Today, Purity Ring officially released another eternity, their sophomore LP following 2012's lauded Shrines, which still stands as my favourite trap-pop-witchthug-whatever album in the recent movement. There's something to the ethereal nature of FKA Twigs or the bombast of CHVRCHES, but what Purity Ring is selling as their differentiation, I'm buying.
This isn't going to be about that album, which has already burned out repeats after leaking a month ago. This will be about how Pitchfork's review of it. It's re-surfaced feelings that I need to separate myself from using review scores as my source for music taste. For three years, it's been that easy. I've used the site, at times solely, for new music. A negative side effect with the elitist style, though, is negative reviews start to bleed into my thought process and force me to question my taste. This has negatively impacted my feelings on a lot of albums I tend to like, which is creating some sort of weird meta disconnect for me.
So yeah, 12 of my 15 most listened to artists over the last year were BNM'd recently. Two great examples of albums that buck the trend, though - ones that go back a bit further than Purity Ring - are Beck's Morning Phase and Coldplay's Ghost Stories. Both superb albums in my mind, the former was an underdog Grammy winner for Album of the Year. And while I put as much stock into Grammys in 2015 as anyone with a shred of critical thought should, this still somehow felt like validation in the face of a less-than-stellar Pitchfork review.
With this disconnect, I've edged away from the site. I get a lot of new music these days from NPR, podcasts, and Vine, strangely enough. I've become more deeply interested in remix culture and different types of dance music, and feel a lot more comfortable in my music choices as a result.
For me, enjoying music involves community vindication. It's why I write about music, it's why I share it with my friends, it's why I read reviews. When I enjoy something, I desperately want to know that somewhere, someone is enjoying it just as much as me. A psychologist might look at that as a lack of self-confidence. For me, it's just part of the experience.