Best and worst album reviews on Allmusic

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Spin off from the pitchforkmedia thread. What album reviews do people like and dislike on allmusic?

I tend to really like allmusic reviews because of how agenda free they appear. By that I mean that the reviewer isn't trying to score points against the reader - and there is rarely a feeling of somebody having to knock out 200 words on something they don't care about.

I have mixed feelings about Craig Armstrong's recent 'As if to Nothing' album so its not that I object to the critisism or even disagree with comments like "over reliance of dreary, overly processed string motifs" - its just thet make pretty crap reading in the context of Allmusic. I could maybe see the point if doling out such opinions as advice to a young band but it is useless as an allmusic review.

And you can express opinions withough making them sound like hectoring - the Allmusic review of the Detroit Cobra's Life Love and Leaving is a great piece of writing.

Alexander Blair, Wednesday, 8 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I was looking at the newest edition of the Allmusic Guide to Rock and noticed how the 5-star reviews have multiplied like dandelions. Am I hallucinating this? Has Allmusic's "bell curve" been tilted towards optimistic over-praise. Or is it just because I've only been focussing too much attention on reviews for "acknowledged Canonical classics" that Allmusic dare not dis?
It seems like the new Allmusic Guide to Rock is implying that 1 out of every 4 albums made qualify as a "perfect, unimpeachable classic."

Lord Custos 2.0 beta, Wednesday, 8 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Unfortunately, the publisher couldn't make the little half-star mabobs, so up to five they went. Five-star albums are regarded as the top of the genre.

Andy K, Wednesday, 8 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Wouldn't it have been more convenient (to the readers AND the writers) to allow half and quarter star ratings. And possibly dual ratings: one a rating for how good the album is within the context of its genre, and another an "Absolute" measure of goodness that IS NOT connected to "historical importance"; relative merit within its genre or how many times the band members have come over and given blowjobs to the Publisher?
If I recall correctly, Ned Raggett once groused rather darkly about how one person writes the review and another puts the star rating on the review. Hence, a reviewer can write a review that pisses on a specific album from a great height...and it still gets 4 stars.

Lord Custos 2.0 beta, Wednesday, 8 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

If I recall correctly, Ned Raggett once groused rather darkly about how one person writes the review and another puts the star rating on the review. Hence, a reviewer can write a review that pisses on a specific album from a great height...and it still gets 4 stars.

I don't recall Ned's comment being that drastic, though I'm sure he'll straighten out the issue at some point here. It's not as if there's a complete lack of correlation between the reviewer's view and the editor's view as it relates to ratings ("This review looks like a five-star review, but I'll give it one 'cause I think it sucks," etc). Freelancers do include ratings with their reviews. In most cases, the suggested rating is used. However, we occasionally have newly-written reviews override old ones that have different viewpoints and the need for a rating change isn't addressed in a timely fashion.

Andy K, Wednesday, 8 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Wouldn't it have been more convenient (to the readers AND the writers) to allow half and quarter star ratings.
Well, as Andy says above, the lack of the half star is a print publishing issue, not an allmusic.com issue...there's only one star rating that doesn't have a half star, due to some obscurity in the process (I think it was three and a half, if memory serves). As reviewers, we can give something a half-star rating (more or less, there's a conversion involved, but we can pick the rating that translates to the half star). As for the quarter star, I don't really see what that would serve in the grand scheme of things besides making things even more complex--what's the REAL difference between 4 stars and 4 and 1/4, when it comes right down to it? If you're going to start cutting things that fine then we'd probably all be better served with a percentage score, and then you have to really start quantifying why something is worth one percent instead of 2 or 3. I'm not particularly interested in going down that road. And possibly dual ratings: one a rating for how good the album is within the context of its genre, and another an "Absolute" measure of goodness that IS NOT connected to "historical importance";
Potentially a good idea but perhaps impractical, because it would have to assume that every reviewer had heard every album in the genre, or at least enough of them to still be overwhelmed. A lot of reviewers really are more specialized, and while I'm certainly a big fan of knowing as much as possible about something before making pronouncements on it, it'd probably be impractical overall. And it raises issues about "absolute"? We got into this over on GG's thread: who determines this absolute? Ned and I have very similar tastes in a lot of ways, but even we can't agree on certain things...having someone come down with an "absolute" measure of the goodness of the latest Boards of Canada album is not only near impossible, I'd say it's probably a bad idea anyhow. ...relative merit within its genre or how many times the band members have come over and given blowjobs to the Publisher?
If there's blowjobs being given out for good reviews, I'm certainly not getting them...maybe I missed that memo.

