First Impressions: Introduction to New Music Column, Really/Not/Really

Dunbar senior Justin Kline introduces his new music column, Really/Not/Really.


I’m excited to be introducing and writing Lamplighter’s weekly music column, Really/Not/Really. As with so many, music has been a significant force in my developing cultural experience and interactions with the world; and, as a sort of flagship, I hope to encourage  engaging with music as both a dynamic experience -emotional and socially stimulating- as well as pushing beyond music as background. In other words, sans ostentation, let’s take some time to think and dig the art form, if it is possible for casual writing to motivate it.    

Really/Not/Really was one of many titles for this column. Initially “impressions” was to be implemented as a means of expressing what I see as two kinds of critical evaluation. The internet naturally drives a consensus immediately to a head, which means reviews are written promptly, especially if publications receive early review copies. Recent surprise releases -from Beyoncé and Kanye to Radiohead and Frank Ocean- have only complicated this. On the other hand, a review is written six months down the road; they are sober and measured elaborations on whatever a writer’s thoughts were during the critical blitz of an album drop.

Failure to find a satisfying two word combination of an appropriately self-deprecating adjective, Really/Not/Really was cleaner and on the table. Much like how opinions might shift over the course of advancing from an impression to a review, other characters act on music, especially in my own experience: the listener’s time, place, and mood. This inconsistency is reflected in a contradiction in the title, a shift in opinion.

Ideally, expect to see coverage and thoughts on albums released at least within a month, as well as occasional analytical pieces focusing on the past. Ultimately, however, I hope this column can be enjoyed not as an academic outlet, but  as a catalyst for a reader’s interest in new, thought provoking music. Maybe you’ll think about an album entirely different, or perhaps you’ll discover your favorite group. Either way, I’m thrilled to be along for the ride, feel free to join the dialog.