I used to write music reviews. It was a dope gig. I was able to write whatever I wanted about whatever bands I wanted. I made connections in these wonderful music and writing communities.
The drawback? Why did I stop? It didn’t pay. Seldom freedom like that does.
Life moved forward, my day job became more demanding, I stopped writing my poetry, I started to look at writing the reviews as an obligation that I had to fit into my already hectic day. I had started to get jaded. I started to feel a distance from the music. I stopped listening to music as a fan, but as an evaluator. I picked it apart, I tried to analyze and articulate why I liked it instead of just enjoying it and telling everyone about it. When I went to shows I was stressed, I needed to get up front so that I would have at least one really good photo to run with the review, I would take notes the whole time, I would be watching the audience as much as the band. And instead of being entrenched in the passion and visceral reactions that make us all go to these shows in the first place, I was focusing on just how I was going to tell you what you missed or what you might see if that band hadn’t been to your city yet.
I made the decision, I needed to say goodbye. That farewell was one of the hardest things I had to write, writing about music (for a living) was always a dream. So I said goodbye to that as a real option. I said goodbye to the readers, the bands, the label owners, the PR agents that I had developed friendships with. But it was what I needed to do. I needed to fall in love with music again.
Over the years, I get inspired to go back, look through those reviews, look at my portfolio, and I miss it all. I miss the new music, the shows, the connection with people over three cords. So, I suppose that I have succeeded in falling in love with music again.
Now, in the pandemic, I have gotten emails from a few of the bands who I had reviewed in the past, I found excerpts of my reviews on Spotify profiles, found my name mentioned in interviews and I must admit, it stings a bit. There is that awesome twinge of nostalgia and that prideful feeling that people that I respected actually cared and respected what I was doing, that I was doing my small part for the punk community that I love so deeply. But there is also the sting that I couldn’t make it work, that I gave it up, that comes in sharp.