Pitchfork Reviews Reviews, an intelligent and humorous site that critiques album reviews by the popular alt-music site Pitchfork, uploaded a keen little video the other day. The video is a review of a song by Francis and the Lights, and the on-screen action is a written review that follows the pace of the song. With each new note played and lyric sung comes a new piece of prose about the song.
It’s a pretty smart way of using online tools for something as seemingly droll as a music review. Rawkblog posted the video with a simple headline: “Is This Video The Future Of Music Criticism?”
I’m not sure myself, but I was intrigued by the idea. YouTube provides a great forum for this type of thing. Yet, I was sort of lost not even halfway through the video.
It’s way too long. If I were to listen to the entire song while reading a review, I would just listen to the song itself.
Which got me thinking. With all the legal issues around fair use, copyright control and sampling constantly juggled on a daily basis, what if those concepts inundated the way these types of reviews are done?
So, I decided to try something out myself: Sampled Reviews. The idea is simple: Take a few seconds of a new song – generally no more than 5 seconds – and review the album it comes from in that short span of time. Sure, you can think of it as some bastardized combination of Pitchfork Reviews Reviews’ video song review and Christopher Weingarten’s 140 character album reviews on Twitter @1000TimesYes, but that would take the fun out of it. I’m not saying this is the future of music reviewing, nor will I stop writing written album reviews. It’s just an experiment in reviewing that addresses the short-attention spans of those who watch videos on YouTube.
First up for Sampled Reviews is Broken Social Scene’s Forgiveness Rock Record:
We’ll see where this goes in the future. I’ll be tweaking things here and there, but the premise will still be keep it short. Very short.