Amazin' Blue Review

Discuss our reviews or just talk about any old album.

Postby jsdiamant » Tue Feb 10, 2004 10:12 am

yahtzeealum wrote:If someone records Mozart, Eminem, Disney, and the Beach Boys on the same album, I don't believe it's my job to tell them it was a bad decision to do so.

I think it's my job. :) seriously, if a group makes a decision that makes their album unpleasant to listen to, isn't that the reviewer's job to say so?

Joshua S. Diamant RARB '02-'05

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Postby brianhaverkate » Tue Feb 10, 2004 11:57 am

If the variety of those different kinds of music makes it unpleasent to listen to........that's the reviewer's personal problem and not something I want to hear about in a review. If it's the merit of the music that's making it unpleasent to listen to (tuning, blend, etc.) then...ok, it's more than justified to comment on it.
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Postby seth » Tue Feb 10, 2004 12:31 pm

An album is a composition, not just a bunch of songs in a bag. Ignoring the complete work would be a bit like reviewing the chords of a song without considering how they fit together.
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Postby rlanen » Tue Feb 10, 2004 1:31 pm

I'm with Seth on this one; what you (Brian) seem to be asking for is not a review, but a description. It seems like you'd read the back of a video tape before buying it, which surely enough gives you some information on the general story, but I sure as hell wanna know if it's any good before I spend $15 or more on it! The only way to do that is to read (or hear) opinions of other people. Similarly, a restaurant reviewer doesn't list the ingredients of the meal he or she ate without giving a value judgement on it!

This is the very nature of a review: to talk about the quality. And as Seth said, you got to look at the entire product, and if the setlist affects the quality, a reviewer could (or even should) mention that. In the example of the restaurant reviewer, if he or she got served to totally colliding flavors on one plate, no matter how well they are prepared and presented, you bet your ass it'll be in the paper the next day! If you can't deal with this, your basically saying you cannot deal with the very nature of a review, in which case you should stick to reading the liner notes of an album, and not read any reviews. You say it is the reviewer's "personal problem" if he or she doesn't like the variety, but in my opinion, that is exactly what a reviewer is asked to present.

Roel J.M. van Lanen
ex-dick (of janes),
MD 2002-2003
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Postby milkpan » Wed Feb 11, 2004 11:12 am

I couldn't tell you the number of times the tracklist has swayed my opinion one way or the other. when an album has a continuity, I tend to enjoy it more (see The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner), but it's not always the case. when I listen to the Madhatters/Tangled Up In Blue's State St., I always put it on random, just because I know I couldn't listen to tracks 7-9 in the order they gave them.

as much as I try to guess from seeing the list of songs on the album, it definitely helps to read reviews and get a better idea of what others thought. if all these other "non-music" factors weren't important, we could probably replace the reviewers with some machines (maybe some sort of algorithm to find deviations in decibels to evaluate intensity/energy?), something I'm glad we won't see any time soon.
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Postby brianhaverkate » Sun Feb 15, 2004 1:01 pm

Websters on-line dictionary gives several definitions of the word "review". Here's the definition I found most closely related to music and the arts. Review= a critical evaluation (as of a book or play). I'm all for being critical and I'm all for evaluation. I just wish it was more in the lines of proactice criticizing and providing evaluation in a thoughtful light. Like I had pointed out previously, I am not trying to be critical of WHAT is being said, but HOW it gets said.

I couldn't help but laugh out loud when I read someone's comment that an album is more than just some random songs in a bag. While I agree, I don't believe the collegiate world serves up anything that comes close to an "album" to their consumers. CDs full of covers will never be anything other than that.......a CD full of covers. College groups seem to have diverse tastes in music (which I enjoy) and because of that, offer up nothing more than compilations of their favorite groups/songs. I, for one, love the compilations, but let's not get carried away and start calling these recordings complete albums that flow from song to song with style and songwriting and captivate the listener. While there can certainly be something said for the order in which covers are arranged on a CD, I don't think these make a collection of songs an album. I'm not a huge Beatles fan, but they seem to be the last group to record an "album" in a long while.

I started this thread with praise of Dave's review of Amazin' Blue. After re-reading his review and other recent reviews from the RARB site, it has confirmed my thought that his review was appropriate, thoughtful, professional, and most of all tactful. I look forward to reading more reviews that embrace these qualities.
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Postby singyourheart » Sun Feb 15, 2004 7:43 pm

yahtzeealum wrote:I'm not a huge Beatles fan, but they seem to be the last group to record an "album" in a long while.

you're largely right. but Coldplay is the exception to your statement.
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Postby bino » Fri Mar 05, 2004 10:52 am

That was lively. I think I'm just going to let this all go, since you all have more or less covered most of what I might have to say that's relevant. I have only one comment, and that is that Pearl Jam's Ten album was a hell of an "album."

How's that for avoiding the issue?

*insert banned smiley*

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Postby zachwalker » Fri Mar 05, 2004 1:27 pm

yahtzeealum wrote:I'm not a huge Beatles fan, but they seem to be the last group to record an "album" in a long while.

Umm. Can you say Flaming Lips' "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots"?

Wilco's "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot"?

Fountains of Wayne's "Welcome Interstate Managers"?

Creative, amazing songwriters & musicians still abound -- they just aren't often the ones on TRL every day.

- Zach
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