I'm learning some very valuable lessons since releasing Be Bold. In addition to honest fan feedback, I've had various tracks featured on different sites and stations, and two music blogs publish reviews of the whole album. The first reviewer was stuck on waiting for acoustic folk tracks (since that's what he normally discusses and discovered the album based on my interview for "No Future"), and shredded the rest because he didn't like the other genres. The second reviewer did an excellent job of providing a mix of good and critical feedback, commenting more on the flow of the album. He greatly enjoyed the deep lyrics and versatility in style. The first reviewer hated the versatility and didn't really listen to the meaning of the lyrics. The second reviewer only disliked one song, which, ironically, is my top fan's favorite song. And his least favorite was liked by both reviewers.
Initially, I felt put off by not having 100% positive reception, but quickly realized that's life. You can put all your effort into something deeply meaningful for you, but that doesn't mean everyone else will like it. Some will, some won't. You can't please everybody. The most important aspect of music is sharing your experience. Those that find meaning in it will find you. And that makes it worth it.
So what to make of the harsh first reviewer's thoughts? The silver lining: his favorite track was my only hint of film music on the album, "Unashamed." If I can surprise a folk reviewer and have great reception for an anthemic film piece, I'll take it. As I transition my focus from singer-songwriter to film composer, I'm returning to what got me into music in the first place. To simultaneously convey and elicit emotion, to enhance the experience of life and film, and to express complex feelings with the vast array of tiny nuances or grandiose breadth that words can never express. This is the awesome power of music, and the fire of my life.