->''"Talking about music is like dancing about architecture."''

[[ReviewerStockPhrases Coming up with reviews can be hard]] when you have to deal with deadlines and multiple works to review, but music reviewers have it harder. Video game reviewers can talk about controls and graphics, film critics go on and on about acting and plot and whatnot, but how the hell do you describe music?

One way to get around the problem is to compare or contrast the work in question to other artists or albums. In itself, this trope [[TropesAreNotBad is not bad]] since it can provide an easy reference for a band's SignatureStyle, kind of like how PowerPop = Music/TheBeatles [[XMeetsY plus]] Music/TheWho. However, done excessively it can get annoying (like, say, featuring the exact same comparison in every single review of albums released by a particular band), and it can also backfire if it's WrongGenreSavvy: comparing something to an obscure Japanese noise band will fly over the heads of most mainstream listeners.

A SubTrope of ReviewerStockPhrases.
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!!Examples of comparisons to artists or albums and what they mean:
* Music/TheBeatles: Depending on what period of their career the reviewer is talking about, it can either mean that the band in question makes catchy pop-rock SillyLoveSongs with lots of vocal harmonies, is a full-blown PsychedelicRock band or is an eclectic but pretty straight-forward rock band.
** ''A Hard Day's Night'': Aforementioned catchy pop-rock SillyLoveSongs with vocal harmonies.
** ''Revolver'', ''Sgt. Pepper'': PsychedelicRock {{Concept Album}}s.
** ''Music/TheWhiteAlbum'': Probably ''the'' most standard reference you can get. It refers to a really eclectic album that experiments with lots of genres, has lots of throwaway, humorous stuff and an overall "disjointed" character. Will frequently draw huge arguments over which songs should have been left off or comments that "it would be a better album if it was just edited/a single album".
** ''Abbey Road'': a glossy GrandFinale production where a decaying band pulls itself together for one last effort that is worthy of their talents.
* Speaking of Music/TheBeatles, Music/GeorgeHarrison's triple-album ''All Things Must Pass'' is pretty much shorthand for "first two discs are awesome, but the third part is complete shit and nobody ever listens to it".
* Music/TheBeachBoys' ''Pet Sounds'': baroque pop album bordering on psychedelia, intricate orchestration, cool production, massive harmonies. Key difference from ''Sgt. Pepper'' is that ''Pet Sounds'' implies a more sedate pop sound as opposed to trippy rocking out.
* Music/BeastieBoys, Music/DJShadow or Music/PublicEnemy: {{Sampling}} done ''right''.
** As a corollary, Puff Daddy: {{Sampling}} GoneHorriblyWrong.
* Music/BigStar or Music/CheapTrick: They're a PowerPop band.
** Music/{{XTC}}, Badfinger or The Raspberries are also used for comparison.
* Music/FrankZappa: {{Crazy Awesome}}ness, heavily experimental tunes with avant-garde leanings, complicated compositions, aversion of CommonTime, quirky, RefugeInAudacity or VulgarHumor.
* Music/GunsNRoses: A frequent shorthand for "this band used to be all awesome and threatening but [[ItsPopularNowItSucks they sold out]] and became mainstream", since that's what lots of critics thought happened to GN'R after ''Appetite for Destruction''.
** ''Use Your Illusion I & II'': A classic example of the "difficult second album" where the band totally runs wild in the studio, overproduces everything and comes out with a messy, disjointed, over-reaching work that could have used more editing (see ''White Album'').
* Music/JoyDivision: PostPunk revival band. Doesn't help that many PostPunk revivalists have vocalists that sound like Ian Curtis (or, as SomethingAwful less charitably put it, "throat-raping Ian Curtis' corpse").
* Music/MyBloodyValentine: {{Shoegazing}} bands, inevitably. Hell, differentiating between {{Shoegazing}} bands is basically a matter of "They're ''like'' Music/MyBloodyValentine ''but'' (insert difference here)".
* Any PostRock band that is not Mogwai, Music/GodspeedYouBlackEmperor, Music/ExplosionsInTheSky, or Music/SigurRos will inevitably be compared to at least one of those. This is especially frustrating for bands such as God Is An Astronaut, who claim in interviews to have never been influenced by ''any'' of them. Even side-projects of the above artists are not immune to these comparisons. Case in point: GodspeedYouBlackEmperor vs. Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra.
