I admit being partial.
Go to the source.
I far prefer to write about things where I have first-hand knowledge. It's my opinion that if you’ve seen something first hand, and on more than one occasion, you’ve got more depth of perception and more likely that you’ve got something of substance to say. If I know the environment and the other people in that scene, I’m going to have a greater perspective than some performer or band I’ve only seen once. And if some of the musicians I write about are my friends too, well it isn’t odd to become friends with people whose work you admire. Is it?It is impossible.
“The heart of a melody can never be put down on paper.” I read this quote somewhere and I don’t know who to credit, but it sounds right to me. One can never get in words to the places where music can easily reach. Some people can write technically about music, and that can be useful, but it comes about as close to the heart of a melody as a list of ingredients describes what it’s like to eat your favorite meal. Though you might try to be objective, bringing music that matters to you in a review to other people really is never objective, but always personal.
It is love.
I think many times the better review turns out to be slightly more about the receiver of the music than the giver or the music itself. Even so, the attempt and the struggle to describe the heart of a melody in words, with some luck, compels fellow music lovers to find that melody and give it a listen for themselves. I’m grateful when I read something that makes me want to listen. And that is why I keep trying to describe the music I love.