Question of the Week




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Welcome to “Question of the Week,” a (sometimes) weekly debate amongst the MetalSucks staff regarding a recent hot button issue.

This week’s query was suggested by our very own Gary Suarez after he read this really interesting article on music criticism:


The MS staff’s answers after the jump.

Depends on the kind of music and how you define “get.” To me, “getting it” doesn’t really insinuate memorizing the whole album and knowing it top to bottom, every nook and cranny. But there’s definitely some level of “getting it” that requires a knowledge of what said album contains… so I guess it’s somewhere in between.

A lot of it has to do with how familiar you are with that particular sub-genre of metal (or kind of music). With something relatively simple (not that simple is a bad thing), you might “get” it on the first listen, but the crazy, proggy stuff might take several spins.

It’s a tricky question; what the fuck does it even mean to “get” an album? Can you “get” an album and not like it? Can you like an album you don’t “get”?? The mind boggles.

-Vince Neilstein

I have almost no idea how to answer this question. Assuming that the vague term “get” means “to comprehend” and not necessarily “to like” or “to appreciate,” well, it depends on the album, doesn’t it? Some albums you love from the very first moment you hear them, some albums you hate at first but grow to appreciate later, some albums seems awesome but depreciate after multiple listens, etc. When I’m reviewing something I listen at least twice because a second listening will often change my perspective, and I want to make sure I give everyone a fair shot. (Hell, that’s the only reason I listened to St. Anger multiple times.) But sometimes someone sends me a band and after about thirty seconds I can safely say “This isn’t for me.” So, really… you have to take it on a case by case basis, don’t you?

-Axl Rosenberg

Obviously it varies, but when reviewing, I tend to give an album three listens. One typically isn’t enough, two you’re reaquanting yourself with what you may have lost on first impression, and three is when you settle in to what the album can do more often than not. Some I spend less time with (I don’t think a Six Feet Under album is an experience that lends itself to a complex blooming on repeat listens) and some more, usually when I really love an album. But in my everyday life, though, as long as it takes. Typically two or three, but there have been a few I’ve actively disliked at first (most recently, Intronaut’s Valley of Smoke) that I kept with because my gut told me something was there. Then there are others I just cast aside because of undercooked appreciation: I hated Suffocation’s Human Waste when I first procured it, then, many years later after hearing other Suffocation both past and present, it clicked. That being said, if there’s not a spark right away, chances are, there’s not going to be anything if I sit myself down and force myself to get it. There are too many fucking records out there to get hung up on not liking one of them.

-Sammy O’Hagar

If I’m not floored by the first three songs, there’s a good chance the rest of the album isn’t going to impress me either. That initial, gut reaction is when I “get” an album. That being said I always listen to a record, all the way through, at least twice. I can never remember anything after the first listen (unless there’s something spectacular in there that makes me stop and pay attention) and the second listen either confirms my first thoughts or pushes me to explore it further. Third time is usually the charm. At this point the record has grown on me enough that I can give it a fair evaluation. If I hated it, it wouldn’t get that third shot. If I loved it, then there’s no “fair evaluation” about it, I’m going to rave about it and indulge in every kind of hyperbole to get others to listen to it as well. And thus, the record and I would be in simpatico with mutual “getting.”

-Leyla Ford

Okay, kiddies, now it’s your turn! Weigh in with your answer to the question of the week below.

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