Hajj, Srinath review albums via Instagram account

Deepali Yedulapuram, Features Editor

For five years now, music has held a substantial role in Ramiz Hajj’s (12) life, starting in his eighth-grade year as he began to discover music. 

It was during his junior year, however, that Hajj broadened his music preferences and thought deeper of the music he listened to. He began rating albums he often listened to in one of his spiral notebooks. But pages in his notebook began to quickly fill up, so Hajj had the idea to transfer it all onto a larger, more public space, like Instagram. Thus, his first music review account, @raptalks_, was formed. Here, Hajj was able to publish his reviews.

“I started the account for fun and also to be able to put my opinions up for my friends to see so that we could be able to discuss them,” Hajj said. 

However, as Hajj became busier, he wasn’t able to dedicate enough time to his account. Because it was independently run, he didn’t have anyone to hold him accountable, so the account became inactive. 

But during these past couple of weeks, Sidharth Srinath (12), one of Hajj’s friends, had the idea to start up a music reviewing account, but this time, to collaborate on ratings with Hajj and conduct more in-depth reviews. 

“During this break, I found that I was listening to a lot more music and a wider variety of it,” Srinath said. “So I decided to bring up the idea of an album review account and it took off pretty fast.”

Hajj and Srinath decided to start off their reviews on @ronareviews_ with some of their favorite albums, ranging from Guns N’ Roses’ “Appetite For Destruction” and Blue Öyster Cult’s “Fire of Unknown Origin” to Travis Scott’s “Astroworld.”

“As it goes on, I intend to branch out and listen to more albums through suggestions and personal discovery,” Srinath said. “But, I usually don’t review albums I wouldn’t want to listen to.”

To review each album, Hajj and Srinath first rate each song on a scale of 1-10 by focusing on different aspects of the song, accounting for lyrics, vocal performance, instrumentals, and the song’s importance in the artist’s discography.

“I include other traits such as popularity, influence, and overall originality of the album,” Hajj said. “I also take into account the thematic cohesiveness of the album, meaning how well the songs go together and tell a story.” 

Srinath said that he also assesses each album based on the overall impact it has.

“I keep in mind that every album is not trying to sound nice and flowery for a mainstream audience, so I judge it based on what it’s trying to accomplish and if it does it,” Srinath said. “Most of all, however, I am not being objective with these reviews: these are based on personal enjoyment.”

Accompanying each rate of the album, which is based on the average of the scores for each individual song, is a short review highlighting notable features of the album and how they relate to the artist.

Despite occasionally disagreeing with each other’s review when discussing an album, Hajj said that having discussions about the music is what makes running an account like this enjoyable.

“When we collaborate on an album review, we almost always have differing opinions,” Hajj said. “To us, that’s what makes it fun because it allows us to debate and give our arguments to vouch for our opinions on the album. We tend to disagree a lot, but we keep open minds to one another’s views, which is what often makes our collaborated reviews more detailed.”

Having an account that is heavily based on opinion also helps to keep reviewing albums entertaining for Srinath and Hajj.

“My favorite part is that it lets me open up a platform for discussion with people I wouldn’t have talked to otherwise,” Srinath said. “In the future, I’d like to be able to take requests from people and review [more] albums.”