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Amazon.com And The Burgeoning Adventures Of The Aspiring Music Reviewer

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                                                What are seeing is not a defect in this website. As a matter of fact,its really the entire root of this blog to begin with. Today I’m going to tell you something that delves just a little into my private life-something I don’t do too often here. In the years after 9/11,I was living in an end of the city of Bangor which was likely the closest thing it had to a skid row. Don’t know how I got there,but somehow I managed to “live just enough for the city” to keep my nose as squeaky clean (even if flat busted broke) as I’d always been. While my partner at the time was at work,I would walk a good mile or two down a rather steep hill to the local Public Library where they had public computers. Due to abuses from often mentally ill wanderers in town using the computers to visit adult websites,the computers each had a limit of one hour after you punched your library card number into it as a password. I learned a lot technically about the Windows XP era PC this way. But also something else that was very important. Also want to apologize for the amount of “I,Me,Mine’s” you’re about to see in this article. Its not out of egoism. By virtue of this subject matter its simply unavoidable

                                                During my first years of rising adulthood,I ended up with a sudden great urge to beginning writing about the music that I was digesting between regular meals daily. There was also a lot of literature coming my way regarding the topic of the critical assessment of music such as the works of Rickey Vincent,Nelson George-as well as the more generic volumes such as MusicHounds Guide To Rhythm & Blues and of course the AllMusic Guide. In those pre-computer days of my life,just about every loose leaf notebook that came my way (and there were tons from all directions it seemed) I would review the music that I listened to. These all are probably still in existence in dingy plastic container in the family basement or stuffed into shoe boxes in some other secret somewhere. However a lot of them might’ve been recycled by yours truly because,at the time of writing them,I really didn’t have any individual framework in which to set up these reviews I wrote. So many of them were simply cut-n-paste jobs of the sarcastic and often mean spirited rhetoric of “professional” critical assessment of the mid/late ’90’s.

                                                   As the new millennium arrived these hand written,and by this time often word processed,music reviews I was writing were starting to take on a far more professional field to them. At the same time I had no intention of becoming a professional music writer. It seemed,particularly at that time,that working in such a field-while it seemed ideal for someone of my emotional type,would simply be making money by shattering someones artistic hopes and dreams. Not only was that a contradiction in terms to me,but also went against my individual type.  After all,as Sly Stone might have said it was definitely “time for living” at that point. Reality had set in hard,and it was mandatory participating. When I first began using those limited library computers during 2003, it became apparent that I’d have to find some way of using the computer to maintain my creative skills-in order to keep my heart and mind from becoming unimaginative,cynical,weak and helpless. It was during this time that I discovered Amazon.com. At first it presented itself as just another online shopping website. Then a very exciting moment occurred when I discovered that Amazon.com had something I’d been looking all along without realizing that I was: a customer review area that could be used for music.

                                                       Since listening to music was often the only level of happiness for me then,as it is so often with those forced to live through austere times,there was now a way in which I could consistently improve my skills as reviewing music and,best of all share them with the online public all across the world with the touch of a button. It was such a fulfilling and liberating experience. It actually bought me out of the skeptical and even anti cyberspace frame of mind I was in. The concepts we now know as YouTube and social media sites such as Facebook began to dance around in my head like sugarplums. My initial Amazon.com reviews were far inferior to my earliest hand written ones from the late 90’s. And luckily an site glitch forced me to abandon that original Amazon account,which still exists today in theory and open up the one I use today in 2005. Also through Amazon.com I had the opportunity to learn about little known artists through their customer recommendations. I even met my friend (and blog inspiration) Henrique Hopkins via his interest in my Amazon.com reviews. Suddenly I was discovering new music and reviewing as I heard it. And actually the idea of being,as it were a volunteer music reviewer as opposed to a paid critic was very appealing.

                                                       Today of course my online life is so much broader. There are now far more similar websites online on which to sort,rate and review ones music. Somehow Amazon remains my favorite,perhaps because I’ve grown online with it. The site itself is far from what it used to be. Continually difficult economic times have forced the site to continually pare down it’s features. For example,meeting someone such as Henrique wouldn’t be possible anymore since the social networking end of Amazon was eliminated several years ago. Also their reviewing system on the site seems to be evolving to more closely accommodate internet tablets/iPhone’s rather than notebooks and other more stationary computers. The only thing I hope for is that Amazon.com will never,ever abandon its customer review section. Nor would I want it to happen to any other website that does this. It would be satisfying to know that a young person stepping into an unknown new undiscovered country of their lives-entering their early 20’s in 2014 might be able to go to Amazon,RYM or any other music review site and be able to connect with others and share their views on the music they love. Making peace with the art we create is a wonderful way to start making much needed peace among each other. And sharing musical viewpoints,as I did over a decade ago,was a wonderful step in the right direction in terms of the most positive aspects of the internet.

                                                                         Link To My Amazon.com Profile. Please Read,Comment & Enjoy!




  1. riquespeaks says:

    Your amazon reviews have always been of the highest quality and a true inspiration to me. From the standard of writing you displayed, your knowledge of the music, your album oriented approach to soul, jazz, R&B and pop, your heavy interest in sophisticated R&B that was little appreciated in critical circles, all introduced me to a unique and brilliant talent. As well as an intellectual soul mate who lived on the other side of the country! From reading your reviews I could have sworn you were a baby boomer DJ or musical dilettante who lived through the funk era, you had a similar knowledge and interests as another amazon reviewer, Eddie Landsburg. But just from being introduced to you on it, I must say the amazon review section is an incredibly rewarding platform that can give voice to talents such as yourself as well as blogs and other social networking platforms

  2. I couldn’t resist commenting. Very weell written!

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