Sean Carruthers, Wednesday, 8 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Sorry for the wonky formatting there. Please assume paragraph breaks where appropriate.

Sean Carruthers, Wednesday, 8 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

It hurts me when people slag allmusic. It's music, of course it's objective and blah de blah blah, but allmusic has such an incredibly huge amount of information on a wide range of music. It's a great tool, and has certainly inspired more musical purchases by me than pitchfork or any other music site. I tend to use it more as a data resource to learn about new bands rather than relying on their opinions of the music, though.

pirateking, Wednesday, 8 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Actually, I have no greivance against the Allmusic.com site, just how the newest edition of the Allmusic Guide to Rock is so overly affectionate with passing out 5-star reviews. Next they'll have to invent a 6-star review just to clarify the one that are "really" perfect.

Lord Custos 2.0 beta, Wednesday, 8 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

It hurts me when people slag allmusic. It's music, of course it's objective

Given its very function is to judge other peoples work it seems bizarre to complain that 'it hurts' when somebody in turn judges allmusic. Its a collection of critisism, of course I can slag it. But I'm not slagging it anyway, I'm saying some parts are great and some parts are rubbish.

The star rating thing is very suspect though - the biases of individuals are often too obvious. The listing of Gong albums shows a distinct fondness for the sterile late period jazz fusion albums like 'Expresso' or 'Gazeuse!' and where the most commonly appreciated album, 'You', gets a poorish rating. Having a go at averaging multiple opinions (or even considering them) wouldn't hurt would it? The second Tindersticks album gets 4 1/2 stars, the fantasic live album which is described as 'even improve on the original album versions' gets three.

That said, there are very few out and out awful items in Allmusic, something that can't be said for pitchforkmedia which I have no use for at all. Even the clunkers or mistaken articles are usually worth reading (the review of the track 'Games Without Frontiers' misses a Eurovison metaphor or two).

Alexander Blair, Wednesday, 8 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Oh and Ned, your splendid 'Junkyard' review doesn't read like a three star review to me.

Alexander Blair, Wednesday, 8 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

"That said, there are very few out and out awful items in Allmusic, something that can't be said for pitchforkmedia which I have no use for at all."

Seems ridiculous to post these comments on ILM where many people write for Allmusic and Pitchfork. Trying to stir things up and bait people isn't cool. Oh, and there's nothing wrong with the Craig Armstrong review. I'm in complete agreement with the reviewer. You see hectoring in it? No, no way; it's all about the music, and the reviewer hit the nail on the head. It's time for Armstrong to move on. He's great when collaborating on other people's albums, but his solo albums aren't up to par. "As If To Nothing" is a truly disappointing album, and he's even admitted himself that it was a rushed affair. Listen to the song in the closing credits of Moulin Rouge and compare it to any track on "As If To Nothing". "As If To Nothing" is a flawed and dull beast.

Dean B., Wednesday, 8 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

However, we occasionally have newly-written reviews override old ones that have different viewpoints and the need for a rating change isn't addressed in a timely fashion.

This is really all I was saying with my comment Lord Custos referred to, though perhaps my phrasing was off. My rave review for Violator was stuck with a two-star ranking for some time (now since fixed); my guess is that the Junkyard review is in a similar situation.

I try to avoid assigning five-star reviews at all -- I think I've only done it five times at most (both Joy Division studio albums, I think, a few more).

I was flipping through my own copy of the new edition recently, which I bought to use as an editing tool for my older reviews (at least the ones in the book). I'm always afraid that my reviews all sound alike, but so far the variety there seems worthy.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 8 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I don't know if they're the best reviews qua reviews, but I get a kick out of the fact that Eugene Chadbourne writes for the AMG. (And about everyone from old-time banjo hero Uncle Dave Macon to Japanese turntable improvisers I.S.O.)

E.g., this, this, or this.

o. nate, Wednesday, 8 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Eugene reviewed a Bill Cosby album I had dibs on, dammit! (Mind you, the fact that I went past my deadline means I probably lost my dibs on it, but it's a matter of personal honour, dammit! Me vs. Eugene Chadbourne FITE!)

