disagree with the review. The only thing bad reviews have ever done for the site is increase our traffic. I’m not in the controversy business. I’m in the discover new music business.
Lastly, just as there are bands who are extremely friendly and helpful, unfortunately there are quite a few bands out there that are pushy, disrespectful and have treated Postrockstar as just another way to sell albums. I am more than willing to help promote hard-working bands and help undiscovered talents get exposure. I am not OK with being treated poorly by bands who are trying to push $15 independently released bandcamp downloads down our reader’s throats. In those 96 unread messages from the last 5 weeks, there are no less than four bands who have sent 6 or more emails including one band who has sent exactly 12 emails. If you are in a band that recently sent us an email and want to know why we haven’t responded, it’s because I’ve all together stopped taking requests and don’t have the heart to tell hard-working bands “No” to their requests for reviews. It’s a case of a few bad apples ruining it for the rest of the bunch.
As much as I love post-* music and want to keep helping people discover music, I’m not willing to do it at the expense of my own happiness. When I started Postrockstar last year I was between careers with all the free time in the world. As that came to an end and I adjusted back to life as an office drone, my free time became less and less which meant that I value it more and more. I realized I couldn’t keep pouring all my free time into something that wasn’t making me happy. Music reviews ultimately became a thankless never-ending job for all the reasons above. I’m not ruling out writing reviews in the future and Postrockstar will still continue to promote albums and post relevant news we see fit. I’m sorry if this comes as a severe disappointment.