First things first: Pitchfork is not an authority on whether or not music is good or not. Neither is MetalSucks, or GorillaVSBear, Rolling Stone, or any other music publication.
Music publications hire a writer to write a review for them, so they are one man’s opinion, that’s all.
If you are a metal artist, and a reviewer who naturally hates metal reviews you, it’s not gonna be good. There are so many different biases that a review might have, no single review should get you down in the dumps (even if it is that dreaded 4.5 review on Pitchfork, which attached to it comes a loss of potential album sales).
I would recommend taking a look at the wide variety of reviews that you get though. If 50 publications review your album, and none of them like it at all, you might have a bit of an issue.
You shouldn’t be changing your entire sound or music just to please others, you should write it for yourself…right?
Well…there’s a balance to that. And it comes down to this:
“Did I really put everything I had into this album?”
If you are getting some bad reviews, you need to be honest with yourself; did you deserve them? Are you secretly wishing that you had done a better job, and that you had put more of yourself into it?
If a critic's review convicts you of something that you compromised on, that’s when I can see them being useful.
Now, if you think that you really put everything you had into the music, and that it’s a piece of art that you deeply appreciate, then you shouldn’t change the music. You wrote that genuinely, and that’s yours; no action needed.
In that case...
And don’t change yourself for anyone.
If accepting criticism is a big problem for you, then you may want to examine your motives behind writing music. Everyone likes to be appreciated, myself included, and it can be pretty painful to feel misunderstood, but hopefully you have a few fans or friends or a partner that really gets what you’re doing.
That should feel enough to be understood. You don’t need any more than that. Forget the critics…
…it’s one man’s opinion.
He might have a lot of long and pretentious words to describe you, but that shouldn’t change much for you; most reviewers only listen to an album a few times (and often they will only listen to it once). That’s hardly enough time to really take in some music. I have some amazing albums that took me 10-20 listens before I started to really like them.
I spent some time talking to my friend Jameson from Teen Daze about some of the reviews he’s received. He’s received both positive and negative reviews on publications like Pitchfork.
Here’s some of the wisdom that he imparted to me about the subject:
In the words of Jameson: “I know [it’s hard to just put on the blinders, ignore critics, and make music], you have to resist the temptation”.
My name is Andrew Muller. I love creative art, music, television shows, movies, video games, and a good story.
If you had to find me somewhere, you would probably find me down at O'neils home cooking eating an organic sweet-potato bun breakfast sandwich with ham.
Among my friends, it's a "Muller Classic Move" to eat Mcdonald's at 2am because it's cheap and open 24/7. The joke here is that I'm an idiot.
I play drums, guitar, piano, and I write & perform music for My Goal Is Telepathy. Take a listen to the latest sound here.