Sean Carruthers, Wednesday, 8 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I like Heather Phares' reviews. She should review more.

http://gygax.pitas.com, Wednesday, 8 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Ned of course is a great allmusic writer, as is Andy K. Probably because my tastes are so similar to theirs in a lot of ways, but... I'll often try to guess who reviewed the album I'm looking up before I actually read the review, and often I'll guess Ned, and often I'll be correct. But a lot of times, it's this "Jason Ankeney" fellow - Ned, is he your alter ego? His tastes seem nearly to completely overlap yours in a lot of areas, though his reviews are less informative. BTW, are the really short reviews leftovers from the early days of allmusic, the "get-this-database-moving we'll-take- anything" days?

Clarke B., Wednesday, 8 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I like Heather Phares' reviews. She should review more.

Heather's quite good, though she's busy fending off the freelance requests from the likes of me most of the time, I gather. ;-) Jason Ankeny's taste and mine do often overlap quite a bit, I agree!

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 8 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

BTW, are the really short reviews leftovers from the early days of allmusic, the "get-this-database-moving we'll-take- anything" days?

Pretty much. Plenty of those still exist, though I felt bad replacing one that simply said, "Play loud; peel self from wall."

Thanks for the nice words.

Andy K, Wednesday, 8 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Play loud; peel self from wall

That's one heck of a review of Cage's Silence.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 8 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I second the high praise for the work of Ned, Andy, HP and JA.

Stephen Thomas Erlewine can be frustratingly equivocal, supposedly in an effort to be evenhanded. I first noticed this a couple of years ago on some new, high profile albums where he'd spend a page cutting them down, and another page defending them. His but-to-sentence ratio gives me a headache.

Curt, Wednesday, 8 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Once again I'd like to give it up for Sean Cooper. His reviews of A- Musik/Thrill Jockey/Mego/Mille Plateaux stuff are excellent.

Mark, Wednesday, 8 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Some examples of Stephen Thomas Erlewine's "but"-trumpeting: Tom Waits - Mule Variations, Chris Cornell - Euphoria Morning, and Elastica - The Menace.

Curt, Wednesday, 8 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I know which one is my favourite. Ahem. But only three stars? C'mon!

electric sound of jim, Wednesday, 8 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

By the way, Jim, the photo of your album cover there was scanned by someone who also was supposed to review said album for allmusic but got aced out, so turned around and put the album to SOME use, besides enjoyment.

Sean Carruthers, Wednesday, 8 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

If anyone could translate this one into English for me, I'd really appreciate it. Thanks!

Jimmy Guy, Wednesday, 8 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Nearly choked on a sandwich I was eating when I read this line from Erlewine's review of the All Saints album:

(their take on "Under the Bridge" eclipses the Red Hot Chili Peppers', boasting a better arrangement and more convincing vocals)

Edward Pierce, Thursday, 9 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Nick, why the hell do you, an otherwise intelligent person, think taste in music is objective? You've said this now on at least two boards and no one's called you on it. Well here it is: you're wrong.

charlie va, Thursday, 9 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

But only three stars? C'mon!

Can't remember what exact ranking I gave it, actually.

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 9 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Wouldn't that have been THREE STARS? ;)

Sean Carruthers, Thursday, 9 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

what's not english about "Piano vibes are pinch-hitting and Kerr's songwriting thrives on celebrity and the falling grace that coincides that."

g, Thursday, 9 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

personally I still have BIG PROBLEMS with this one< /a>...

g, Thursday, 9 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

oops, well the link works anyway

g, Thursday, 9 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Patience, g! I reckon it's gonna be a while before Ned makes it to that part of the alphabet.

Andy K, Thursday, 9 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Wouldn't that have been THREE STARS? ;)

But I can't recall if I gave it three stars or not!

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 9 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I reckon it's gonna be a while before Ned makes it to that part of the alphabet.

At present I am deep in the M section of my archive. I'll get along to that when I can.

