Crystal’s Team Pick: A Reader & Writer’s Guide to Reading Music Writing

Today about 500 people in my twitter feed have linked to Vice Magazine’s ‘A Reader & Writer’s Guide to Reading Writing About Music’ – a glossary of words and phrases that are commonly found in music press. It’s pretty amusing, you guys. And relevant, given the nature of our relationship – me, the music writer and you, the poor souls who have to decipher my words. I feel like this’s really going to benefit us both.

Here’s an excerpt from the glossary:

BUT I DIGRESS: (“Back in Cleveland in the 70s, we used to burn copies of the original Shit Stain 7-inch just to keep warm in our squat. Now they’re going for $400 on eBay. Times sure have changed. But I digress…”) Don’t be afraid to use digressions to hit the reader with all of the self-aggrandizing parenthetical asides that you can fart out. Want to work in the important fact that you saw the Clash when you were 14, even though the piece is about the new Justin Bieber single? Go ahead and digress. Feel a burning desire to let all of us know that you’ve got a complete collection of pristine Guided by Voices tour t-shirts wrapped in plastic in your closet, right in the middle of yet another article on the decline of CD sales? It’s digression time. Is it essential to this interview with Tom Petty’s first band’s second bass player that you reveal that your Doritos paunch grows every day in inverse proportion to your threadbare dignity? Digress that shit.

I did a quick review of recent articles and quite smugly concluded that I am guilty of using only 10 – 15% of the offending words & phrases in the glossary. Although I do acknowledge that this percentage would be A LOT higher if I was intelligent enough to a) understand words that are Latin and / or have more than two syllables and b) use them correctly in a sentence. But I’m not, because when all of you kids were off at college getting an education, I was off touring the world Almost Famous style with the rock & pop stars that you had plastered all over your bedroom walls. But I digress.

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Founding member. Former writer. Still loves Autostraddle with her whole heart.

Crystal has written 320 articles for us.


  1. haha pretty genius. seriously crystal, you have got to stop using ‘zeno of citium’ which i can honestly say i have never read ever in any kind of context.

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