Motivating myself to review stuff

Every now and then, I buy a new CD or DVD, or I see a movie in the theater, and I switch into what I like to call “review mode,” where I try to think critically about the piece in question, its content, its production, and its meaning.  This mode has manifest itself in a number of ways on this site in previous years.  Before the days of my blog, I posted a weekly list of my current favorite songs.  For a while, I maintained a letter-graded list of movies I’d seen.

Both of those concepts bored me after a while.  For one thing, I’ve been listening to less and less new music.  Part of that is due to really figuring out my taste in music, and part of it is because I really haven’t found much new music that I like recently.  I’ve actually found myself listening to talk radio coming to and from work, just to break the monotony of listening to the same (albeit excellent) Muse and Switchfoot CDs.  And yes, I still listen to and buy physical CDs.  There’s nothing like DRM-free music, and my car still only takes regular CDs (or tapes).

Another reason I got bored with my reviews is that so many other writers are more eloquent than I am, so much more knowledgeable about those subjects, that I often feel like I don’t have anything to add.  Believe me, I have my opinions about what I’ve seen and heard.  I liked The Departed and the latest offerings from Switchfoot and Relient K, while I was bored by The Good Shepherd, and I don’t see why there’s so much fuss about The Arcade Fire (I can’t even make it through their whole debut album).

What got me thinking about this is the news that Linkin Park is releasing their third album on Tuesday (5/15), entitled Minutes to Midnight (a reference to the Doomsday Clock).  While plenty of people are more than willing to pour it on because they’re metal sellouts, or whatever you want to call them, I’m of the opinion that LP is a distinctly creative band.  While I’m not crazy about “What I’ve Done,” I’m anxious to hear the whole album, and I still expect to be impressed, despite the lackluster opening single and a departure from their “clean” history (the new album will have a parental advisory sticker).  It may not merit a review, but I am thinking about other creative ways to express my thoughts on the world of entertainment.  Perhaps this album will speed up the process.

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