my two cents

Discuss our reviews or just talk about any old album.

my two cents

Postby amysingsla » Mon Sep 20, 2004 3:41 pm

1. If you're afraid to get a bad review, don't submit your CD for review.

2. If you would not respond well to a bad review, don't submit your CD for review.

That is all.

Okay, that's not all. I don't know for sure, but I suspect the people who review for RARB do it out of the love of a cappella, for the same reason groups record. They certainly aren't getting paid for their time. Groups come to RARB to get feedback (a review). They get that feedback, and I believe the reviewers spend a lot of time listening to the CDs before they provide that feedback. Do we all wish we could get great reviews on our work? Of course. Do we? No. Sometimes the 3 people who have put in the time to listen to your work don't enjoy it very much. Does that mean you should have less pride in your hard work and product, or that your fans who love the album are "wrong" or that someone is attacking you personally? No, no, a thousand freaking times no.

Okay, here's my third cent:

3. If you're asking people to give their opinions on your album and they tell you they don't like it very much, thank them for their time and move on. Be a frigging grownup.

*** end of rant ***
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Postby amysingsla » Mon Sep 20, 2004 4:13 pm

Then my question to you is...if you believe what you say is true, why did you submit your album FOR REVIEW in the first place?

If you don't think your stuff will be reviewed favorably by RARB, why be angry when YOU submit it and get mixed reviews?

p.s. you say "on your review boards." I'm not one of the reviewers, merely a singer/reader like you. And my group has gotten comments about our CDs on RARB reviews that we didn't agree with and/or were disappointed about. But when we submitted them, we knew that might happen. For us, it was worth getting an unbaised opinion of how our stuff stacks up against other group's stuff. I don't work for RARB in any capacity, but I'm always amazed, yea, aghast at how reviewers are slammed on these boards by people who basically begged for the reviewers' opinions.

NOTICE: my rant in no way reflects the opinions or beliefs of anyone involved in RARB. These words are my own opinion.
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Re: my two cents

Postby zachwalker » Wed Sep 22, 2004 11:33 am

amysingsla wrote:1. If you're afraid to get a bad review, don't submit your CD for review.

2. If you would not respond well to a bad review, don't submit your CD for review.


The crazy thing about this is that the Spartones' review was NOT A BAD REVIEW. I cannot figure out why some of them are freaking out about it. The Bison Chips' review -- that one was bad. This one...not so much.

For what it's worth, based on the soundclips on their website, Bulletproof is the first college CD I've considered buying in a long while. What I've heard sounds amazing.

As director of my college group (Juxtaposition), I never allowed our albums to be submitted for review. In my opinion, the RARB reviewers don't know any more about acappella & music than we do. They would tell us exactly what we already knew, and not much more. Also, even when they rave about an album, they often throw in jabs at arrangers, soloists, etc. that don't do much except hurt people's feelings or piss people off. Who needs that? Of course, the year after I graduated, the guys submitted our album for review. They also performed a Dave Matthews song, which was also forbidden under my rule. Those bastards.

- Zach
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Postby davetrendler » Wed Sep 22, 2004 3:22 pm

1. If you're afraid to get a bad review, don't submit your CD for review.

Why not? Submit away!

The problem isn't about how an album gets reviewed, it's about a group's expectations for the review and its attitude about what the review means.

If a group has worked hard on an album, loves it, thinks it's perfect, God's gift to a cappella (not saying this is the case for Ricohitman), and then isn't prepared to deal with criticism from RARB - THAT is the problem.

Preachy time - to all musicians out there - no album is perfect, even yours. If you plan to submit it for critical review, expect to get some critical review.

Once you get the review, think about what it means. Does a bad review mean you suck? I doubt it. It means three people who've listened to more a cappella than you think it's not perfect.

Maybe after some reflection you could come to agree with them? Or maybe that's not the message you wanted to hear?

Dave Trendler
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Postby Nick Lyons » Wed Sep 22, 2004 8:09 pm

To everyone... because I'm not saying I agree with rico, but it seems as though no one is really listening to what he's saying... and, any review I will ever have to be a part of... all that aside, I expect critique. I expect them to say negative things, things to work on, perhaps even a few positive things about the album.

What I HAVE always and WILL always find unnecessary is the clever attempts at wit... and the tactlessness that comes with that. Rico's point of the Spartones review was not the positive or negative. It was the pointlessness of Eric's words. Like he said awhile back, he wouldn't have minded at all if Eric said the album sucked. but the attempt at wit comes across as the group's expense and, as I recall, the point of RARB, while it is to review any given group's album, it is also to promote the a cappella community, not find new and clever ways to poke fun at it.

