I joined a start-up company!

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I’ve kept this quiet for some time now, but now I think its time I talk about something new in my life. I was recently accepted to work at an amazing start-up company based in California. The Company is called Scriberr.

Scriberr is a news media site focused on delivering free speech media that represents all views accurately even if it disagrees with them. The people here have been especially kind to my writing process and schedule so from now on I am going to be writing for them.

What does this mean for this website? Well sadly my work on here is going to be slowed, yet again. However, that doesn’t mean I’m through with this place. There are ideas I have for articles that may work here but won’t work on Scriberr. That is essentially what this website is going to be used for from now on.

Things like my lists, music opinions and personal stories about artists will likely be kept here as well as a few Op-eds.

I’d like to thank all of you for sticking with me and supporting my thoughts and opinions. This website has served its purpose for now but I am happy to keep it going as its own little publication.

As an incentive, there is a brand new article up featuring an interview with an artist I’ve been a fan of for some time now! Go check it out on Scriberr.

Understanding the artist behind streetwear’s most creative pieces.

 

I wrote something new but it isn’t here.

As some of you may know Evan “Burning the Celluloid” Ambrose and I are pretty good friends. His website primarily focuses on critiquing the film industry. While I focus on analyzing music and other forms of media.

For a while now, we’ve wanted to write something together. Evan proposed a so-called duo-review. While I still don’t consider myself a reviewer, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to talk about BROCKHAMPTON’s newest album. Evan and I have such differing views on music and different approaches to writing so I believe the article has a lot to offer for people on all sides of the viewing spectrum.

The review is up on Evan’s website and I will leave a link to it below. There’s a lot of hot takes and fun banter throughout the review. I had a blast creating it with Evan.

Aside from that, I have a few articles and interviews that are set to come out in the near future. I’m already working on my top albums of the year list too. Stay tuned.

The Review.

Some hard thinking after one year of writing articles for a website almost nobody reads.

I started this website one year ago today with almost no direction. I gave the website a title with almost no meaning,  all I had was this vague ambition to write, and so I did. Somehow kept this place consistent for a whole year. In that year this place has grown far bigger than I ever thought was possible. I don’t like sharing much about myself on here. This place is supposed to be about media, not about me. Be that as it may, this is still my website and everything I’ve released here thus far has been an extension of myself.

There has been one big misconception about me many have been falsely claiming as truth. So I figure I would take the time today to clear that misconception up.

So here’s a revelation: I am not a reviewer or a critic. I know! Crazy! But yes, I do not consider myself a reviewer or a critic. The purpose of this website since the beginning has been to analyze media and entertainment and for the most part, I think I’ve done a good job at keeping that theme consistent, with a few minor exceptions of course.

There’s an awkward stigma associated with critics that I find myself distancing from more and more. After all, this is Turn off the Bright Lights, not Buring the Celluloid. All joking aside, I’ve detested the critic typecast simply because of the little importance it denotes. This is not to criticize people who do reviews. There’s nothing wrong with being a reviewer. I just wouldn’t like to consider myself one. To put things bluntly, I have terrible opinions. I wouldn’t call myself contrarian, but others certainly have. I have a fixed way I view most things and if I were to speak with that perspective constantly at the crux of my articles, I don’t think anyone would bother reading. Not like many people actually read these things, but I’d like the keep the choice few that do.

Some may begin to call into question the fact I’ve done reviews in the past and that is a completely valid point. However, I’ve realized the fault in doing so, and because of that, I’ve only continued my 150-word track reviews but even in just doing those many people still get the wrong idea about my website. I was recently contacted by an independent artist who wanted me to write a review for their new EP. I told them I don’t do reviews and we settled on a track review instead. When I did that, however, something still felt wrong to me.

Originally I did track reviews to fill empty space between articles. At the time I didn’t have a consistent schedule like I do now. As things have progressed here I’ve slowly begun to realize how unnecessary they are now.

So as of today, I’m killing all reviews on this website. Instead, I’m going to be replacing them with a new segment that I call “artist spotlight.” This is going to be my chance to expose general audiences to artists they wouldn’t have bothered to go find otherwise. There is a chance track reviews will return in some form, but their overall structure will be completely reformatted to the point where they will be almost unrecognizable. Anyway, the first spotlight will be out next week.

And with that, my stigma has hopefully been effectively killed. Now I can go on to focus on yet another question. A question that I’ve wanted to answer for a very long time.

Something I’ve asked myself at least a hundred times is why. Why do I write? I’ve mulled it over for a while and the answer has come to me in short bursts. It takes a lot to admit something to yourself, when you’re younger feelings aren’t the most simple thing in the world. Regardless, I’ve kept this website up for a year. While it hasn’t remained entirely consistent I’ve made the effort to always release something. Even if it was just once a month.

