Recent review a bit overboard?

Discuss our reviews or just talk about any old album.

I don't think so...

Postby vkolko » Thu Jul 17, 2003 6:25 am

eksingpuccusser wrote:thanks....that's exactly what I wanted to see. So basically RARB is understaffed by 40% or 20% if its 4 reviews per CD.

I don't think we're understaffed in that not enough people are hearing these CDs. You said it yourself:

eksingpuccusser wrote:The problem lies in the individual reviewers power (within the couple year old three review system) to drastically (I'm sorry if I'm the only one who thinks an overall rating change of 0.5 or 0.7 is drastic) change the score of the overall review. I think something is wrong with the system. Personally, I preffered it when they had 5 reviews per CD. That way no one reviewer had an emmense amount of power.

There can't be any "power" balance to overthrow when 3 randomly selected reviewers' scores on one album are averaged. I would imagine that, for example, if you found four different albums that Josh, Jonathan and I did, and one got a significantly higher score than the other three (even if one or more of us gave 5s and the other gave a 2), the general listening audience would also find that album "better."

On the 5 point/3 reviewer system, for every point higher that a single reviewer gives, the score rises .3. I don't know how much this will matter to you, but I'm looking at my track record. My average over 12 reviews so far (I came on board about this time last year) is a square 4.

Here's something else that's interesting (at least to me): I'm looking at reviews of albums I scored the same, perhaps because I thought they were both "good" but undeserving of "excellent." I usually find that the ones I liked slightly better (but for me, still within the "4" range) have overall scores that are slightly higher. That tells me that the system works.

For any reader, you either agree or disagree with the critics. I'll tell you there's no "mindset of RARB," strictly BECAUSE one album is able to get a 2 and two 4s, and also because we are unable to find out what the other two reviewers said about an album and how they scored it until all three are subitted.

I find that what you call an "emmense amount of power" (sic) to be an accurate representation. There's another math subject called sampling (which I'm afraid I'm very rusty on, thanks to grad school) in which a certain segment is supposed to be representative of the whole population. Even before I joined on, I found that in general, RARB scores and I were on the same page. Try this: using the RARB guidelines, write your own review of an album that's set to be published. If you do this for a few albums, I think you'll be pretty close to the RARB scores.

Something else I think readers should keep in mind: our reviews also have qualitative segments. Why I dislike one album is why someone might love it. You can weigh the reviewers' words against each other: here too, more often than not, our comments touch on similar strengths and weaknesses.

The best part of all? You can follow RARB strictly and buy every album we rank high, or you don't have to read it at all. You can heed every word one reviewer says, or disregard every printed letter from another. :)

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More points on an old topic

Postby stevehowe » Sat Nov 01, 2003 6:00 pm

To add on to Val's point:

I wouldn't get too worked up about the 5/3 judges change. She makes very good arguments on the mathematics of the newer system anyway. ALSO, who the heck cares about numbers???? The important part of the review is the written portion. Rating by numbers has become too important, especially to most of the groups who submitt CDs to RARB.

Everyone wants a 5 across the board. Well guess what??? Chances are you're not going to get 'em. But what you can get are encouraging words about your group, or pointers to think about in the future. The bar will always get higher, and so numbers will be relative. But the comments stress specific issues in each CD.

As a past and future submitter of a college a cappella CD to RARB, I would just like to say forget the numbers! Strive for comments like "Mike's VP was amazing" or "Soloist X blew me away" So what if they give you a 3 or 4, be proud of what they have to say.

And to the reviewers: Don't be scared to write as many comments as you want. Numbers don't do reviews justice.
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Postby billhare » Fri Nov 07, 2003 8:50 am

Adding to this admittedly old thread, do keep in mind that the "Big Time" reviews (Rolling Stone, et al) come in ONES, not threes or fives. Talk about power of a reviewer! Get a great review in Rolling Stone and you will sell MANY thousands more copies, and a bad review will have the opposite effect. You are at the mercy of that one reviewer, so pray that he or she didn't have to clean cat poop off the couch right before writing your review! Having met a few of the RARB folks this past weekend at the East Coast Summit, and now knowing the effort they go through to provide this service on a strictly volunteer basis, I just can't say enough of a "thank you!"


Bill Hare Some dude who records and mixes people who can't play instruments.

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Postby groundrounder » Fri Nov 07, 2003 10:54 am

oh bill,
you just want them to say nice things about your albums, stop brown nosing. <wink wink>
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Postby Nick Lyons » Sat Dec 06, 2003 10:00 am

No one likes a rough review... I still hate that the Grains got a ONE for repeat listenability on Union. It was all that kept their album from being phenomenal (according to RARB). But, there are a few things to keep in mind...

1) These are people reviewing the albums... just like you and me. Some of you may look at them like demi-gods, but in all honesty, they're not. The producers come closer to omnipotent then the RARB reviewers do. Now, that's not say that the reviewers aren't great people. They take time out of their busy schedules to listen to our albums to provide meaningful feedback. And for that they get a huge thank you. But if you don't like what they have to say, don't listen to it.

2) You submit an album for review. Do you want all positive feedback from it? I don't. Granted, TACT goes a long way. Saying something positive before you say something negative... goes a long way. Putting the negative comments in an environment where they will be considered and not thrown away in defiance... goes a long way. I'm sure if you search on the internet long enough, you're sure to find some tact.

3) We know what sounds good and what doesn't. We've all heard the Dick's and Janes, the Bubs, OTB... we all know that, despite nittpicking controversy over sloppy bass lines and over production, these albums are well done. And we all know what a poor album sounds like. Again, TACT... but in all honesty, if you know you're album isn't up to snuff, don't set yourself up for a let down.

4) Your album is what YOU make it... not 3 reviewers from a review board. Do you know how many music artists we'd have in the world today if they went along based on the industry's opinion of what their music sounded like? ONE... and her name would be Brittney Spears. Ask someone whose opinion you truly trust and respect what they think of your album. You'll take their words to heart and try to improve for next time.

That Brittney Spears comment in no way represents an approval of anything she has ever done or ever will do. I don't want her to rot in hell or anything... just maybe go live down there or something.

The point... don't let this site determine what your album is for you. It's a GREAT service... and it brings everyone together in this environment... which is great. But also keep in mind that anyone can review your album... or I'm sure they can send the reviews just to you and not post them unless you want them to. I don't know... but this service helps you aim to improve... unless you're already perfect, which none of us are.

Nick Lyons
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