* Any double album will either attract comparisons to classic double albums like Music/PinkFloyd's ''Music/TheWall'', Music/LedZeppelin's ''Physical Graffiti'', Music/TheBeatles' ''Music/TheWhiteAlbum'' or Music/{{Prince}}'s ''Sign o' the Times'' or will cause arguments that it's too long and would've been better with some songs thrown out/as a single album - double albums will inevitably be seen as either a "grand artistic statement" or "self-indulgent noodling". Double albums frequently tend to feature lots of [[NeoclassicalPunkZydecoRockabilly genre experimentation]] and sprawling - in fact, "sprawl" in a pretty frequent term when it comes to describing double albums.
** Speaking of Music/PinkFloyd, ''Dark Side of the Moon'' is reviewerspeak for "ConceptAlbum with excellent production and progressive tendencies".
* Good ProgressiveRock will get compared to Music/PinkFloyd, Music/{{Yes}} or Music/KingCrimson. Music/{{Rush}} may show up occasionally if the reviewer's nerdy enough. Bad ProgressiveRock and long, drawn-out, endless wankery albums will inevitably get compared to Yes' famous disaster ''Tales from Topographic Oceans''.
* Any female musician with a penchant for weirdness will at some point get compared to Music/KateBush or Music/ToriAmos (''especially'' if she's a singer-songwriter or piano player).
** And as a corollary, any female pop/electro singer who wears outfits at all flamboyant will be compared to Music/{{Bjork}}.
*** Not so much anymore. The new standard of comparison is Music/LadyGaga, fortunately or unfortunately.
* Music/{{U2}}: Big echoey guitars, ambient-ish production, strident {{Anvilicious}} sociopolitical lyrics, LargeHam vocals.
* During the late 90's / early 2000's, many European reviewers insisted on comparing new UK bands to Music/{{Radiohead}}. Unfortunately, it [[Music/{{Coldplay}} was]] [[{{Music/Muse}} often]] (in the case of [=Travis=] true.)
* Any progressive metal band, at all, will be called "Like Music/DreamTheater, but..."
* Music/TheRamones = moronically simple, catchy PopPunk.
* PunkRock band? Get ready for a shitton of comparisons to Music/TheSexPistols, Music/TheClash and so on...
* Music/{{Metallica}}'s ''Master of Puppets'' and ''...And Justice for All'' are often used as a standard for comparing more thoughtful, mature, hard rock and heavy metal albums.
* Any {{Grunge}} will be compared to either Music/{{Nirvana}}, Music/PearlJam or Music/{{Soundgarden}}.
* Any G-Funk will be compared to Dr. Dre's ''The Chronic''.
* Indie pop bands will tend to get compared to Music/{{Oasis}}, Music/{{Blur}}, Music/BelleAndSebastian, or Music/DeathCabForCutie.
* Any person of Slavic descent who writes a book with at least one funny sentence in it will be compared to [[Creator/NikolaiGogol Gogol]]. [[Creator/VladimirNabokov Nabokov]]? Gogol. Gary Shteyngart? Gogol. See also any book featuring a protagonist under 40 who's not perfectly content with society and his place in it. The author will inevitably be compared to Salinger.
* Music/{{Burzum}} = technically simple, repetitive ambient black metal. Or indeed any kind of ambient black metal, really.
* It's common to compare any female R&B singer to Music/{{Beyonce}} or maybe Music/{{Rihanna}} now. Before they came out, they were compared to Music/JanetJackson.
* Jam Bands tend to draw comparisons to the Music/TheGratefulDead or Music/{{Phish}}.
* Piano-playing singer-songwriters often get compared with Music/BillyJoel, Music/EltonJohn, Joe Jackson, Music/RandyNewman or Music/CaroleKing. More modern ones are compared with Music/ToriAmos, Music/BenFolds or (maybe) Music/VanessaCarlton.
** Acoustic guitar-playing singer-songwriters tend to be compared with James Taylor, Music/JoniMitchell, Cat Stevens or Music/JimCroce.
* "Neotraditionalist" country will generally be compared to Music/AlanJackson and/or Music/GeorgeStrait. Basically, meat-and-potatoes, "real" country with ThreeChordsAndTheTruth, a honky-tonk beat, and fiddle and steel aplenty. If the review skews older, than Music/MerleHaggard and Music/GeorgeJones are the go-to comparisons for similar sounds.
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