|©2001 I. Jackson
Before I started reviewing here on GOM, I did a lot of critiquing of lyrics from my songwriting website, which has a collection of articles and thoughts on the craft, and sometimes the business, of songwriting. I’ve been a part of the songwriting community on the internet since I first signed on in 1995…there wasn’t much in the way of audio samples back then, mp3 files were in their infancy, and even pictures were a rarity, with most webpage backgrounds that lovely dull grey! But one thing you could do on the ‘net was to post lyrics as much as you liked 🙂
I’ve learned a lot from critiquing and reviewing. The most important thing I’ve learned from reviewing is to be able to focus in on what works in a song (for me, that is) and what doesn’t. The second most important thing I’ve learned is to not argue with someone else’s rejection of my opinion! It’s easiest to agree with a positive review of your song, but when someone points out a weakness, it’s REALLY hard to stand outside of yourself and away from your ego long enough to decide if it is, in fact, a valid point.
But what I seem to have to repeat more than anything else, is that it is ONLY one person’s opinion. Whatever weight my review of your song holds for you is whatever weight you give it. This is why, although I appreciate the fact that people can give feedback on a reviewer’s review, it is pretty much redundant to argue with an opinion! Which colour is “better”, red or blue?
I’ve also seen really lousy, thoughtless reviews, not so much on GOM because here they try to keep some quality control, but in other places on the web. I’ve seen reviews and critiques that were simply pats on the back, maybe good for the ol’ ego, but completely useless if we want to actually progress as songwriters and artists.
We should, all of us who critique and review, be held accountable for what we write, and try to do so intelligently and fairly.
I have also been on the receiving end of reviews and critiques for many years. I know how TOUGH it is to not get the wonderful response you were expecting. I’ve learned to take it all with a grain of salt, to get out of my own way long enough to value the time that someone has spent with my song, even if they didn’t like it.
In the long run, I think it can be a real learning experience for anyone to take up the difficult task of reviewing someone else’s song. There are many, many songwriters and artists who want to get feedback, with very few people willing to take the time (and occasional abuse) to do so.
In other words, I hope that more songwriters and artists will consider standing on the other side of the fence once in awhile, just so that they can appreciate reviews from both sides!