ca. 1992 --- Seattle grunge band Alice in Chains from image by © Caroline Greyshock/Corbis
ca. 1992 — Seattle grunge band Alice in Chains from image by © Caroline Greyshock/Corbis
  1. Look at the album art. Is it pretty? Poopy? Is there a meta-joke in there somewhere? Store all this information in your overeducated, underpaid little head for later, when you will give the album between a 5.9 and a 7.1, depending on how much you liked the album art.
  2. Listen to two or three of the songs off of the album. Pick them from different sections, so it seems like you listened to the whole thing. Also, don’t call them songs. Call them “tracks” or (even better) “cuts” instead. Even though they are only songs. Decide whether or not you like said songs musical setpieces, or at least decide to say you did or didn’t like them.
  3. Now comes the fun part—describe the songs! You don’t really have to analyze the quality of the songs, since you know nothing about music theory, and people will just be looking at the score between 5.9 and 7.1 anyway. Just take some verbal laxatives and let the adjectives flow!
  4. Now that you have a mediocre review written in plain English, it’s time to give it that patented Pitchfork flair. That is, replace all perfectly serviceable descriptors with obtuse quasi-synonyms from the thesaurus. Never say a “song” is “good,” say a “track” “approaches transcendence.” If a “part” is “pretty,” a “section” is “vibrant/ornate/indelible.” No songs are complex—but some “cuts” are “layered/intricate/sempiternally undulating.”Finally and MOST IMPORTANTLY PRESSINGLY, if a song is political and/or pretentious, call it “vital,”, “essential” or “uber-conscious.” Unfortunately, our mortal enemies colleagues over at Buzzfeed have copyrighted the word “important,” so we’ll have to thesaurus our way around that shit. But you are a goddamn Pitchfork Reviewer now, and you don’t have time for three-syllable words anyway. You are a motherfucking Thesaurus Rex.
  5. Make a sweeping, unfounded concluding statement about the musical landscape, contemporary politics, or New Age philosophy.
  6. Congratulations! Your shitty, unreadable review is now posted on our website, and music journalism is deader than it’s ever been.  We are so goddamn proud of you. You who are now us. We are so goddamn proud of us. Our parents are proud of us. Their investment was not for naught, but for the establishment of a new world order. One in which words and music mean nothing. Armed with thesauruses and Macbook Pros, we march on the ears and eyes and brainstems of listener/readers everywhere. Taste is meaningless. Only the 5.9 to 7.1 scale can save you now. Vive la revolution.

We studied French, in high school.