by Wallace Wylie
View your music collection suspiciously. Look at all those CDs and LPs! Do they all really need to be there? This is how Collapse Board writers should view the world of recording artists:
1) Are there any albums in your collection that you bought in a moment of weakness? Perhaps you were duped by the hype. Maybe you just really wanted to like a particular artist and you can’t admit to yourself that you don’t actually enjoy it. Did you buy an album to impress somebody you had a crush on? Come on now – look hard! If you find any albums that don’t deserve to be there, cast them to the flames and then destroy the reputation of the artist concerned and the reputation of their immediate family. You gave them money and you have mediocrity as a result. Inexcusable.
2) Are there any artists that you hate? Why do you hate them? Has it become a part of your personality to say you hate them, above and beyond what the music deserves? Are there not aspects of the band that you actually like? Maybe even songs? Entire albums? Swallow your pride and re-explore.
3) Accept when there are artists that you hate and know that you will always hate them. In instances like these throw as many insults at said act as is humanly possible. Mock them. Try with all your might to eat into their sales figures. Make them tremble at the mention of your name. (They’ve never heard my name? Ha, a likely story.)
4) Know when there are artists that you are too emotionally attached to. These are harder to write about as you may find yourself making excuses for their failings. Accept their failings. Expose them. Hold them up to the light. Know that you will love them regardless.
5) Write well. This is something that you cannot choose to do. You can certainly improve. You can minimise weaknesses. You cannot, however, choose to be good.
6) Approach writing like a sword fight. Did that last sentence leave you open to attack? Slice down hard with the next one. Leave your enemy gazing in wonder at the bleeding stump where their hand used to be.
7) Never let anyone tell you that negativity means you don’t love music with every ounce of your bitter, twisted, loving heart. Know that your anger and disappointment were birthed by your high ideals and obsessive love. People who make music neither want nor deserve a half-hearted word of kindness in place of a caustic put-down. Remember this is a sword fight. Mediocrity demands that you stoop to its level. Refuse at all costs. If you don’t want to challenge the reader, make them angry, make them recognise a kindred spirit, make them laugh, make them spit their tea out, make them have some kind of emotional reaction, then don’t fucking bother writing in the first place. Just tend your garden. Make some toast. There is no earthly purpose in passing on your opinions. If your opinion doesn’t even excite you, how the fuck is it going to excite somebody else? You are every bit as interesting as the people making the music and if you don’t think you are then stop fucking writing. Walk away. Music writing is not for you. Find something reasonable to do until you die.