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 9 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Charlie - Oddly, I asked myself this same question yesterday, and realized that I don't think music is objective. In fact, it's subjective, and my opinion is always the correct one. People took my statement in this thread a little more seriously than I meant. I was hoping the "blah blah blah" part would show that I was trying to derail the inevitable (or what I imagined as inevitable) "but music is objective, so reviewing music is pointless" argument from others. I will admit I've used this argument myself in the past, but I don't think I really believe it. It's just a cop-out. Sorry.

pirateking, Thursday, 9 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

one year passes...
this is the worst

Les Savy Fav - emoR

It's been written that Les Savy Fav is the one band that is going to save rock & roll. These expectations may be a little overboard, but Rome (Written Upside Down) still provides a energetic slab of hyper post-punk. Stretching from the bass-driven sing-a-long romps of "I.C. Timer" and "Hide Me From Next February" to the robotic paced title track, Les Savy Fav's originally might not be able save a particular genre, but it'll inspire a generation of bands to experiment out of the standard rock structure. — Mike DaRonco

cutty (mcutt), Wednesday, 14 April 2004 13:43 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

six months pass...
Has anyone seen the Souvlaki review? It's weird.

Leeeter van den Hoogenband (Leee), Friday, 15 October 2004 01:14 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

In case the muckity mucks change things:

Review by
EMI finally releases the sophomore Souvlaki, our #5 pick last issue on import, a full eight months after its English release (the bastards), with 3/4 of the more recent import EP 5 ("In Mind") tacked on the end (strangely, the featured track, "In Mind," is missing here), plus one unreleased (anywhere) track, a memorable, spacy run through NANCY SINATRA's "Some Velvet Morning." Here's some quotes from our import Souvlaki review in issue 34: "Though not as big and swirling as Just for a Day, there's more of an attempt to put advanced song structure and melody in place rather than just craft infinitely appealing, occasionally thunderous mood music. Everything is simplified, as if BRIAN ENO's presence on two songs - he contributes keyboards and treatments and co-wrote one tune after turning down the band's invitation to produce - hammered home the better aspects of "ambient" music. This is no Music for Airports though. On the opening "Alison," the largely uplifting "When the Sun Hits," and the darkly blissful "Machine Gun," Slowdive are still capable of mouth-opening, spine-tingling flourishes. They've found a way to be quiet, moving, and aggressive simultaneously, mixing trance-like beauty with the deepest delayed guitar sounds around, a sound at once relaxing, soothing, and exciting, and most of all harshly beautiful." Don't miss it at the cheaper domestic release price! Note: Singer RACHEL GOSWELL told Alternative Press that the Souvlaki title comes from a JERKY BOYS prank phone call, from "you can suck my cock like Souvlaki." They're certainly not as innocent as their music!

Leeeter van den Hoogenband (Leee), Friday, 15 October 2004 01:15 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Hm, not credited. Strange.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 15 October 2004 01:18 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

That definitely wasn't always there.

The Good Dr. Bill (Andrew Unterberger), Friday, 15 October 2004 01:20 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I smell hax0ring.

Leeeter van den Hoogenband (Leee), Friday, 15 October 2004 01:20 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I can't tell if the review of the new Dillinger Escape Plan is on the level or not.

Leeeter van den Hoogenband (Leee), Friday, 15 October 2004 01:57 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

That Slowdive review seems like it might be from the Big Takeover or something? I've seen Jack Rabid reviews reprinted on AMG for Belle and Sebastian EPs and such...

AaronHz (AaronHz), Friday, 15 October 2004 02:00 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Yeah, I'm thinking that's the source...

Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 15 October 2004 02:38 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

three years pass...

I never pay a great deal of attention to reviews but THIS

http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:3zfoxqw5ld6e

is unforgivable!!!! totally fucking unforgivable one star you have to be kidding me. who is this dude? some kind of suit, I imagine. some starched shirt mummy's boy with a cellphone clip or something, someone who carries their own fucking handwipes.

admrl, Thursday, 31 July 2008 23:32 (ten years ago) Permalink

http://www.abcsofstrings.com/dcleary/images/dcleary.gif

"ah, fuck yew"

akm, Friday, 1 August 2008 00:18 (ten years ago) Permalink

The Man can't stop our music!

kornrulez6969, Friday, 1 August 2008 00:29 (ten years ago) Permalink

I am definitely getting Like Flies on Sherbet after that review. Can't wait.

