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Old 08.16.2017, 04:43 AM   #1
Genteel Death
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https://www.wsj.com/articles/what-ha...iew-1502535600
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Old 08.16.2017, 06:42 AM   #2
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Wow. That's fucked up.
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Old 08.16.2017, 12:02 PM   #3
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I hit my paywall at Wall Street Journal, and do not wish to subscribe, so would you mind going into a little more detail?

From the intro, it seems that negative music reviews have been declining since the rise for aggregators, even though the cherished and beloved negative review is still alive and well in film, restaurant, etc.

I guess 2017 is a particularly bad (er... good?) year, with nearly 800 albums reviewed and exactly ZERO "red" score reviews according to Metracritic — a statistic I can almost not even credit, considering what passes for music and how bad so fucking much of it is.
Between 2012 and 2016, 7,287 albums have been reviewed and only eight have been rated poorly enough to fall into the "red" category. I'm not sure what that means exactly.. perhaps their metric for negative reviews is flawed, or the criteria too narrow. But YIKES, what will become of the chilcren?

Anyway, way more detail would be great.
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Old 08.23.2017, 09:40 AM   #4
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I haven't read the WSJ articoe but what type of a weirdo uses metacritic for album reviews?

I guess the reason that bad reviews don't exist anymore is that they became redundant now that all new music is represented in some way or another online. I think it serves fans best to have music reviewed by people who are interested in that type of stuff and if what they say sounds intriguing you can check it out for yourself within a few seconds of reading the review. The new bad review is an indifferent review.
I'm glad the days are gone of magazines getting people who don't like a thing to review that thing. It is a waste of everyone's time.
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Old 08.23.2017, 10:01 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toilet & Bowels
I haven't read the WSJ articoe but what type of a weirdo uses metacritic for album reviews?

I guess the reason that bad reviews don't exist anymore is that they became redundant now that all new music is represented in some way or another online. I think it serves fans best to have music reviewed by people who are interested in that type of stuff and if what they say sounds intriguing you can check it out for yourself within a few seconds of reading the review. The new bad review is an indifferent review.
I'm glad the days are gone of magazines getting people who don't like a thing to review that thing. It is a waste of everyone's time.

Fairly good point actually.

Also, the Metacritic scoring methods are a bit weird. The only albums that get an overall red score are the albums where the weighted average is less than 39. That's really low... 39 out of 100. That's waaaayyy below an F by academic standards, and not even bad review factories like Pitchfork kick out many 3.-something reviews. Usually a 4 or a 5 is enough of a sign that they don't like the thing.

And Metacritic "assign(s) more importance, or weight, to some critics and publications than others, based on their quality and overall stature." That's the official line from the website. Now, what the fuck does that mean, exactly? In order to truly establish a aggregate score, the ratings have to be equally weighted. And if a publication is considered to be of high enough "quality" to be used in the metascore, then all that publications critics should be given the same weight. But they're saying they weigh individual critics differently, which is strange.

Oh well. It doesn't matter. Basically, an album can have shit reviews all around the board, nothing but 5/10 or 2.5/5 or whatever, and still be considers "good" based on the criteria of both this article and Metacritic. Which is bulshit of course. Indeed, if EVERY review is a 5/10, (not that that would ever happen), the aggregate would (without weighted averages) be 50, and that undeniable failure of an album would still not be bad enough to be considered "bad" by the authors/aggregators. That's ridiculous.
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Old 08.23.2017, 02:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toilet & Bowels
I haven't read the WSJ articoe but what type of a weirdo uses metacritic for album reviews?

I guess the reason that bad reviews don't exist anymore is that they became redundant now that all new music is represented in some way or another online. I think it serves fans best to have music reviewed by people who are interested in that type of stuff and if what they say sounds intriguing you can check it out for yourself within a few seconds of reading the review. The new bad review is an indifferent review.
I'm glad the days are gone of magazines getting people who don't like a thing to review that thing. It is a waste of everyone's time.

On the other hand, I do think it can be constructive when someone who is actually steeped in knowledge or is a particularly big fan of a certain artist or group does a thoughtful review mentioning that for whatever reason the newest release isn't quite up to standard or is a significant departure. Negative reviews can be funny, but I'd rather find out about what is worth my time rather than what isn't.
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Old 08.24.2017, 01:29 AM   #7
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Yeah negative reviews can be funny, but often aren't. Agree with yr first point though.
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Old 08.30.2017, 09:34 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toilet & Bowels
Yeah negative reviews can be funny, but often aren't. Agree with yr first point though.

When they try really hard to be funny — when funny is the goal — oh my god. It's almost certainly going to be awful. I can just see the 22-year-old sitting at his computer, nodding and rubbing his beard at how wittily he is destroying this or that piece of music, and it's a sad thought.

When the humor is incidental, I think it's more likely to work. When it's a masturbatory attempt to make fun of an artist or their music, it's usually shit, and it's usually not helpful.

Savage Clone said it can be constructive, or informative or whatever, when someone familiar with a certain artist — a fan — explains why a recording didn't work for them, and I think that's accurate and very well put. In those instances, a negative review can be a positive thing, like a well-meaning critique, or notes on a friend's one-man play.

