The reference to the "current malady of atmospherics trumping melody" is an interesting one, not because the trend it identifies doesn't exist, but because it is identified normatively, as a "malady." I too tend to prefer strong melodies to sonic textures, but this is purely a personal preference. In any given song, atmospherics could be just as valid an achievement as melodic innovation. I wonder if Maura is allowing a sort of pop-ism to influence her thinking on this album: where the baseline for evaluating music becomes the pop tropes of strong hooks and melodies, and other possible features are inherently less worthwhile. Since popism (or poptimism) has become the dominant critical stance amongst the critical cognoscenti over the past decade, it seems possible that it has calcified into the new rockism.