Reviews, even favourable ones, don’t always make you want to read, see, hear, visit or otherwise experience the work of art being reviewed. Sometimes that’s because the review makes it plain that it’s suitable for fans of a certain genre, but more often I think it’s because the reviewer clearly doesn’t engage with the art in the way you would want to engage with it. The reviewer hits the wrong note somehow—too erudite, too instinctive, too plain-thinking, too fanboi, too engaged, not engaged enough—and it’s clear that the review hasn’t told you much that you didn’t already know or that you actively wanted to find out.
editor reckons that Chuck Klosterman’s review of Chinese Democracy, while not turning him into a GnR fan, has certainly made him more likely to listen to the album. Personally I’m not so sure about that, but it’s definitely a great review: in the sense of striking the right note. It engages both with the art and with the wider cultural ballyhoo surrounding it. Ultimately it’s a musicological review rather than a music review, but then I think he probably thought that a lot of other people were going to do the latter.
The comment thread, though…. K. warns me to never read comment threads, especially on high-volume websites and doubly especially on YouTube. But while so many threads consist of annoying, teenage anarchy, there’s frequently something wonderfully breezy and rumbunctious about the—admittedly often quite samey—back and forth:
RE: wow, by Pimples McGee
His Esquire articles are often over-worked. In this respect, he has much in common with Mr. Rose.
He is slightly better than the people on VH1’s “Best Week Ever” or “Remembering 198_”
And yes, he is a hipster. The evidence is the Sun Records shirt, Elvis Costello glasses and ironic facial hair.
RE: wow, by Backwards Man
I like Klosterman but sometimes I get the feeling that he clings to his opinions—i.e. Kiss is great—just to make some hipster point.
RE: wow, by petro1
What is a hipster point? Is that like a geometric point?
RE: wow, by P
How, exactly, is facial hair ironic?
RE: wow by Jacob Schock
How can facial hair be ironic? Maybe he just doesn’t like shaving.
RE: wow, by grappa rappa
Dude is fugly–facial hair or no.
Not exactly the funniest comments in the world—not even the funniest ones in that thread—but, oh, I don’t know. Perhaps as with the diaries of Victorian servants future generations will be able to say something clever and insightful about the otherwise voiceless in modern society, solely by consulting the enormous corpus made up by the content that we think of as utterly throwaway, marginalia, frankly rubbish. “Perhaps Axl will have a follow-up album out by then.”