Editorial : Why do bands get defensive over a negative review?

Recently I have taken a lot of feedback onboard and analysed a lot of the comments made by the general reader… It seems we have a common issue reoccurring throughout, namely, ‘I disagree with the score’.

Ill lay my truth right out there… I don’t care for scores, in fact most of the time, I hate them…!!!

You spend 3 days writing an insightful and objective review, listening to the back catalogue of a band to get a better insight into their creative process, and some knob disagrees with your score… The little tiny number at the bottom of the 400-word review!

I mean fuck you… Who are you to say it’s a 7 when I think it’s a 6… Errrrmmm wait? Is that right, is it a 6? or is it a 9? Who the fuck knows? The issue we have is there is no context to the scores that we are awarding. Recently it seems that a lot of publications, especially this one has come under fire for scoring music but providing no real scale for what the score actually represents. ‘Reyt Good Music’ does not pretend to be ‘Smash Hits Magazine’ and doesn’t provide puff pieces or pretend to be something its not. It gives honest opinions from normal people. But what I don’t seem to understand is why a number attached to a well formulated piece is so offensive, or sparks such a large debate.

Lazy people will often skim the review and focus on the tiny number in the bottom corner of the large quantity of text, instead of taking on the ideas and opinions of the writer. These people infuriate me! I’d say there’s an issue at the moment with people commenting and persecuting the reviewer who has taken time out of their busy schedule to review a piece of music, unpaid, that you may otherwise not have heard. Music is like food, we all have different palates and tastes and sometimes its ok to compliment the chef, but if it leaves a bitter taste then its ok to say that too. To personally attack the reviewer only serves to knock their confidence and hinder the publication moving forward.


That is not to say that the writer is always right. There are other points of view which need to be addressed, and some of these have been raised to me on a few occasions in debate of this topic. These points are completely valid and insightful points, and kick open the doors to a larger scale discussion. ‘At which point should a reviewer decline to put forth an opinion on music of which they have no contextual understanding?’ and ‘Is an artist compelled to share a critique that doesn’t adhere to fundamental standards of quality in its writing?’ There’s a strong argument for truly constructive criticism, but there is also a duty to editorial quality that comes from that. Firstly, a piece of writing full of spelling mistakes should not be published and this comes down to Editorial review. The basic fundamentals of writing should be adhered to, but also, we mustn’t forget that this is a starting block for aspiring writers and fans of music and it is not a GCSE exam….

My understanding is that both the reviewer and the reviewed should both go into this with an open mind. They should do research on where they submit music to and understand the audience and mindset of the publication. This isn’t just for ‘Reyt Good Music’ but all publications of this nature. The Bands and Artists should also realise that they are not being interviewed by ‘Rolling Stone Magazine’ or ‘NME’, and this is simply a platform to reach a larger audience. In an ideal world, we would have 10 stars across the board and every track would be met with an insightful and entertaining write up which paints the Artist in the spotlight they see themselves in…

In an ideal world this would work, but sometimes it doesn’t. In the same ideal world, the reviewer would publish a masterpiece, free from grammatical errors and the Icy axe of a bad word or phrase… but again this isn’t the reality of the publication. I agree at times the reviewers can be harsh, but they are putting forward their opinion as honestly and as articulately as they can. If we are being fair and objective, that’s all that we can do…

So, read the review, listen to the music, and try and formulate your own opinion. Nobody is saying that the written words are infallible… So, with all this being said, I think that in the right context scores are welcome, but without it, it is just a number….

Stuart Bratby 10/10


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