|Tom Hull's Old Rock Critic Writings|
The Rekord Report: Introduction
The Rekord Report was originally conceived of as a way of covering as broadly as possible the present commodity market in music. Student Life was to publish it more or less regularly, along with occasional longer pieces, of which two, the Clapton review and the Roling Stones flick digression, reprinted here, actually appeared. Only one RR managed to appear, under the idiot title "The Ultimate Grade Card," before editorial hassles and bad labor relations made further work impossible. This first report, extensively rewritten, is reprinted below, along with two subsequent collections that found no publisher of note and a fourth, a more expansive personal distortion of the format into quasi-aesthetic treatise.
Robert Christgau initiated something called The Consumer Guide, which he describes like this: "The uninitiated are hereby informed that the Consumer Guide is a compulsive record critic's (and listener's) way of dealing with product flow. Each CG reviews and rates 20 records whose timeliness varies because the critic tries to live with a record before judging it. The ratings go from E minus to A plus, with As recommended and B plusses borderline. Ratings tend to cluster in the B/Bminus/C plus area because the critic ignores bad records whenever he can. In a musical environment pervaded by competent product, there's all too much C plus/B minus/B stuff to write about anyway."
This Record Report, which I'll try to pull off every month or so, falls generally along those lines. It centers on rock music, straying only rarely and awkwardly into other domains. Nor is this the only limitation. I have often found it to be the case that record reviews only make sense after having heard the record in question -- regardless of whether esotericism was intended -- and often then they're dead wrong.
There is no easy way to write about music. The translation from one sensory mode to another can only be exaggerated and implied, never successfully carried through. moreover, people listen to music for different reasons at different times and get different things out of it. Grades make about as much sense here as anywhere else, and should be taken with a grain of salt if nor ignored altogether.
Anyhow, here goes.