Once again, I ask myself, “Why?” Why do I do this? Why even bother? Why do I put up with being called a reviewer by people who have no idea what an analytical essay is? Why do I continue to write despite being ridiculed by people around me? Why do I write for a website that not even my own girlfriend reads?

It’s because I love it. There is nothing in this world I’ve ever felt more accomplished doing and I mean that wholeheartedly. I want to do this forever. I want to release the countless thoughts I have on a regular basis and show them off for all to see. I am a writer and if we want to get really personal, I am an artist.

For every callow comment I’ve received there’s another that inspires me to keep going. Even if I have to pull myself back up there’s never been a doubt in my mind that I love doing this. Regardless of the few people who actually read these things I’ve told myself I have been doing this for me and that intent hasn’t changed. I thank everyone who has supported me through this year. I’m genuinely glad I’ve made it this far and can’t wait to go even farther. The new year is upon us as we are beginning to move into a new era where we turn off the bright lights.

Thank you.

OPINION: Why rating systems are worthless.

IMG_8420I’m not a reviewer, I don’t review things per se. I’ve tried to use this website to define myself as an analyst. In my about me section, I say that I attempt to “to look through entertainment from an analytical standpoint and expose the finer details that may be lost on most casual viewers in order to enhance the overall experience these productions generate” and I think I’ve done a pretty good job at doing that. However, there have been moments like in my track reviews where, in order to stay relevant, I’ve stooped to the level of simply just reviewing songs. This is something I’ve wanted to touch on for some time now but this fact is not the point of this article. This is just context for what I’m really focusing on.

In those times I’ve been a reviewer one may notice I’ve never given a standard rating for anything I’ve ever talked about. I typically tend to focus on one facet of a specific production whether it is a basic theme or motif that is used to reveal something deeper about a specific work. Keep in mind this is whenever I’m talking about a piece of media or entertainment. However, when I do a track review or sometimes a movie review I never end it with a rating. This is because I think rating systems are meaningless and contrived. Qualifying something with a numerical score is horribly subjective and what you’re doing is really only meaningful to you. I suppose that’s the point of doing a review, however many use reviews in order to form their own opinion about a work, often times without experiencing it for themselves. For pieces that are genuinely experiences and demand a personal touch, this is nothing short of a travesty.

There are two main reasons why numerical scoring fails to adequately describe a piece of work and why it is ostensibly worthless and in this article I’m going to explain both of them. The first issue is that most rating systems are incredibly ill-defined. Often times the critic’s rating doesn’t reflect what they say about the given work. Allow me to explain this with an anecdote. My friend and fellow writer Evan did a short review of the first Hellboy film. He said the film was “kickass” and claimed that Guillermo del Toro should direct more superhero films because “he’s good at it.” So imagine my surprise when he gave the film a six out of ten.

Now, to some, this may seem like the natural score. A six out of ten means the film was good, but from the words I was reading, I was expecting a rating closer to seven or even eight. Do you see what I mean? Using a rating system comes with the issue of subjectivity. There is no right way to define a six out of ten. Most can agree that anything below five means the film was bad and anything above is good, but if that’s the case then why use a rating system at all? If your audience is going to generalize your rating system then why make it complicated. This the rationale I use when reviewing anything. However, its worth noting almost everything I’ve reviewed has been positive. To me, it’s much more worthwhile to expose the masses to good artistic endeavors rather than bad ones. My perspective is very similar to that of Ego from Ratatouille:

The bitter truth we critics must face is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.

The second reason why I think rating systems are meaningless is the latent meaning behind them. I understand what I just said was an oxymoron but please bear with me I can explain. A perfect ten out of ten is the most sought after score any piece of art can achieve. Unless of course, you’re Evan, in which case it’s an A+. However, a “perfect” score is very rarely awarded by critics due to its implication. To most, when a piece of art receives this score it means that there is nothing further it can do to bolster its excellence. It’s the definition of its craft, the benchmark all other pieces should aspire to reach. Except it really isn’t. It’s been widely accepted by most that perfection doesn’t exist. It can’t. The imperfect universe that creates imperfect people cant create a piece of art that is objectively perfect. Art is an inherently subjective medium.

This is what scares most critics from giving a piece of media a ten out of ten. Take famous music critic Anthony Fantano for instance. As of today, he has only awarded five albums a ten out of ten, even though he’s been reviewing music for almost ten years now. Perhaps he just has high standards, but just looking at his website you can find that he’s given out a plethora of nines and eights. So what does that mean in the grand scheme of things? Well, a lot actually.

Fantano is almost infamous for his harsh ratings, and this is no accident. If he were a critic that handed out ten after ten after ten I don’t believe he would be nearly as popular as he is now. Now I don’t think Anthony Fantano has some hidden agenda that he’s been secretly using to dupe his audience into believing he’s some kind of musical connoisseur, because, if I’m being honest, it’s really his fans who created this sanctimonious idea of his character. Fantano has just accepted it and promptly followed suit, likely subconsciously, and he’s not the only one guilty of this. All reviewers have this issue. They all have to protect their “credibility” that has been forged by the writ of their audience.