Generally, I think reviews of the first songs by new artists should mostly just be informative. This is what it sounds like, these are the stylistic components, etc. because that early on, one doesn't have enough context about an artist to start praising or calling it shit.
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Old 09.01.2017, 11:09 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toilet & Bowels
I haven't read the WSJ articoe but what type of a weirdo uses metacritic for album reviews?

I guess the reason that bad reviews don't exist anymore is that they became redundant now that all new music is represented in some way or another online. I think it serves fans best to have music reviewed by people who are interested in that type of stuff and if what they say sounds intriguing you can check it out for yourself within a few seconds of reading the review. The new bad review is an indifferent review.
I'm glad the days are gone of magazines getting people who don't like a thing to review that thing. It is a waste of everyone's time.

Basically this. I'm really glad to see less negative reviews tbh. Always thought a music review was much more interesting if you consider it as a way to describe a way you can get into a record, explaining some codes/keys, rather than just stating something is good or bad
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Old 09.02.2017, 10:25 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by SYRFox
Basically this. I'm really glad to see less negative reviews tbh. Always thought a music review was much more interesting if you consider it as a way to describe a way you can get into a record, explaining some codes/keys, rather than just stating something is good or bad

I don't know if there's any systematic way to really review music "well." It's been bugging me forever.
To score or not to score? To provide a recommendation, or simply describe and detail? I really don't know what's best, but I think that even though numerical values tend to lead to more skimming and less thorough reading, I think ditching them altogether would decrease readership even more. Maybe that's ok? Maybe music criticism should either die off, or take on the shape of feature writing, telling a kind of story of an album based on the tangible facts (where and how it was recorded, what the songs are called, who plays what where, etc.) -- a story fleshed out by the writer's impression of what the intention is, what the music sounds like, and so on.

I don't know. Really. When I hear an album and it blows me away, I want to read positive reviews of it. I'm human, and there's no shaking the confirmation bias. When I really hate an album (which I probably wouldn't unless it's a beloved artist going totally off the rails, or something that I dislike that's just being jammed relentlessly it into my skull by radio or whatever), I want to read about how shitty the album is. That's rarely the case though. Most albums are neither AMAZING nor so unbelievably fucking terrible that I would derive pleasure from someone cutting it to shreds. It's usually just a non-thing. Most music is just whatever.
So I have no clue what my ideal system would be, but I guess I'm glad there are positive and negative reviews, if only because I can't think of a better way to systematically evaluate music when 80% of it doesn't even warrant being evaluated.

I think it might work to have numberless reviews, but to still somehow designate some of the albums as "Notable" or "Must-hear," or whatever. I don't think a " or notable" or "must not hear" equivalent would be necessary at all.

I'm just blabbering because when I've always been interested in writing about music, but goddamn... I wouldn't actually WANT to using any of the major publications' rubrics for doing so. So it makes me wonder about what I would like to do, or see more of.
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Old 09.02.2017, 10:34 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Severian
I hit my paywall at Wall Street Journal, and do not wish to subscribe, so would you mind going into a little more detail?.

wsj is having a labor day sale: a 2-month subscription for a dollar. they will only gouge you later. yes it's a rupert murdoch outfit. but also maybe an essential newspaper for some, due to their business focus.

...

HEY! YOUR MUSIC SUCKS!
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Old 09.02.2017, 11:05 AM   #12
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so metacritic was used because it lets you look at stats very easily, and you can spot changes in trends without having to resort to claims such as "back in my day, a critic would...."

pretty well written article actually. touches on things like fan harassment of critics enabled by social media which incentivizes people to gush over garbage.

here are the last 2 paragraphs:

Stephen Thomas Erlewine, senior pop editor at TiVo and a long-time music critic, says a positive development is that critics have become more diverse and fairer to subgenres such as nu-metal that were dismissed in the past. Critics, he says, should focus on what an album means, not just whether it’s good or bad. Yet he worries that the narrowing focus on megastars—all those positive reviews, nuanced think-pieces and fun lists—is fueling a trend where pop’s 1% get more and more popular at everyone else’s expense.

“Music criticism, like journalism in general, is the first draft of history,” he says. “Without some sort of writing about what’s happening in the culture, we’re going to be poorer in the future.”
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Old 09.02.2017, 05:29 PM   #13
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Although i would have thought due to the decline of the major record labels pop's current 1% are comparatively less popular than who ever was most popular 20 or 30 years ago. Even if the focus of the mainstream is more narrow.
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Old 09.02.2017, 05:41 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Toilet & Bowels
Although i would have thought due to the decline of the major record labels pop's current 1% are comparatively less popular than who ever was most popular 20 or 30 years ago. Even if the focus of the mainstream is more narrow.

