I'll bet a lot of our readers know this feeling. You labor over a recording, working so hard, and eventually the music gets released into the world. You feel proud knowing something good has been accomplished. And then it starts - the "reviews" trickle in. It may begin with an offhand comment by a friend ("Oh, it was interesting, but it just didn't grab me."), or some anonymous post online ("Who really needs their new album?"). Next comes the local or regional reviews where the writer makes odd assumptions about the style of music you are presenting ("We're a ska/metal/polka/surf band?"), or dumps on it because it doesn't sound like some album that has sold millions ("This is certainly no Hotel California."). Down the line, bigger magazines and websites might weigh in ("Pitchfork only gave us 1.3? Why? Did we piss someone off?").
You've all spent days, weeks, and maybe even months getting the recordings to sound how you wanted them. Relationships between all involved have grown. Everyone is focused on making this album, or release, as good as it can be. But then, at the end of this intimate process, someone may listen once (hopefully they even listen) and pass judgment quicker than it might have taken to record a single keyboard overdub. You know what? Screw the critics. Believe in what you do. And trust your love of music and the desire to create.