hugo, Friday, 1 August 2008 19:10 (ten years ago) Permalink

Marc Ribot: "the most soulful white alive"

http://allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:hcftxqljldfe

congratulations (n/a), Friday, 20 August 2010 17:44 (eight years ago) Permalink

Thom Jurek is one of my favourite music writers ever.

margana (anagram), Friday, 20 August 2010 18:21 (eight years ago) Permalink

When attempting to describe what Keiji Haino does to a guitar, the verb "play" seems terribly insufficient. Mauling might be a more appropriate choice, maybe even destroying. Whatever, whether it is as a solo performer or leading his tremendous trio Fushitsusha, Haino has been leading the loud, free form, noise-loaded, jazz/rock guitar movement in Japan for nearly three decades, starting with seminal noise-jazz/rockers Lost Aaraaff in 1971. He remains a virtual unknown, even among the music connoisseurs in his own country (I once asked a group of Japanese students, all of whom admitted to being eclectic music fans, about him, not one had heard of him)

hold me, thrill me, kiss me, lil b (Whiney G. Weingarten), Thursday, 26 August 2010 04:43 (seven years ago) Permalink

lol

ITS YA BOY (zorn_bond.mp3), Thursday, 26 August 2010 04:44 (seven years ago) Permalink

Tangerine Dream - Atem

Review by Jim Brenholts
Atem is more melodic and less dissonant than Tangerine Dream's other early works. The lineup of Edgar Froese, Christopher Franke, and Steve Schroyder puts a nice topspin on the old prog rock sound. They take it to the edge -- as in cutting -- and beyond. While it is still very common to see TD listed as progressive rock and art rock, this album is pure space music. It goes beyond the confines of rock & roll.

mein voight-kampff (corey), Thursday, 26 August 2010 05:06 (seven years ago) Permalink

They take it to the edge -- as in cutting -- and beyond.

loooooooooool

ilxor has truly been got at and become an ILXor (ilxor), Thursday, 26 August 2010 05:55 (seven years ago) Permalink

what's yr point? i have been known to take it to the edge -- as in cutting -- and beyond.

a dystopian society awaits if we continue on this path. (contenderizer), Thursday, 26 August 2010 05:57 (seven years ago) Permalink

don't forget about beyond

a dystopian society awaits if we continue on this path. (contenderizer), Thursday, 26 August 2010 05:57 (seven years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

by Alex Henderson
The release of DJ Quik's debut album, Quik Is the Name, in 1991 begged the question: does rap really need yet another gangsta rapper? Indeed, by that time, rap had become saturated with numerous soundalike gangsta rappers — most of whom weren't even a fraction as interesting as such pioneers of the style as Ice-T, N.W.A, and Schoolly D. Nonetheless, rapper/producer Quik turned out to be more noteworthy than most of the gangsta rappers who debuted that year. Lyrically, the former gang member (who grew up in the same L.A. ghetto as N.W.A, Compton) doesn't provide any major insights. His sex/malt liquor/gang-banging imagery was hardly groundbreaking in 1991. But his hooks, beats, and grooves (many of which owe a debt to '70s soul and funk) are likeable enough.

max skim (k3vin k.), Sunday, 12 September 2010 00:50 (seven years ago) Permalink

think, that's bad, check out Rhythm-al-ism

dayo reckoning (The Reverend), Sunday, 12 September 2010 06:04 (seven years ago) Permalink

unnecessary, comma

dayo reckoning (The Reverend), Sunday, 12 September 2010 06:05 (seven years ago) Permalink

"sex/malt-liquor/gang-banging" sounds really fun tbh

mercurial eater of crab meats (The Brainwasher), Sunday, 12 September 2010 06:08 (seven years ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

"Jeffrey Lee Pierce and his band are literally on fire"

http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:jiftxqu5ldde

Haunted Clocks For Sale (Dorianlynskey), Sunday, 3 October 2010 18:20 (seven years ago) Permalink

I admit for a sec I was all "Jesus I hope that wasn't one of my Gun Club reviews."

Ned Raggett, Sunday, 3 October 2010 18:53 (seven years ago) Permalink

You would have had to literally kill yourself.

Haunted Clocks For Sale (Dorianlynskey), Sunday, 3 October 2010 19:09 (seven years ago) Permalink

That would sting.

