Ever since the advent of Rotten Tomatoes, everyone thinks they’re a movie critic. I’m here to tell you that no, they’re not. They’re not Pauline Kael. They’re barely even Gene Shalit.

This maxim now extends to music criticism. Everyone thinks they’re Lester Bangs, or David Fricke, or whoever. Again, they’re not, and a 10-year-old could do their job.

With that in mind, I have enlisted my son, an actual 10-year-old, to do music reviews.

In fairness, he is a big music fan, does well in his music classes in school, has always had a good singing voice ever since he was little, and he even knows the difference between Ozzy Osbourne and Alice Cooper. Kudos to him! Apart from that, he mostly likes stuff that’s popular today, like Olly Murs, Alan Walker and Nicki Minaj.

I decided that with that kind of musical taste, there was no better album to have him review than the 1970 self-titled debut of British prog rockers Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

My personal opinion is that it’s nearly unlistenable, and I cannot believe that anyone can sit through all 41 minutes of it in a row without the aid of hard drugs. More amazing to me is that it was a huge commercial success. It stayed in the top 10 upon its release and stayed there for the next month, went gold, and laid the groundwork for the group to become one of the most popular in the world. I cannot understand this, but perhaps the next generation can.

In an ongoing feature, The Z Review will outsource the occasional review to my son, much as iPhone construction is outsourced to child labor. Having said that, please find great illumination in my 10-year-old son’s review of Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

TZR: What does this music remind you of?

RB: It reminds me of how boring My Dinner With André was.

TZR: What do you think about the fact that this band was once as popular as Taylor Swift is today?

RB: When you say that, I think that’s a lie, but it’s not, so that’s just crazy. How were they even popular? That’s crazy. How were they popular? It’s horrible. That music is horrible.

TZR: If you had to give this album a name, what would it be?

RB: Our Songs Are Bad and We’re Terrible at Singing, or Crappy Songs Galore.

TZR: Would you be interested in learning how to play this music?

RB: No, because it’s completely crappy and no one should ever listen to it.

TZR: If you were on a desert island with this record and nothing else, what would you do?

RB: I would probably throw it into the ocean and pee all over it. That’s how much I hate it.

About Author

Daniel Bukszpan is a freelance writer with over 20 years' experience. He has written for such publications as Fortune, CNBC and The Daily Beast. He is the author of “The Encyclopedia of Heavy Metal,” published in 2003 by Barnes and Noble and “The Encyclopedia of New Wave,” published in 2012 by Sterling Publishing.


  1. Finally…someone (your son) is being honest, which is – let’s face it – a rarity these days. Ask him to review Captain Beefheart’s “Trout Mask Replica” next, or even Alice Cooper’s “Dada”. Well done!

  2. Timothy Tobish on


    I had no idea that you shared my complete horror and disgust of all things Extremely Long and Boring. And it’s generational.

    Friends don’t let friends listen to ELP.

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