We at Glorious Noise try to be open minded. We like to think of ourselves as music fans first. But in the three and half years GLONO has been around, we have barely touched on Metal as a genre. That’s a shame and to remedy the situation, we are proud to introduce a new contributor, D. Alan Nash.
“In our youth we still venerate and despise without the art of nuance…”—Nietzsche
Ten years ago I heard a friend, on a mountain-top of Sativa, say “Rockin’ with Dokken!” And the humorous thing for those of us involved is that he really meant it. Now, ten days ago, I heard the very same friend denounce this same group. Was he more right either of these times?
I would argue for the momentarieness of musical appreciation. Each listener has a zeitgeist of receptivity at any given moment. If many persons are attuned to this same zeitgeist, then that is what we call popularity.
So all a record review can do is argue from a perspective that the reader may or may not be attuned to. A reader would best be served if the reviewer were to convey, in the prose, some sense of how someone who actually likes this music would think. Perhaps more than just thinking would be all of the various emotions, attachments, affiliations, and credences that the lover of such music would have.
This brings up the problem of what to do with something like Ronnie James Dio’s Sacred Heart. One is reminded of drummer Vinnie Appice’s comment that the album was “…a steaming pile of pooh.” Here we can say that someone made this album. And some kind of rotten drugs must have convinced the makers that it was in some way good.
So for this particular album a reviewer should try to convey the sheer idiocy of the mindless Dio fan. This is no small task. It requires the steadfast ingestion of a legion of cheaply made intoxicants. It requires the destruction of any semblance of sanitary listening room habits. Things need to be thrown about—relationships, bottles, entire glimpses of hopes and dreams—gone, out the window, or preferably onto the floor.
But what record reviewer is willing to go to such ridiculous extremes to listen to a Dio record? Yet that is precisely what is done for the typical record review. It just so happens that the typical U2 reviewer does about the same things that Bono does daily. That is to say, complain, complain some more, cash checks, look in the mirror, admire one’s genetic predispositions, complain, and retire for the evening. So it is with the typical Dio fan. That is to say, drink Jack, drive Trans Am, hit girlfriend, ingest semi-known substance of a powdery descent, trim moustache, puke blood, and retire for the evening.
Now are either of these two wrong? Not a bit. It’s just that very few record reviewers, or any other kinds of reviewers, really delve into the mentality of the actual consumer. The reviews are always from the singular perspective of the reviewer only. The true task of a reviewer is this and this only: to don the mask of the actual purchasing customer so that the reader can decide if this particular way of thinking is aligned with the zeitgeist that is dominant in his or her mind at the time.
And here is the most important thing! Whichever mindset is being approached, it should be celebrated, embraced, and praised fully. Why? Because when we realize how interesting that other mindset can be, we become insiders to a mentality that is outside us.
D. Alan Nash is a student of philosophy and an expert in many fields including but certainly not limited to eighties metal, basketball, and alcohol consumption. He has been incarcerated in five different states (10%) and ticketed in several others.