Ned Raggett, Sunday, 3 October 2010 19:27 (seven years ago) Permalink

Their spooky version of an already creepy tune by Creedence Clearwater Revival, "Run Through the Jungle" runs the gamut from sexual nightmare to voodoo ritual gone awry.

da croupier, Sunday, 3 October 2010 19:35 (seven years ago) Permalink

that's some gamut it runs

da croupier, Sunday, 3 October 2010 19:36 (seven years ago) Permalink

The same guy reviewed Fire of Love. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:hiftxqu5ldde

The songs become rock & roll ciphers, erasing themselves as soon as they speak, heading off into the whirlwind of a storm that is so big, so black, and so awful one cannot meditate on anything but its power.

There is not one part of that sentence that makes sense.

Haunted Clocks For Sale (Dorianlynskey), Sunday, 3 October 2010 19:41 (seven years ago) Permalink

for real

da croupier, Sunday, 3 October 2010 20:12 (seven years ago) Permalink

Instantly self-nullifying rock actually sounds pretty cool, if not impossible to listen to.

Mormons come out of the sky and they stand there (Abbbottt), Sunday, 3 October 2010 20:53 (seven years ago) Permalink

four weeks pass...

http://www.allmusic.com/album/no-more-drama-r547059

Classic example of someone misreading an anti-piracy ident as a stylistic quirk.

This very well may be the first time such a tactic has been used in contemporary music; generally a vocal sample repeats throughout the course of only one song, but because the fare on No More Drama is so good, this recurring vocal sample is as subtle and congruent as a consistent drum hit.

The baby boomers have defined everything once and for all (Dorianlynskey), Monday, 1 November 2010 16:46 (seven years ago) Permalink

Haha reminiscent of Richard Williams's review of John & Yoko's Wedding Album

Canadian Club & Dr. Pepper (Myonga Vön Bontee), Tuesday, 2 November 2010 21:44 (seven years ago) Permalink

:D

Owner of a Homely Face (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, 2 November 2010 23:34 (seven years ago) Permalink

by Dean Carlson

Shrill and freaky. Anarchic and a bit oompah-oompah. Almost unanimously loathed. Perhaps what you'd expect if you raised small orphans solely on prog-rock records scratched into the higher channels of Megadeth's Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good! while they formed a union to demand to go catch the latest Dexy's Midnight Runners tour. Cardiacs' first studio album is one for the amnesiacs of the world. It leaps about, chews on its own rhythms -- like "In a City Lining," often 43 times within the same song -- eschewing choruses as if conventional songwriting caused cancer. It's reckless, difficult music that still retains a sense of celebration. The equivalent of a top-secret document with the best bits blacked out.

by Dean Carlson

The Cardiacs didn't make it easy to like their second album, too happy to let their whirligig of shattered atonal pop come apart at its seams. The band's technique for hoisting a radical thrill out of audience discomfort was pushed to extremes ("Fast Robert," "Baby Heart Dirt") and it suddenly felt forced and phony, like a poor Dadaist trying to make do in a world of Starter jackets and Technotronic. Great for those who liked staticy hip-hop, piercing keyboards, Long Ranger harmonicas, and the sound of a tape deck being clicked off, less so for those who didn't.

p neville imo (acoleuthic), Tuesday, 2 November 2010 23:35 (seven years ago) Permalink

never fucking forgive

p neville imo (acoleuthic), Tuesday, 2 November 2010 23:35 (seven years ago) Permalink

That Blige review is amazing!

actual, actual, actual, (corey), Tuesday, 2 November 2010 23:45 (seven years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

The release of DJ Quik's debut album, Quik Is the Name, in 1991 begged the question: does rap really need yet another gangsta rapper? Indeed, by that time, rap had become saturated with numerous soundalike gangsta rappers -- most of whom weren't even a fraction as interesting as such pioneers of the style as Ice-T, N.W.A, and Schoolly D. Nonetheless, rapper/producer Quik turned out to be more noteworthy than most of the gangsta rappers who debuted that year. Lyrically, the former gang member (who grew up in the same L.A. ghetto as N.W.A, Compton) doesn't provide any major insights. His sex/malt liquor/gang-banging imagery was hardly groundbreaking in 1991. But his hooks, beats, and grooves (many of which owe a debt to '70s soul and funk) are likeable enough.

omar little, Friday, 10 December 2010 22:20 (seven years ago) Permalink

wait a sec, lol. h/t to kk.