In one fantastic video simply titled “Game Critics” made by internet personality “videogamedunkey”, he claims that the only difference between the average Joe and a critic is that the critic gets paid to say their opinion. I agree with this, but I would also add that the critic has a bigger audience they constantly have to acknowledge and this ultimately ruins the way critics rate their respective mediums.

Whether it be music, film, or art, it would seem entertainment is forever to be cursed by terribly flawed rating systems.

How to find new music

So a lot has already happened in the new year and I’m three months late to the party. First R. Kelly gets indicted, then the Michael Jackson documentary gets released, and then for some reason, the Jonas Brothers come back? My life has been a little overwhelming recently but I’m prepared to start writing consistently again. Today I’m going to do an article I’ve wanted to for some time now, but first, here’s some context.

I’ve prided myself on the fact I listen to varied music for several years now. There’s something nice about listening to sounds that not many others have the aptitude or the time to hear themselves. In my growing catalog of music that is my Apple Music library, you can rest assured knowing that there’s a little something for everybody. However, it’s not very easy to keep that up.

For years I’ve tried various methods in order to keep my music playlist’s fresh and even so there are points where I end up listening to the same song over and over again for several days at a time. This article is going to detail a few methods that I use to find new music in order from most accessible to least.

  • Mixes and Playlists

A feature exercised by most popular streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify is their discover playlists. These are mixes created by complex algorithms tailored to your personal taste. It’s the simplest and least labor-intensive way of finding new music. Apple Music and Spotify have playlists upon playlists they’ve created that follow any number of random stipulations.

Some confine themselves specific moods and genres, others are created by fellow users. With the amount of music available on these platforms and the vast number of playlists being made, it’s incredibly easy to find new and inspiring artists to listen to. The only challenge comes in sifting through all of them. As a general rule of thumb; if a song doesn’t capture your attention by the first thirty seconds it’s unlikely it’s going to do so in the next two or so minutes. At that point, I would just move on.

  • Asking Friends

This method is a little less reliable but still works depending on who your asking. The friends you ask should be dependent on what you’re trying to focus on musically. If you’re lacking songs from a specific genre ask a friend who is a self-proclaimed expert on such. If you’re anything like me you’re likely to have a lot of friends like these and therefore are apt to have a large catalog of music to sort through. 

If you’re not picky about any genre or artist a general poll works just as well, if not, a little better. Asking publicly on social media platforms or online forums is the most common approach I use. Just be prepared to get a lot of music you’re probably not going to like. Everyone’s tastes are different and what some people hear as good may not sound as pleasant for others.

  • Going Outside

This is my most archaic method of finding new music but it’s given me some of my favorite songs. Often times in restaurants, coffee shops, or even just metropolitan areas in general, some ambient music is played in the background for one reason or another. Whether its to fill space or just the make the room feel more alive there’s always music playing somewhere.

If you ever hear something out in public you like just Shazam it or make out some of the lyrics and search them up on Google later. It’s incredibly hit or miss but it’s one of the most valuable techniques I’ve started using. It’s especially helpful if you go to places focused on music like record shops and festivals. Opening acts to concerts work too, provided you don’t know the artist already.


These are just a few methods I personally employ but I encourage everyone to find their own methods that work for them. Music is consistently released at an increasingly fast rate and the fraction most are going to be able to examine should hold something special. It’s always thrilling diving deep into the rabbit hole of an artist you feel like you’ve just discovered.

An addendum to my piece on BROCKHAMPTON and Ameer Vann

I think it’s a virtue for one to be able to admit they’re wrong. It implies they have a sense of humility and tact. Today I figured out just how wrong I was and now I have to opportunity to tell you why.

Following the publication of my article on Ameer Vann and the end of BROCKHAMPTON, more information began to surface on the sordid affairs that took place. I’ve read over the article from Pitchfork that details two accounts on what happened to the two strong women that endured Ameer’s abuse and I’ve reneged my sentiments on the whole debacle.

I now realize how malicious the entire situation was and I can see why the members of BROCKHAMPTON decided to give Ameer the boot. It’s clear they were told the full story before it went public and made their choice based on that.

I apologize for any misinformation or manipulation I may have indirectly caused. I hope we can move past this travesty and look towards a brighter future where such macabre things like this don’t take place so often.

a little bit about me

I always have something to say about everything, and one of the greatest outlets man has created in order to share their thoughts is through writing. I like to write and I like to share my opinions. So that’s why I made this website.

For the foreseeable future, this is where I’m going to be stockpiling my intrepid and often ostentatious writings, whether it be on things like music or films. However, if you’re one of my close friends reading this I’m sure you already know about how I feel about both of those mediums, and even if you don’t I’m sure you’ll see very soon how opinionated I am.

But I digress, welcome to my website! Please turn off the bright lights. Thank you.