David Kirkpatrick

March 15, 2008

Music reviews

Filed under: Arts, et.al., Media — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:44 pm

I completely understand what bullshit record reviewing is because long ago I reviewed records for Detour magazine under the non de plume of MC EZ2ME. Many times I would be given a very large stack of LPs and cassettes (all my reviewing was done just on the cusp of the CD revolution) and I’d give each one about eight seconds of song one to determine if it would make the cut of the two or three reviews I’d do for that issue.

I’ve always had a very jaundiced eye toward any half-assed criticism since then. Of course, at least I listened to the music I reviewed

 From the link:

Some months ago, in questioning arbitration-type criticism, I asked, rhetorically: [W]hat’s the value of the 250-word [album] review when samples of the music are available everywhere, for free?

It is now clear, if it wasn’t before, that that type of criticism is officially dead, or at least hopelessly corrupt:

How is it that a magazine can review an entire album–and assign a star rating to it–without actually hearing the album?

Case in point: the “review” of Warpaint–the new album by THE BLACK CROWES–in the March issue of Maxim magazine.  The writer–who has not heard the album since advance CDs were not made available–wrote what appears to be a disparaging assessment anyway, citing “it hasn’t left Chris Robinson and the gang much room for growth.”

Incredulously [sic], the magazine gave the album a two and a half star rating–although neither the writer nor the editor could have heard more than one song (the single “Goodbye Daughters of the Revolution”).

When approached for an explanation, the magazine described the review as “an educated guess preview.”  Huh?

It seems Maxim is fairly equal opportunity, genre-wise:

Then, there’s this:

RAPPER Nas was shocked when Maxim gave his new album, “N – – – – r,” a 21/2-star review – because it isn’t even finished yet. “I’m finishing the album now, and it will be out April 22,” Nas told Page Six. Maxim has since apologized for the premature review, but Nas doesn’t care. “I’d prefer [a review from] Playboy,” the rapper said. “That kind of stuff doesn’t reach my radar or effect anybody around me. I don’t know what a music rating from Maxim is . . . I don’t know what it even means really.” Maxim also reviewed the Black Crowes’ album, “War Paint,” without listening to it in its entirety.

Again, it’s entirely possible that the reviewer was privy to some leaked working Nas tracks, but this is getting ridiculous.**

(Hat tip — the Daily Dish)

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