What Was I Thinking?!: My Past Music Reviews Revisited


I first started writing on Epinions in 2003, at the mere age of fifteen.  It’s been nearly ten years since my first review and if I do say so myself, my writing style has changed a lot since then.  I’ve ditched the track-by-track reviewing style (which doesn’t really work for anyone, unless you’re reading one of Divad23’s in-depth reviews), and have grown as a writer, in general, in the last ten years.

But my taste in music has changed even more significantly since then.  When I was fifteen, my favourite kind of music was pop, I loved *NSYNC and Britney Spears, and I had never even heard of most alternative/indie rock music, let alone some of my favourite bands now.  My eager over-rating of most albums is so embarrassing now that I’ve actually contemplated going back and just re-writing those first 20 or so reviews, so I could give a non-biased, mature opinion of the music.

However, I’m a bit too lazy to do all that.  Instead, I’ve taken a look back at some of my first reviews and selected a handful of them to revisit and re-rate.  In no particular order…

Justin Guarini – Justin Guarini
– June 25th, 2003
Original Rating: 4 Stars

Original Bottom Line:  “Justin’s album is one of the best I’ve purchased in the past few months. If you haven’t bought it yet, do.”

Rating Now: 2 ½ stars

Bottom Line Now:  Okay, this probably was the best album I purchased when I was 15 and in love with Justin Guarini.  Now, at 25 and less in love with Justin Guarini (but only a bit less, because I didhyperventilate for several minutes when he sent me a direct message on Twitter last year), I can admit that this album is “OK” at best.  The failure mostly lies in the production and plethora of boring, watered-down R&B/pop songs.  That kind of formula wouldn’t work well for anyone, and it particularly fails for Guarini’s debut album.

Boomkatalog.One- Boomkat– June 25th, 2003
Original Rating: 4 stars

Original Bottom Line: “Great Album…I’d recommend it to anyone…an eclectic mix of funk, soul, pop, r&b, rock and more!”

Rating now: 2 stars

Bottom Line Now:  Eh, this album is barely decent pop music.  The substandard songs, creepy sometimes-brother/sister-other-times-lovers  act is weird (and had already been done by Jack and Meg White), and Tayrn Manning’s screechy voice is almost unbearable.  I still own this album and I will say that Wastin’ My Time and Daydreamin’ are good songs, but those are about the only ones I’ll listen to these days.

Stripped- Christina Aguilera– Sep 21, 2003
Original Rating: 4 stars

Original Bottom Line: “This is a great album, and Christina’s best effort by far. Christina has no reason to sell her body when she has this much talent.”

Rating Now: 3 stars

Bottom Line Now: I’ll agree that this is still Aguilera’s best album to date, but that doesn’t really make it a “great” album held to any other standards.   Like Guarini’s effort above, a lot of it is derivative R&B/pop music and I wouldn’t bother listening to half of the songs on this album now.  Extra points are taken away because Beautiful is probably one of the most overplayed songs in the universe.

Sweet Kisses- Jessica Simpson– Sep 28, 2003
Original Rating: 3 stars

Original Bottom Line: “Jessica’s debut isn’t half bad, but I think her talent was really wasted on some of these horrible songs.”

Rating Now: 1 star

Bottom Line Now: Saying that Simpson’s debut wasn’t “half bad” was terribly generous, because in retrospect, I can honestly say this belongs at the bottom of the barrel of bad pop music.  Simpson’s been known for over-singing and she does plenty of that here, but again, it’s the poor production and cheesy pop tracks that really kill the album.  I’m not sure why I ever thought it was worth three stars, though I will admit to jamming to the title track, Sweet Kisses, every once in a blue moon.

Celebrity- *NSYNC–  Sep 28, 2003
Original Rating: 4 stars

Original Bottom Line: “The guys of *NSYNC have matured a lot since their debut album, and I can’t wait to see where they’ll head next”

Rating Now: 3

Bottom Line Now: Okay, before you start laughing, keep in mind that I was still fifteen when I wrote this review and still a very big *NSYNC fan.  I’m surprised I even reined it in enough to drop anythingreleased by them down a star, but even now, I’ll still say this was a good album.   Sure, Tell Me, Tell Me…Baby is God-awful, but forget about that and remember songs like The Game is Over, Girlfriend,The Two of Us, and Up Against the Wall.  Legitimately good pop music, and some of the best songs that Justin Timberlake’s written in his career (which is a little unfortunate for him).

Measure of a Man- Clay Aiken– Sep 24, 2004
Original Rating: 3 stars

Original Bottom Line: “Clay’s debut album isn’t the best, but that’s to be expected. He’s still an amazing performer, and hopefully his sophomore album (or Christmas release) will be better.”

Rating Now: 1 star

Bottom Line Now: I should’ve just named this, “A Journey Through Brittany’s Embarrassing Pop Music Past” because that’s basically what it’s becoming.  A 3-star-rating for Clay Aiken?!  C’mon, self.  We can do better than that.  Again, this is more of a case of me being a fan (or a “Claymate”, as I actually referred to myself then…*sigh*), rather than objectively reviewing the album- a mistake I made a lot in my earlier reviewing days.  Most of the album is atrocious- Aiken’s version of lite-Adult Contemporary tracks wouldn’t even make it on Delilah’s cheesy late night radio show, and that’s really saying something.  I hang my head in shame.

One Love- Kimberley Locke– Sep 26, 2004
Original Rating: 3 stars

Original Bottom Line: “One Love was decent, but I’m really looking forward to see where Kimberley goes with her next album.”

Rating Now: 1 star

Bottom Line Now: I obviously was a big American Idol fan from 2003-2004, so I think I gave any Idol-alum an instant 3 star rating. I can see now that just because someone was impressive on Idol, it didn’t mean that their talent would translate on an album, and that’s sadly the case with Locke’s debut.  Though she does have an amazing voice, all of that is easily lost on this dismal collection of subpar pop music.

Number Ones- Michael Jackson – Oct 2, 2004
Original Rating: 3 stars

Original Bottom Line: “This is an OK collection of Michael’s songs, but if you really want the greatest hits, I recommend HIStory, Volume One.”

Rating Now: 4 stars

Bottom Line Now: This is the only album on this list that I’m actually rating up.  I’m honestly not too sure why I gave this a lower rating; I guess I felt like this wasn’t the “ultimate fan” collection, but let’s be honest: ultimate fans don’t need a Greatest Hits album- they already own all the original CDs to begin with.  For someone who is just looking for the biggest Michael Jackson hits, this is perfect- all the big songs (Billie Jean, Beat It, Thriller, Bad, etc.) are present, along with a few other note-worthy songs from Jackson’s catalogue.


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