Keeping the Beat with Dominic Trabosci


Photo courtesy of Dominic Trabosci.

Dominic Trabosci ‘22 has been writing knock-out music reviews with The Comenian since the beginning of 2020. Through his hard work and passion for music and writing, Trabosci was awarded an honorable mention in PA News Association 2021 Student Keystone Media Awards under the review category for his review of The Neighborhood’s album “Chip Chrome & The Mono-Tones”. 

To find out more about our honoree, we asked him a few questions about his writing process and his thoughts on his work.

What made you decide to begin writing music/ album reviews and when did you begin writing your reviews?

I began writing my music reviews towards the end of 2020, almost immediately after joining The Comenian. It really came from a place of love and appreciation for the art. My two biggest passions in life are writing and music, and the reviews have allowed me to combine these two things that I love. Not only that, but I’m a fan of music reviews and having discussions with people about the intricacies of music. The reviews helped give me a platform to participate in these conversations. I could probably talk about music forever. 

It’s also really interesting to me that many people I know can’t explain exactly why they think a piece of music is good or why another piece of music is bad. I want these reviews to encourage people to critically examine their own music tastes and interact with the art they consume at a deeper level. I believe that an art form as complex as music begs for deep analysis.

What criteria do you use to determine if a piece of music is good or bad?

Some of the key things I look for in a good piece of music are originality, memorability, character, and the ability to elicit some sort of emotion in the listener. On a more logistical side, I also look for competent production and mixing as well as solid lyricism. The criteria I judge an album on may change from genre to genre as well. For instance, if I review a rap album, I’m expecting some sort of variation in the rapper’s flow or cadence throughout the album, among many other things. I’m less concerned about vocal cadence in genres where that’s less of a focus. 

The worst thing a piece of music can be is dull. Even if a piece of music conforms to a certain genre or sound, as long as there is a clear sense of character or passion from the artist, you’ll probably hook me. I’m not crazy difficult to please when it comes to music.

How do you determine which albums you’re going to review each refresh?

Honestly, it’s whatever pops up on my radar or whatever I’m most interested in listening to for that stretch of time. I’ve been trying my hardest to strike a balance between many different genres and different levels of popularity among artists so that not all of my reviews are of pop albums or mainstream celebrities. Usually, I have to be at least interested in listening to the album to review it. For instance, I’ll probably never force myself to review a Justin Bieber album because, and I’m aware everyone loves to hate him, I’m utterly uninterested in his music. I would never subject myself to that, especially since I spend a lot of time with an album before the review goes public.

How do you respond to positive/negative reactions to your reviews? 

Truth be told, I’ve gotten almost no negative reactions to any of my reviews. I’ve had respectful disagreements, but I’ve gotten almost nothing but immense support from friends, family, peers, teachers, etc. I’m extremely grateful when people take the time to read my reviews. The best compliment I could ever receive is someone disagreeing with me but completely understanding where I’m coming from. It makes me happy when people listen along to the album as they read my review or walk away with some new music in their life. If I ever get a scathing comment, I don’t foresee it bothering me because, after all, these are all just my opinion and people can disagree with me.

Would reviewing music be something you’d be interested in pursuing in the future?

Absolutely. The only thing I’m worried about is how the world would view me if that were my job. Critics of any kind get a bad reputation for making a living off of picking apart art that they didn’t create. However, I think the role of the critic is useful in pushing art forward and keeping innovation at the forefront of music. Whatever career I end up in, I hope it involves one or both of my passions.