Should an album review justify its rating? Or vice versa?

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Reading Xgau's review of "Original Pirate Material" got me thinking.

He gives The Streets an A-, yet is quite backhanded in his praise. Indeed, quality points to the album are barely evident as he prods its weaknesses with much more gusto. He calls out "Original Pirate Material" on basically everything I disdain about it, in fact. Reading his review, I can't really figure out why he gives it an A-; he essentially is an advocate of the album with almost no justification.

This is not meant to be an encompassing criticism of Xgau but more an observation of a common occurance in music reviews.

I can't decide if this bugs me or not.

Don Weiner, Thursday, 16 January 2003 14:45 (sixteen years ago) link

I've never trusted his rating system myself.

Lord Custos Omega (Lord Custos Omega), Thursday, 16 January 2003 14:47 (sixteen years ago) link

Was the review wrtitten after the album was released, and had been drooled over by all critics? That might change the context of the review a tad.

"This album is so good, it deserves an A-"

becomes

"This album is good, but it's only an A-"

weasel diesel (K1l14n), Thursday, 16 January 2003 14:49 (sixteen years ago) link

This review is in the current village voice

and yes, it comes after the mountain of effusive critical praise.

And back to the subject--this isn't about Xgau any more than it's about any other writer.

Dandy Don Weiner, Thursday, 16 January 2003 16:06 (sixteen years ago) link

i'd give OPM nothing more than a B+ myself, heh

sounds like the reviewer was being almost 'apologetic' about his rating...like they knew they had to try hard to justify it by showing they'd thought about the flaws and negative points about the album

stevem (blueski), Thursday, 16 January 2003 16:10 (sixteen years ago) link

At best, ratings are inane. At worst, they're a crutch for the reviewer so they don't have to figure out how to actually express their opinion accurately. And who the hell cares whether it's an A- or B+ to Christgau? That doesn't tell me what it is to me.

(It's a D.)

ara, Thursday, 16 January 2003 22:24 (sixteen years ago) link


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