Major record labels are doing fine and own huge shares of publicly traded streaming services. They're adapting. The labels aren't going to let themselves suffer, no matter what. Artists are not as fortunate, and I think you're right that even the most popular artists are really nowhere near the level of previous generations. Taylor Swift is setting YouTube records, but she's no Pink Floyd, let alone Beatles, even in a purely dollars and cents way. She's not even an Nsync.
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Old 09.02.2017, 05:49 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by !@#$%!
so metacritic was used because it lets you look at stats very easily, and you can spot changes in trends without having to resort to claims such as "back in my day, a critic would...."

pretty well written article actually. touches on things like fan harassment of critics enabled by social media which incentivizes people to gush over garbage.

here are the last 2 paragraphs:

Stephen Thomas Erlewine, senior pop editor at TiVo and a long-time music critic, says a positive development is that critics have become more diverse and fairer to subgenres such as nu-metal that were dismissed in the past. Critics, he says, should focus on what an album means, not just whether it’s good or bad. Yet he worries that the narrowing focus on megastars—all those positive reviews, nuanced think-pieces and fun lists—is fueling a trend where pop’s 1% get more and more popular at everyone else’s expense.

“Music criticism, like journalism in general, is the first draft of history,” he says. “Without some sort of writing about what’s happening in the culture, we’re going to be poorer in the future.”

Hmm... I'm not sure about that second bit. The kind of music criticism aggregated by Metacritic (reviews using metrics) and actual music writing are different beasts entirely. Interviews and features about musicians, sure, those are at least broadly speaking, part of that historical process. That writing should be spread out, and it is. But the two-paragraph, 1-5-star reviews in rolling stone or the daily rarely-below-6, rarely-above-8/10 Pitchfork reviews? Nah. An album is reviewed along with 5-10 others and that's it... it goes away the next day, no matter how big the artist is. In fact, I think the "biggest" artists are less big than they ever have been. Kanye and Jay-Z and Taylor and Beyoncé may take up a ton of the tabloid space, but I think as a "ruling class" they're significantly less dominant than the big artists of previous generations. The review for the albums they put out once every three aren't taking up any more space than the lesser-knowns on that front. They're just likely at the top of the screen, or closest to the front page of the magazine. For that day, or for that issue, respectively.

They're also all HATED by a massive chunk of the population. So many people hate Taylor and Kanye and Jay and Bey and Kendrick and Drake and so on, it's insane. It's a weird deal.

Methinks he thininks a bit too highly of the significance of the job. It's being done by MILLIONS of people, mostly for free, and being consumed constantly by anyone with a smartphone.
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Old 09.02.2017, 07:47 PM   #16
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take it up with the author ha ha ha. want me to copypaste it here?
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Old 09.02.2017, 07:59 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by !@#$%!
take it up with the author ha ha ha. want me to copypaste it here?

No no no... thanks, but that's not necessary. Thanks for providing details though.

I just happen to think that portion is just a little... what's the word... ahh, dumb. Yes dumb.
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Old 09.20.2017, 08:22 PM   #18
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Coincidentally (at least I don't think The Wire has anything to do with the goddamn Wall Street Journal )...

https://www.thewire.co.uk/in-writing...gative-reviews

ETA: This article works as part of a dialogue of sorts with the WSJ and Quietus pieces, both of which are mentioned.
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Old 09.20.2017, 09:45 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by The Soup Nazi
Coincidentally (at least I don't think The Wire has anything to do with the goddamn Wall Street Journal )...

https://www.thewire.co.uk/in-writing...gative-reviews

ETA: This article works as part of a dialogue of sorts with the WSJ and Quietus pieces, both of which are mentioned.
the wall street journal is a good paper! try reading it some day

i'm not saying that i agree with its political positions but they actually still practice journalism and go gather facts and shit. their business and economics reporting is really impressive.

i got a trial subscription for labor day and they send me something like 20 newsletters per day with charts showing me the progression of rent inflation (higher than wage growth) and how at the edges of unemployment businesses are having trouble finding qualified applicants (bring more immigrants, i say) and innumerable other facts and trends that help me understand the world better in a way that no other publication does. (okay, maybe bloomberg is a match, but i don't have a subscription).

anyway, that article you posted is nice, it delves more into the aesthetic function of criticism but does not refute the wsj piece in any way, it actually deepens and reinforces and complements the original argument.

and props to the wsj for looking at actual FACTS and demonstrating a trend with verifiable evidence, which is what professionals do. their focus is business and industry so that's clearly their angle. nothing dumb about that piece or its approach to its subject.
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Old 09.21.2017, 09:45 AM   #20
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Severian kicks all y'all's assesSeverian kicks all y'all's assesSeverian kicks all y'all's assesSeverian kicks all y'all's assesSeverian kicks all y'all's assesSeverian kicks all y'all's assesSeverian kicks all y'all's assesSeverian kicks all y'all's assesSeverian kicks all y'all's assesSeverian kicks all y'all's assesSeverian kicks all y'all's asses
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Soup Nazi
Coincidentally (at least I don't think The Wire has anything to do with the goddamn Wall Street Journal )...

https://www.thewire.co.uk/in-writing...gative-reviews

ETA: This article works as part of a dialogue of sorts with the WSJ and Quietus pieces, both of which are mentioned.

Wow... this is a FAR more interesting read than the WSJ article (which I finally read, btw). It’s also a shitload more fun (and article that finds a way to wedge in “I Killed Christgau With My Big Fuckin’ Dick” is a-ok by me).

Thanks for sharing!
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