omar little, Friday, 10 December 2010 22:21 (seven years ago) Permalink

The Eugene Chadbourne mention up thread had me remembering this jem f/ a review of Waylon Jennings' Hangin' On:

"Sticking to totally musical criteria, the best tracks on this collection are so good that dismissing the gunky ones is easy. There are other criteria for rating a Waylon Jennings album but, however one looks at it, Hangin' On is one of this country artist's very special productions. Some might see distinction in the fact that the brief liner notes are written by none other than the wonderful singer Skeeter Davis. Others may treasure this particular album because it really looks like ol' Waylon is lighting up a joint on the front cover. Then, there is the ultimate criterion for judging the value of an album not only by Jennings, but by some of his associates such as Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard, and Willie Nelson, at least in the eyes of a used record store buyer from North Carolina: "If they's wearin' beards, I don't want it. If they's shaven, then ah'm interested." While many publications use some sort of star system for rating records, it appears a system based on lack of beards is really the key with some types of country music."...

(This beard criteria makes perfect sense, particularly when applied to Jennings...)

Sanford, Tuesday, 14 December 2010 06:53 (seven years ago) Permalink

Someone at Allmusic must read this thread because the Mary J Blige review has been either replaced or heavily edited. Walls have ears.

The baby boomers have defined everything once and for all (Dorianlynskey), Tuesday, 14 December 2010 11:15 (seven years ago) Permalink

AMG looks so rusty and outdated nowadays - wonder how long these guys will survive

licorice oratorio (baaderonixx), Tuesday, 14 December 2010 14:17 (seven years ago) Permalink

The site has been clunky and slow since their last interface update years ago

Indexed, Tuesday, 14 December 2010 14:41 (seven years ago) Permalink

Andy K can add more as he chooses but my understanding is that it's less about the site than the database itself these days, which makes sense as it was all about the database to start with.

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 14 December 2010 14:43 (seven years ago) Permalink

But things like the search function are just a complete pain. If I want to search allmusic, I go to google and type "allmusic.com: whateveri'msearchingfor" because it's ten times faster and it always produces the result I want first, not second or third. I haven't used it in some time, but I recall searching for someone like Radiohead and they came up second, with the first result being one of those goofy string quartets that covered their music.

Indexed, Tuesday, 14 December 2010 14:49 (seven years ago) Permalink

xp - Ned: I guess you're referring to media players extracting the AMG info? OK good to hear, although I'm desperately waiting for them to release a mobile version I could quickly check when hesitating at the record store.

licorice oratorio (baaderonixx), Tuesday, 14 December 2010 16:40 (seven years ago) Permalink

five months pass...

is Steve Winick a pseudonym that AMG writers use when they get in a "what's the fucking use" mood and can only be bothered to listen to the first 30 seconds of an album before dashing out the first 10-20 words that come to mind? here's a sampling of Mr. Winick's writing (each quote box is an entire review):

More of a good thing.

Their third album, recorded in 1978, is a fine effort, though not as good as the first two.

Included are bawdy and sexually suggestive songs.

Really a continuation of Swarbrick, it has the same personnel and producer...Swarbrick even wears the same shirt for the cover photo!

Of these all-original songs and tunes, some are weird and hilarious.

Their second album features a lot of great music, traditional and new.

All unaccompanied, all Gaelic, this is for really hardcore fans.

A few guests join him to fill out the arrangements.

This debut album established him as one of the best.

An excellent showcase of O'Donnel's talents, his fiddle weeps and sings.

This solo album shows off O'Flynn's amazing talents.

A fuller, more confident sound is achieved, and some dark and moody arrangements created.

Their second album has a lot of good material.

A thoughtfully performed album, it varies in material but is consistent in quality.

Mostly original songs.

These mostly original songs prove he's a fine songwriter.

This is another great early set.

Featured is O'Connell's voice and guitar on new original songs. Some of the tracks are serious and some funny, but all are fine work.

A great solo effort, it features traditional and political songs.

Getting there, but it's still a bit undisciplined.

