A Completely Different Note - Blazin'

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A Completely Different Note - Blazin'

Postby officesinger11 » Mon Sep 20, 2010 6:31 am

I logged on over the weekend to see some surprising reviews on the most recent release by A Completely Different Note (CDN) - Blazin' (http://rarb.org/reviews/1039.html). I had noted that this album was on CARA's short list for one of the Top 10 Male Collegiate Albums of the year (http://www.casa.org/cara2010s), and the opening track, "Take Me as I Am", was selected to BOCA 2010 . Two of the reviewers, Elie Landau and Robert Dietz, who rated the album a 2 and a 3 overall respectively, had previously reviewed CDN's album Mixed Nuts, while a new reviewer, Kimmie Raschka Sailor, classified the album as a 4 overall. There are numerous posts and reviews throughout RARB that state, fairly, that the album's packaging is a listener's introduction to the group, and groups should take care to have the eyes be the prelude to the ears. But how much do previous reviews and group "reputation", the memory, precede the listening? In the review, both Elie Landau and Robert Dietz refer back to the review of Mixed Nuts, and I'm wondering how much of a role this played in the review of Blazin'. My curiousity stems as I ponder how an album could simultaneously end up on the CARA Short List, with a track that was selected to BOCA, but also end up with a "2" rating on RARB. Interested to hear thoughts and reactions...
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Re: A Completely Different Note - Blazin'

Postby Ed Boyer » Mon Sep 20, 2010 1:07 pm

Different people have different opinions. I know that's an obnoxious response, but it's the truth.
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Re: A Completely Different Note - Blazin'

Postby iocloutz » Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:39 pm

If its true that different people have different opinions and there is nothing inherently better than something else, doesn't that mean the entire business of reviewing these albums should be stopped? What good is reading a review if its only a matter of baseless opinion.
To say differing opinions can make a review vary from a 4 (excellent though not perfect) to 2 (worse than average bordering on bad) seems to say that there is a serious flaw with the reviewing process. Shouldn't failsafe reviewing scores such as "tuning" and "blend," things that aren't opinions, hold more weight in that situation.

I'm sorry I don't bring more to the conversation, but honestly, every other form of music has a consistent review process. And yes, some people will like something more than someone else, but that doesn't mean you won't be able to see the musical merits. And honestly, when 99% of this industry is covering someone else's song, that "other" category which opinions are usually based on in music doesn't hold much weight, except in exceptional circumstances. Just my two cents worth...
Dan Cloutier
Cornell University Hangovers '08-Present
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Re: A Completely Different Note - Blazin'

Postby TahitiJones » Thu Sep 30, 2010 7:06 am

I disagree completely. Clearly, tuning and blend are the basis for any review, in that without these components, an album is hardly even worth listening to. Beyond that, a review is exactly that, an opinion. These should clearly be taken with a grain of salt, however this board takes time to screen its reviewers so that those providing reviews make educated decisions based on a background in this industry. Their opinions may or may not matter to you, but the people who submit their albums here for critique do so for the opinions and criticisms of their peers. Judging an album without putting whether or not you like the way it sounds seems baseless and entirely without point.
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Re: A Completely Different Note - Blazin'

Postby azncuriousgeorge » Fri Oct 01, 2010 8:24 pm

back in the day, the rarb review was one of the few marketing tools for a college group. that and maybe an appearance on boca. a high score and positive reviews on rarb and / or an appearance on boca would create buzz, make a group known, sell albums. i would say that one of the main purposes for submitting to rarb was not just to get feedback that can help the group's next project, but to also help sell albums (especially to people who never had an opportunity to see the group live) and earn bragging rights of sorts.

however, now, with the levelling of the playing field (technologically) and the emergence of new compilations, more visibility, youtube, itunes, etc...i think the purpose of the rarb review has lost much of its marketing aspect. a positive rarb review is no longer needed or as important to create buzz within or outside the community. as someone that has submitted an album for review (and am patiently waiting for its publishing), i really don't care so much about what score the album will receive. of course, a high score will help my ego, but i also know its shortcomings and am proud of the final product we were able to put together. i'm really more interested in the type of constructive criticism that experienced members of the community will provide so that the group can learn and improve on its next project.

so while it would probably have been nice to have some consistency with the outcomes of this album between its evaluations from cara and rarb, i actually think that the rarb review is a valuable critique for the group. i would interpret the gap as--you guys put out avery good album (positive eval form cara and boca), but there are still specific things that can be improved for the next endeavor (critique from rarb). i think this sort of feedback is a lot better than an all-out lovefest only comprised of praise.

i don't think the sysem is flawed. yes, it is very subjective, but that's the nature of the business. i think people should have a greater sense of humility and welcome constructive criticism.
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Re: A Completely Different Note - Blazin'

Postby Ed Boyer » Sat Oct 02, 2010 6:20 am

If its true that different people have different opinions and there is nothing inherently better than something else, doesn't that mean the entire business of reviewing these albums should be stopped?


Not al all. The purpose of reviewing things isn't to rank them or to determine superiority among products. The purpose of reviews is to compare and celebrate differences of opinion. Siskel and Ebert was popular because they disagreed so often and so intensely. If they had aligning views, the show would have been a miserable flop.

Shouldn't failsafe reviewing scores such as "tuning" and "blend," things that aren't opinions, hold more weight in that situation.


Tuning and blend are ABSOLUTELY subjective. Tuning that sounds perfect to one client sounds robotic to another. Tuning that sounds good-yet-natural to one client sounds sloppy to another. Same with blend. Some clients can't stand it if they can hear any one person sticking out. Others want to be able to hear every voice individually. But that's what makes it interesting!

every other form of music has a consistent review process.


Really!? Maybe at high school choir/band competitions, etc. But in the real world? You don't think that for every newspaper/magazine/blog review of a major album, concert, opera, etc. that there isn't another review floating around with a drastically different opinion?
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Re: A Completely Different Note - Blazin'

Postby mikex » Mon Oct 25, 2010 7:30 pm

Still think there should be anonymous reviewing of albums... tracks only... no packaging or information until after the bulk of the review is done.

Example:

Ed - Today you will be reviewing a collegiate album from an all male contemporary group.. it has 12 tracks.

Will some people figure out who they are listening to? Yea.. sure.. but I bet you it will create a better end result if the group isn't known.

Later.. after the bulk of the review is done (meat and potatoes) you can then reveal the name of the album.. with artwork.. etc.. and have a second after thought..

Would be interesting to see a few done like this with 8 - 12 reviewers to gauge a response.. Rarb.. let's do some R&D!!! :)

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Re: A Completely Different Note - Blazin'

Postby seth » Mon Oct 25, 2010 10:17 pm

It would be interesting to have people each rate a bunch of tracks where some people had background info on the group and others didn't. Even more than for RARB reviews, it could be handy for CARA nominations, which are already done online. It'd be pretty easy to blind those.
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