Happy New Year! Hope you all had a safe and wonderful holidays! I know I certainly did. The break was certainly well needed and now I’m fully ready to go for 2017. After an interesting year of music in 2016, I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in-store. With a new year comes new changes of course. So before we dive into the music I have some site news and updates I would like to pass along first…
Much Ado About Reviews
I probably spent the most time leading up to the new year thinking about these changes. As you know I changed up my review style in the latter half of the year and it was much needed and well received by you the readers. But I still didn’t think it was perfect. So here I am changing it again and for great reason. The amount of albums and singles released nowadays is staggering and it can feel overwhelming trying to keep up with it all. It’s even harder when you’ve been like me and write 1000 words or more for every album review. Going back and reading reviews, I realized how completely unnecessary it is for me to write a damn book for every single album. Most albums don’t require this many words. Furthermore this unnecessary pressure I’ve applied on myself to write this much to constitute a review has prevented me from writing reviews for albums that I didn’t think needed so many words. So in short I’m cutting back on how much I write for the majority of reviews because this will not only allow me to review more music, but I think will ensure each of my reviews will get to the meat and potatoes of what needs to be said. Those who enjoyed the small minutia and details I’ve been including in reviews can always ask me about them in the comments. Really I think this will inspire more discussion in the comments, which many sites are unfortunately phasing out and I believe to be an important feature of the music blog. In the long haul this will be better for me time-wise too (you don’t want to know how much time I put into the really long reviews).
So how much shorter are we talking? Well I’ll give you a rough outline. Reviews of singles will be one large paragraph. Album reviews will be 3-4 paragraphs long. Fans of long-form reviews don’t fret though! I’m not killing them off completely and will bring them out when I deem it necessary because some albums do need the long-form treatment. But for the most part I’m moving to shorter reviews.
This is something you’ve been wanting for a while, as I’ve had many readers tell me they would like me to review older albums from the past. So without making any promises, it will be my goal to do at least one throwback album review per month. Like I said no promises.
Reviewing Other Genres of Music
This is something I’ve personally wanted to do for a while. I absolutely love reviewing country and Americana music. It will continue to be the main focus of this blog. But I’m a music fan and I want to talk about music from other genres at times. I listen to all types of music regularly. Reviewing the same type of music over and over can be a drain at times, so in order to mix it up for myself I’m going to review albums from other genres that I feel like talking about. I imagine this might be alienating to some readers. But it will be of interest to some too. For those who aren’t interested in this, I would ask that you would simply ignore these reviews and not complain in the comments about it. Any whining that I’m ignoring your favorite country artist in favor of me reviewing a pop album will not be accepted. At the end of the day this is my blog and I will review what I want to review.
Now with that disclosure out of the way, I think this is going to be a great new addition to the blog. Variety is the spice of life as they say and by looking at other genres I think it makes everyone a better music fan, as there’s something to be gained and learned from every genre of music. By reviewing and examining various genres I think it helps shed inaccurate and offensive stereotypes observed by various music fans and critics. I hope by exploring other genres that it’s a fun experience for both of us.
The Hodgepodge is On Indefinite Hiatus
I know this was a beloved weekly feature on the blog. Derek and myself enjoyed it for the most part. But I feel it’s time to move on from it. I will admit that the main reason is simply burnout. It was an absolute grind most times for Derek and myself to come up with something to write about. Sometimes they wrote themselves of course. But for the most part it was hard for us to find interesting topics to write about on a dime. Not to mention it takes time to construct the entire thing.
Now while The Hodgepodge in name is disappearing, its features are not. Derek and myself will continue to write opinion pieces, but only when we want to and it’s necessary. There’s no reason to force opinion pieces. Now for new music releases: I know a lot of you loved to read this section of the Hodgepodge every week to keep up with album news. So I’m setting up an upcoming album releases page on the blog! It will be updated regularly and will be live soon. On desktop you will find this at the top of the page and on mobile devices it can be found from the drop-down menu at the top of the page. The throwback and other genre recommendation will of course be covered with the aforementioned throwback and other genre reviews.
The Current Pulse of Texas Country Radio
It’s sticking around of course! It will however now be moving to Thursdays.
Weekly Open Thread?
I’ve been thinking about having a weekly open thread post being put up on the blog every Friday for you all to use as a forum to chat about music. But I wasn’t sure of interest. So let me know if you are interested in the comments below and on social media.