These beautiful selections are beautifully done.

imho it's better to have no review at all than to have an uninsightful blurb that may as well have been written by robots. it's easy sometimes to mistake AMG for just another seedy content-farming operation that's set on reviewing and rating as many albums as possible without regard to quality. it's usually a classier site than that, however.

gtforia estfufan (unregistered), Sunday, 29 May 2011 06:34 (seven years ago) Permalink

Steve Winick studied medieval literature and comparative mythology, before earning his Ph.D. in Folklore. A professional writer and editor for over fifteen years, he has written hundreds of music reviews and feature articles, as well as academic articles on such topics as Chaucer and Robin Hood.

ok lol

gtforia estfufan (unregistered), Sunday, 29 May 2011 06:41 (seven years ago) Permalink

ok lol this is what he looks like:

http://i53.tinypic.com/m9mue8.jpg

gtforia estfufan (unregistered), Sunday, 29 May 2011 06:44 (seven years ago) Permalink

This album would make a fine addition to any world music aficionado's shelf

Why do I always see that or some variant in every review under World/International music.

The Sunspots In Your Eyes Are Actually Cataracts, Mr. Rudich (AWALL), Sunday, 29 May 2011 11:59 (seven years ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

This Divine Styler review is a treat

DS outdoes himself with "Make It Plain" as he implements sonic explosions that hit from every possible angle, making it an unparalleled listening experience.

Enticing, informative, and done with nothing but the upliftment of man and woman at heart, which alone is enough to be applauded for.

Strictly vote-splitting (DL), Sunday, 19 June 2011 21:53 (seven years ago) Permalink

, "Nova" has a definite "Hot Sex" vibe permeating its every orifice

anyway i was thrilled last night when i saw allmusic.com hadn't been turned into allrovi.com quite yet.

moonship journey to baja, Sunday, 19 June 2011 23:02 (seven years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

Homages, perhaps, to the drum-machine sound of the late 1970s, the fast and furious grooves on this rap label compilation speed by at around 120 to 140 beats per minute, and they're all top-end and trebly (they might want to call the next one SO SO DEF TREBLE ALL-STARS). This is pure party music, and the formula is simple enough: either crank the ol' beatbox to the funkiest beat you can find and start rapping over it, or, better, find a popular groove like Keith Sweat's "Make It Last Forever" and start rapping over that. Nothing groundbreaking, but absoluely butt-shaking.

The Reverend, Tuesday, 19 February 2013 03:31 (five years ago) Permalink

I'm assuming this review was either written before The New Radicals got popular with "You Get What You Give" or that the writer didn't know who Gregg Alexander was:
http://www.allmusic.com/album/intoxifornication-mw0000074513

MarkoP, Tuesday, 19 February 2013 04:43 (five years ago) Permalink

Still my favorite after all these years:
http://www.allmusic.com/album/telephone-mw0000187960

Austin, Tuesday, 19 February 2013 05:42 (five years ago) Permalink

hahaha wow

The Reverend, Tuesday, 19 February 2013 06:47 (five years ago) Permalink

It makes no sense to discuss 200 KM/H in the Wrong Lane, the first album by Russian dance-pop duo Tatu, without focusing on the gimmick, since that gimmick is the band. And the gimmick, of course, is that the girls are teenage lesbians who sing songs with suggestive titles like "Not Gonna Get Us," "Show Me Love," and "All the Things She Said," while covering that perennial anthem of tortured unrequited love and lust, the Smiths' "How Soon Is Now?". It's heavy Europop, often helmed by Trevor Horn, and sung by two cute girls. (two stars)

Suggestive titles? Nudge nudge, wink wink "Not Gonna Get Us", say no more, etc

Head Cheerleader, Homecoming Queen and part-time model (ShariVari), Tuesday, 19 February 2013 08:46 (five years ago) Permalink

Allmisogyny

graduate of the Suzanne Moore School of Apologies (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, 19 February 2013 09:32 (five years ago) Permalink

I always thought this Black Devil Disco Club review was quite bad.

http://www.allmusic.com/album/28-after-mw0000573787

Kitchen Person, Tuesday, 19 February 2013 11:18 (five years ago) Permalink

four years pass...

lydia lunch, queen of siam

AllMusic Review by John Dougan
Her laconic slur of a voice has never sounded sexier, and her off-key rendition of "Spooky" is so lazily erotic that it nearly sucks the life out of you. A putrid classic of style and substance.

Karl Malone, Tuesday, 13 February 2018 03:49 (six months ago) Permalink


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