Well, it had to happen at some point, didn’t it? Every weekend, this blog features a reviews column – it’s called the Six On Saturday. In it, I publish what I think of some of the latest music to hit the digital stores. And I would say around 95% of all reviews are mostly or entirely positive – why would I deliberate review stuff I hate?
But it’s usually the 5% that gets noticed. If I like a record, I say so. If I don’t like a particular record or a remix, I say so. That’s how it worked in the days of reviews in music magazines decades ago, and I see absolutely no reason why I should change a successful formula.
So I was very surprised when a producer – who shall remain anonymous – emailed me to complain angrily about two reviews. The first was for a track of his I reviewed months ago. Quite why he only mentions this now is for him to know. And the second was a remix which I referenced a few weeks ago.
He told me that “you have no right to write about my music and you have no right to be so negative about it” – when my review of his remix simply said it “wasn’t my cup of tea”. He then proceeded with the inevitable attack on my own productions over the past five years – a surefire sign they’ve lost the argument.
Well, the truth is simple. If you release music publicly, the public has a right to have an opinion on that music. It’s as simple as that, and you’d better get used to it. If they like it, they’ll buy it, stream it, play it out and the rest. They’re also entitled to tell people they like it.
Consequently, they’re also welcome to say they don’t like it. Many told me as much – including some whose names have appeared in the Six On Saturday column. I haven’t held it against them. I’ve just taken it either as constructive criticism or on the chin. And that’s exactly what I suggest this terribly thin-skinned individual does.
Grow a thicker skin. Not everyone is going to like everything you make. It’s an unavoidable fact of life. Alternatively, take my criticism and turn it into something else. Say to yourself “I don’t care what this guy thinks. Who the hell is Amateur At Play anyway?” and make the best track you’ve ever made. I love being proven wrong.
What you don’t do is send off whinging emails that make you look like a petulant, self-indulgent narcissist who can’t handle criticism. You’re going to get criticised in this music world – I have my critics out there who don’t like what I write about them.
But I have no interest whatsoever in what they think. It’s the opinions of my readers that matter to me, not a bunch of wimps who can’t handle reading something that don’t like. And if you’re in my column, I’m probably already a fan. If they want to take it as a personal attack, that’s on them.
So to the producer in question – and anyone else who’s not been happy with a review of their work I’ve written – grow up. My criticism is positively mild compared to what the dance magazines wrote in the 1990s – when vinyl records cost £6 a time. Get over yourselves and get back into the studio. No one ever complains when they see a positive review…