The Take Off And Landing Of Everything
Elbow - 2014
I would like to share with you a theory as to why you never read any reviews that simply say no more than, ‘this album is bloody good – go and give it a try’. For starters, the boring and analytical purists would comment that this sort of ‘review’, isn’t actually a ‘review’. They of course have decided for all of us that every review should be similar to the production-line-esque products of half opinions usually found in Rolling Stone. Formant as follows:
(1) Start with what you think is a rather witty, shocking or grandiose summary of all things music (be aware that it will mostly come across as obvious and lacking in merit as all the other reviews on the same page start the same way). (2) Compare it with the last album released by the artist. (3) Mention a few specific tracks (particularly one that you know others won’t like because it is actually awful, but you’ll say it’s a masterpiece so to look avant-garde). (4) Give a horribly watered-down opinion on the overall quality of the album without actually mentioning anything in musical terms (instead use tired metaphors that you found by substituting a synonym of every word in a cliché line or two). (5) Give it 3.5 stars.
For some people this formula works, and as it seems to sell a lot of different magazines, one could hardly argue with it. - except you could. It’s boring. It lacks proper insight as it has to be delivered in 500 words or less. It’s generally fed to the readers as frozen leftovers from the last review written. It’s like listening to only one style of music - the taste of it will eventually go bland and mushy. Another reason there are few reviews written in layman’s terms? It’s a risk, really. You are putting you, as a true lover of music (a connoisseur who’s opinion counts) and your musical reputation out there without any justification, reason, fact or with any clever ways of explaining your opinion by which you’ll hope others will be persuaded by your argument for the purchasing of the album. You are totally exposed with no hope of defending yourself should someone take your simple comment of assurance that this is a great piece of art, and then dislike the album. In most reviews the author will dangle a few carrots of criminality to be found in the album so at least, even if they grade it fairly, if others don’t agree with the author, the author at least retains some sort of credibility for mentioning some negatives. The ‘simple statement’ is an all or nothing at all gamble with your readers. You get them in full or lose them in entirety – never to trust you again; your opinion to them now, always a piece of gum under the table.
All that being said…this is a bloody great album. It’s quite possibly the best album of the year. Let me put it this way – no amount of words will do this album justice. I would be tainting its wonder by trying and in doing so, ruining the purity of this music that should be exposed to you without another person’s overly adjective-laced opinion burrowing into your head before you hear it. Get it and enjoy. Meet you again in my next review, reader….or perhaps we’ll be strangers from now on. SIXES!!!!Andrew Scott Back
Andrew Scott ranks this as the
#3 favorite album of 2014