Introduction

One of the most important decisions critics make is what they’ll write about. Magazine stringers don’t often have that luxury, but here at my personal blog I take seriously my role as a curator. I choose albums for review when I think they’re worth my time and attention—and worth yours. There mere act of writing about them, regardless of what I actually say, is intended as a certain kind of endorsement.

Generally speaking, this means the reviews here will be positive: I got into this racket because I love records, and find it baffling that any critic would actively seek out music they don’t enjoy. I am occasionally told that my positivity comes at the expense of credibility, to which I’ll point back to my role as a curator: My negative reviews will generally come in the form of silent dismissal.

A guiding principle in all of this is inclusivity: I am zealous to encompass works from women and from men, from maintreamers and indies, from artists of different cultures and colors. I also aim to highlight records that span genres; nothing could be snootier than only listening to one or two kinds of music, and I hope this space is one of great diversity and continuous curiosity. My only caveat is that I won’t ever claim to be knowledgeable when in fact I’m ignorant, so some things—metal records, we’ll say—may be absent here simply because I don’t have that particular subject matter expertise.

I do hope, over time, that regular readers will notice certain aesthetic interests—threads I’ve been following for a long time, as well as some new ones that I pick up.

I have been writing about records since 2000, and have learned that, even covering one significant record each week, I can’t hit on everything; I hope that what I can offer brings some combination of insight and enthusiasm. I am often a critic but always a fan, and wouldn’t be doing any of this if I didn’t think a great album still had much to offer in the way of empathy, imagination, and human connection. All I’ve ever aimed to do was to lay my hands to it, one review at a time.

Josh Hurst
Knoxville, TN
3-14-18 (Revised 7-20-18)