Hey all. Let me go into this with the disclaimer that I understand it is awkward for me to write on this subject, given that the album and review(ers) in question pertain to the album I helped produce and sang on. I'm not looking for any glory in this; I thought that an additional perspective from an ABer might add another flavor to this already spicy topic.
First of all, as I've read in recent posts, these are only opinions. Can you be objective about music? When it comes to tuning, sure. When it comes to dynamics, sure. When it comes to blend....maybe sure. When it comes to soloists, arrangements, complexity, what "works", less and less so as the list goes on. The further you stray from objectivity, the range of opinions is greater, and in some cases when music becomes much more emotional, there can be a greater disparity between opinions. Therefore, everything on this site, no matter if someone claims to be an expert on it or not, should be taken with ample doses of salt.
Secondly, can I expect 3 reviewers of a thousand potential listeners to hear what I hear when I listen to that album, and to become intimate with that album in only, what is it, 2 weeks to complete the review? I'm not doubting your ability as listeners, but I can't expect it. Can I expect you to know what sweat, stress, late nights, money, time, laughter, love went into this album, into every album? 'Course not. There'd never be enough room to put that in the liner notes, and even if we did, then we risk being cited for tedious liner notes that would detract from our marketability! Yet another opinion. Can I expect you to know that we did Banner in one 4 minute take without stops, all 14 of us standing in the recording studio? No. Should we have told you that before the reviews were submitted? Honestly, I don't know. These details, to us, create meaning, give fulfillment, life, love and credit to our album. Without the full picture of where we've come from in recording, without knowing what we were trying to accomplish outside of the physicality of the CD itself, there's no telling what people will think of our album.
So now having said all that, while I can admit I felt a tightening in my gut reading the recent AB reviews, what more can I say? I asked for your opinion, I got it, and I'm now done with it. No additional information was given with the album to convey the process; all you heard was the outcome, which is only 20% of what it means to us, but we could only give you that 20% to experience. For everyone else out there who feels they were gipped in a review, all that REALLY matters in the end is what you think of your album. If you put more faith in what 3 people think of your album, and let your fans put more faith in that too, maybe the real problem isn't rarb....
One last thing: doesn't mean i want to let the reviewers completely "off the hook". I'm sure that all the reviewers understand they have a responsibility in these reviews, since they're not just dealing with people's music but people's emotions. I guess I thought the reviews were a bit harsh, but I can't decide if that's more objective or subjective. Since the reviews are like interactions between people over music, I just say, everyone has a responsibility to those they are interacting with to be careful with their words. We are none of us the gurus of a cappella.
Brian, I want to thank you for submitting your opinion on this matter. The reviews are hard to read, I know. What to do?
Amazin' Blue '00-'02
AB Biz '01-'02