If You Can't Say Anything Nice ...

Categories: This Just In
I got an angry-ish call from Javier Zenteno, brother and band mate of Norma Zenteno. Javier wasn't happy that my review of Norma's latest CD, Endulzame, was less than glowing. (Click here to read my review.) "You shouldn't have written anything if you were going to write that. Why did you do that?" was the gist of the conversation. To echo an earlier post: 'Cause that's what critics do.

Just to clarify: I think Norma Zenteno is one of the most talented songwriters in Houston. The review said that.

I think Norma Zenteno is one of the city's most well-liked performers. The review said that.

I think Endulzame is flawed. And the review said that, too.

After the jump, read about who isn't the "only good news" business. And leave us your comments!

Also, in an effort at full disclosure, I requested the CD be sent to us for review. Zenteno didn't ask us for one. Why did I ask for it? Because I was excited to hear that she was releasing something new. I'm a big fan of Norma's and I expected nothing but the best from her and from Zenteno Sound Productions. I didn't get that and I said so. Should I have glossed over the CDs faults? Ignored them? Or scrapped the review rather than say something in the least way negative?

No.

Do I understand that bands, especially local ones that are not signed to a label, find it difficult and expensive to self-release albums?

Yes.

Do I understand that bands, especially local ones, are sometimes in a rush to put something out for audiences that are constantly asking "Can I buy your CD?" and in that rush, sometimes put out a less than perfect recording and package?

Yes.

But here's the rub, if you put your name on something, like, say, oh, a CD or newspaper article, then it should represent you. It should be something that you are proud of and not something that you have to explain. Yes, Zenteno was in a rush. Yes, Zenteno was under funded. So? When somebody buys the CD they aren't going to know - or care - about that.

Endulzame wasn't perfect and I said so.

Guess what? Next time Norma puts out another CD, I'll be excited to hear it too. I'll expect the best from her and Zenteno Sound Productions on that as well. I honestly hope her next release better reflects her considerable talent and abilities.

I would love to be able to write a glowing review of her next release. But only if it deserves it.

The Houston Press CD review section is not in the "only good news" business. Wrong newspaper. Way wrong critic. - Olivia Flores Alvarez

There's a comment section right below this post. Please give us your opinion of Endulzame and our review of it. We welcome comments (and not just the positive ones).

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