About Aphoristic Album Reviews

I was born in 1979, in Lower Hutt New Zealand. I grew up in a household where the main music was bagpipes and Christian radio. When I discovered pop music at the age of 12 it was new and exciting, and vintage acts like Simon and Garfunkel and The Beatles felt like my own.

All opinions are my own personal ones – I’m not claiming to be an authority, I just enjoy discovering music and like to quantify it and write about it. I started an album review site around the year 2000. This current website started in 2016.

These are some of my broad thoughts on music:

  • I like pop hooks.
  • Most of the time I’ll listen to an album at least eight times before I write about it and rate it.
  • I’m mostly covering music from the album era – so from around 1965 until the present.
  • There’s a lot of great music out there right now, as always.
  • I often prefer to write about an act’s peak period, rather than their entire discography, as I’d rather cover something else I enjoy rather than slog through dull post-peak releases. If you think I’ve missed a key album, please let me know.
  • What usually impresses me is creativity. When music feels like product, it’s usually a bad sign.
  • I don’t think there are objective standards for judging popular music. If you go down that road, you end up solely basing admiration on arbitrary criteria like professional slickness (Celine Dion) or instrumental virtuosity (Dream Theater).
  • Often the best indication of quality is that you want to come back and listen repeatedly. I think of my ratings like the concept of utility in economics – they reflect how much lasting enjoyment I get out of an album.
  • I enjoy other music like jazz and classical, but they’re outside my scope of knowledge and outside the scope of this site.
  • This site is still dominated by white men by guitars, but less than it was.
  • I like a lot of mainstream music – one of the best aspects of this site is that I cover high-selling but critically underexplored acts like Billy Joel, Carole King, and Neil Diamond.
  • I’m not an accomplished musician, although I play enough piano to know where there’s a routine chord sequence or something more creative. I don’t believe that musical virtuosity is a prerequisite to writing about music.

Aphoristic Album Reviews is a hobby website. It claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyrighted to their respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and you do not wish for it to appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

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Read about the discographies of musical acts from the 1960s to the present day. Browse this site's review archives or enjoy these selections:

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11 Comments

  1. Anyone who gives Townes some ink deserves a look. I had a quick glance at your takes and it has definitively caught my interest. Just listened to Marshall Crenshaw (what a great record) the other day. So I’ll be popping in to have longer look in the next while. Take care. CB

  2. I agree about sticking to the artiste’s main output rather than trawling through the later (or earlier) stuff. Even with my favourites (Neil Young, Smiths/Morrissey) there is a point after which the magic disappears. And with most people I don’t actually expect more than a brief purple patch. Great while it lasts, of course. I hope they’re all grateful for their hour in the sun, anyway.

    • I think most acts have about ten good years – Neil Young had a praised run in the early 1990s, but I don’t think it measures up to his work in the first ten years of his solo career (1969-1979). It’s a weird phenomenon for pop music though – seems like it doesn’t apply to visual art, or jazz, or literature, or classical music.

      • I read somewhere that most of the best music ever written (which is subjective in itself I suppose) has been written by people in their 20s. Something to do with that age being the creative peak developmentally speaking. This would include everyone from Mozart to Bob Dylan.

        • I think classical and jazz are kind of different. I think a lot of pop music is driven by emotions like unrequited love or frustration, and once you make money, settle down, start a family you lose that realness that fuelled your early work. While something like classical that requires the artist to hone a complex craft, can improve with age.

  3. As for it being “dominated by white men with guitars”, that is not a case of you deliberately excluding people. It’s a matter of the type of music that appeals to you. Do you think a rap music fan would be frantically trying to think of some white guys to include?

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