Longtime readers of Hey Dullblog will recall that I’ve posted about Starostin’s music reviews before. He’s prolific, insightful, and unafraid to swim against the tide — though he’s never a contrarian for controversy’s sake. His reviews of the Beatles catalog are well worth reading. His original site is here, and the site he is currently updating is here.

On September 1 of this year Starostin posted a lengthy essay entitled “Music: Where The Hell Is It Heading To (Twenty Years After)?” Hard to believe that it’s been two decades since Starostin published his first long essay about the state of music, but so it is. I recommend you read the whole recent essay and the comments, and I’m going to refrain from commenting on it myself.

George Starostin is a Russian linguist who reviews astonishing amounts of music in his spare time.

I’ll just say that Starostin manages in this piece to consider important questions about the significance (or lack of significance) of much contemporary music and why the music scene has changed as it has, without succumbing to easy nostalgia. This piece of writing reminded me of the essential meaning of the word “essay”: “an attempt or effort.” Starostin’s trying to get his head around what’s going on with music today in a way that feels quite authentic and brave.

Here’s one paragraph, to give you a taste:

“One odd thing that I quickly noticed [after restarting reviews on the blog] was that, regardless of the change in strategy, my new reviews for old school artists still tended to attract far more attention than my reviews of 21st century artists, even regardless of their overall popularity or critical importance. Refreshed assessments of the Beatles, Beach Boys, or Black Sabbath catalogs yielded hundreds of views and quite a bit of comments; new reviews of any of the artists listed above, with very few exceptions, yielded dozens of views and very few occasional comments. At first, I did not pay much attention to this, ascribing this peculiarity to the fact that most of the readers, in all likelihood, were from my old fanbase, and that old fanbase had no obligations at all to accept my strategic deviations. “George only writes well about The Beatles, and has no idea of whatʼs been going on since 1975 “, that sort of thinking. Well — okay, maybe I deserved this, maybe I had just painted myself way too much into one corner to have any right to expect that anybody would ever care about what I could say about Aphex Twin, let alone Boards Of Canada. Iʼll just mosey along with the flow and hope that time will heal some of the wounds… for now.”

I look forward to hearing what HD readers think of Starostin’s ideas.