Hey y’all! Happy New Year! Here’s to a safe and fun year ahead!
So let’s talk about my plans for the blog in 2021! I’m a little further behind on starting the year than anticipated because well I’ve been thinking and tinkering with ideas for the blog. I’ve also been working through the late 2020 album release backlog and as you know album reviews are the heart of this blog. That’s where I’ve been tinkering too. So here’s my thinking on what I want to do on Country Perspective in 2021 and I want to start with the big change I’m making with my reviews:
- I’m ditching the traditional number grading system! This was something that I’ve been planning on doing since last fall and I nearly implemented it then. Simply put the biggest pain I’ve come to realize in writing reviews is coming up with a grade. It’s such a silly thing to fuss over. Is there really a big difference between an 8 and a 9? Hell I gave out high scores in the past like candy compared to the average reviewer. To me there’s too much focus on the number, when really a grade should just quickly tell the reader how much is the music worth your time. Speaking of which, here’s what will be taking the place of the traditional 1-10 grading scale…
- A four-tier recommendation system! Here’s how it will work: There’s going to be four recommendations an album can fall under. The recommendations are Buy It, Stream It, Worth a Listen, Avoid It. The highest recommendation of course is Buy It. This means this is a fantastic album and it’s worth not only your time, but your money too. It’s an album that is worth visiting for years to come. Stream It means this is a pretty good to good album that is certainly worth your time to stream multiple times. It’s something I can see being worth revisiting many times. Worth a Listen means it’s worth streaming once or a few times to check it out. There’s a few songs in there that are good and at the very least worth looking at even though I don’t think it’s something that merits repeat visits in the future. Avoid It of course means I think it’s a bad to terrible album and not even worth taking the time to stream it.
- So I went with this new recommendation system based on how I view music and my own listening habits, along with reading up on music forums about how others view reviews and what they want out of them. When I listen to an album and I’m really enjoying it and I know I’m going to want to listen to this for a while, I don’t think to myself, “man, this is a 9/10.” No, I listen to it on repeat and I make plans to buy this album on vinyl. When you want to invest both time and money in something I think that speaks volumes to the value you perceive it to have. Now please don’t mean that I’m commanding you to go out and buy it, as everybody is in a different financial situation and some of you I imagine just stream music, which is perfectly fine! Hell it can also sometimes take a couple years before I get around to buying something on vinyl (case in point I just bought Southern Family on vinyl last year). The big point is this recommendation system is more personal-based and comfortable for me. For you the reader I feel like it gives a pretty clear cut idea of how I view an album.
- Speaking of personal, I’m going to lean more into the conversational style reviews I started doing last year. These reviews feel like they bring out my best writing and they’re also the most enjoyable, so this is the style I’m going to be using for all reviews going forward. This was something that it seems like many music listeners nowadays seek in reviews too.
- People who read reviews overwhelmingly say they always read reviews after giving a good listen to the music itself. I thought this was interesting and something I’m keeping in mind with writing reviews moving forward. It’s not entirely surprising because of the ease of streaming of course. But a point I’m taking into consideration nonetheless.
- In today’s hyper-paced, streaming-focused music world, it’s increasingly hard to keep up with all the releases and I hope the recommendation system is a better reflection of this too. I’m hoping this better sorts the wheat from the chaff so to speak.
- I’m going to continue to cover multiple genres in reviews. I briefly flirted with the idea of going back to country only or doing full reviews for country and using The Endless Music Odyssey for other genres. But that just wouldn’t have worked for me and I enjoy exploring a variety of genres too much to limit myself.
- The Endless Music Odyssey will be continuing as a regular feature. It will also reflect the new recommendation system.
- I haven’t forgotten about Josh’s Jukebox Journal! This is something I hope I find the time to do somewhat regularly in 2021.
- And of course there’s always a chance I come up with even more feature ideas! Something I’m really hoping to do this year is get into covering past albums. I’m always digging into a combination of new releases, old favorites and exploring past discographies of artists, so I certainly don’t lack things to talk about. If there was only more time in the day!
Thank you as always for reading Country Perspective! Here’s to an awesome 2021!