Some Changes to Two Dollar Soldier's Reviewing Strategy

If things have seemed quiet lately, you aren't going crazy. No, the world hasn't gone musicless in 2017 (though there have been no shortage of deficiencies in the world since the year began). Here, though, I've been incredibly behind. There's an increasingly structurally unsound stack of 2017 releases waiting to be listened to and reviewed for your consideration, but of course you don't need me to tell you the obvious: I simply haven't gotten around to them yet.

The quiet months did, at least, offer an opportunity for reflection, and reflection offered an opportunity for change. So before I proceed with changes, I thought it might be helpful to preempt some slight adjustments to my approach with a little explanation:

Firstly, the album releases previously ended with a few little factoids: album length, number of tracks, and a rating out of ten. These three items are going to be eliminated. In what realm does album length really affect someone's willingness to dive in? I'm not sure what ever indicated to me that those details were worthwhile. As for ratings out of ten, it's become increasingly clear to me that these numbers are about as arbitrary as the likelihood of winning big on a scratch-off. I'd become more and more bothered by the fact that, for example, not all 7s (or 4s or 9s or anything else for that matter) are created equal. I found myself coming back to some 7.5s more often than I was coming back to 8.5s. It has to do with genre and context and all of the little details that make art art. And it doesn't help that, as of now, the releases reviewed here are purchased, so it was rare for anything to get below a 6 (because why would I spend money on something I'm bound to hate?). And then, of course, there was the reviewer's existential crisis. Am I giving it a score of quality or how much I like it? If I give out an 8 immediately after two other 8s, does it seem like I don't have discerning tastes? Nothing made sense, so the smart solution was to end the facade. 

Secondly, one or two reviews a month simply makes keeping up with the many, many awesome releases each year impossible. There are some records that simply don't elicit a strong reaction either way. There are others that need some time to sink in. So when we're months behind on exciting releases, we're doing these groups an injustice not getting word out sooner.

So to solve these problems, we have a few small revisions to our approach. The first is that the post-review details will change slightly to reflect more accurately the things that matter. The second is that we will periodically package some shorter reviews together so that we can churn them out more quickly. There are more prospective changes under consideration--a site redesign, soliciting contributing writers, etc.--but for now we'll start simple.

Thank you to all who support us by reading and liking and sharing, and as always feel free to reach out with questions, comments, and suggestions. Here's to a (hopefully productive) 2017!