Feel free to disagree. My view is the way it is because I have been in a position where I have had to critique a group and, even when the bad things outweigh the good, you still open your critique with positive, work in negative, and never write or type anything that you would have a hard time saying in person to the group. It's called tact... and it's also called respect, and common sense. Chances are, when someone comes to me and says "Nick, you're an idiot but your arrangements are kind of cool," chances are I didn't stick around, or at least my ears didn't stick around long enough, to hear the compliment because it was started with something that completely turned me off to whatever else that person had to say. At least if they said "Nick, your arrangements are pretty cool but you're an idiot." At least then I gathered that my arrangements are cool. Again, feel free to disagree... but I'm going based more on experience and less on observation. To each his/her own... but tact goes a lot farther than wit does...

Nick
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Postby singyourheart » Thu Sep 23, 2004 6:02 am

WareHauser wrote:What I HAVE always and WILL always find unnecessary is the clever attempts at wit... and the tactlessness that comes with that. Rico's point of the Spartones review was not the positive or negative. It was the pointlessness of Eric's words. Like he said awhile back, he wouldn't have minded at all if Eric said the album sucked. but the attempt at wit comes across as the group's expense and, as I recall, the point of RARB, while it is to review any given group's album, it is also to promote the a cappella community, not find new and clever ways to poke fun at it.


personally I agree with you more than I disagree, Nick. however, in as much as RARB is working to help aca become more "mainstream" or "legit", they're going to try to pattern their methods to some extent after those employed by mainstream media. to that effect, try reading a Rolling Stone or Spin review, or any number of similar outlets - or even movie/theatre reviews. they REGularly use "wit" to make their points and/or to build up or tear down what they are reviewing. they employ their own personalities in the reviews, and are often quite scathing when they dislike something. they try to write well, not just review the work in question, and to that end they often will have a 'theme' for their review (in Eric's case it was food), often using clever or less than clever puns, etc. this is 100% par for the course. is it a great thing? I dunno. but it is what it is, and that's a well-doumented fact. reviews are as much about entertainment as they are about reviewing art. period.

in one sense, you can't ask the reviewers to treat you like 'legit' musicians (see above) and at the same time treat you with kid gloves just because we're a small, close-knit community. you're either part of the real world or you're not (or you're trying to change the world, which may be the case). you *can* ask them not to make personal attacks (though the RARB moderators apparently don't edit those out either), and if they choose to do so, you know a bit about that person then and can treat their work and opinions accordingly.

but what Eric said (since he seems to the be target) is not inappropriate in the slightest. not even close. his infamous last sentences basically says that the record is not worth buying (part of what a review is absolutely supposed to do, and his opinion only), because it 'tastes' like a cobbled-together meal made out of 12 different country's cuisines, and he'd rather spend his money on a "gourmet" meal, prepared thematically (with purpose and plan) using a few key and fresh/excellent ingredients. i'm surpised that you can't come to terms with this. it was not even CLOSE to being inappropriate or damning, at least when compared to the following gems:

"I'm trying hard to avoid the most obvious references in describing The Buffalo Chips' album Vowel Movements." - E. Skalinder

"it's my opinion that this album is as bad as they come in a cappella." - J. Sears (Bison Chips)

"True to its title, Nature's Call is a piece of crap" - J Diamant

had anyone said anything even close to these kind of things, i'd better understand your (continuing) frustration. but right now it's reading (more rico than you) a little immature/inexperienced. not only do a LOT more poeple know who the Spartones are now, people have written some great things about the CD subsequent to the review coming out - try to focus on (pay attention to/acknowledge) those and remember, as Zach said, these reviewers are JUST NORMAL PEOPLE, no more or less qualified to judge your work than most of the readers of this forum, for the most part.

that said, it's mostly normal people who'll be buying your CD. chew on that....
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Postby jonathansears » Thu Sep 23, 2004 7:46 am

singyourheart wrote:personally I agree with you more than I disagree, Nick. however, in as much as RARB is working to help aca become more "mainstream" or "legit", they're going to try to pattern their methods to some extent after those employed by mainstream media. to that effect, try reading a Rolling Stone or Spin review, or any number of similar outlets - or even movie/theatre reviews. they REGularly use "wit" to make their points and/or to build up or tear down what they are reviewing. they employ their own personalities in the reviews, and are often quite scathing when they dislike something. they try to write well, not just review the work in question, and to that end they often will have a 'theme' for their review (in Eric's case it was food), often using clever or less than clever puns, etc. this is 100% par for the course. is it a great thing? I dunno. but it is what it is, and that's a well-doumented fact. reviews are as much about entertainment as they are about reviewing art. period.


I've thought about this for years and could never put it into words as well as singyourheart has. A review should be both educational and entertaining, you can't fault a reviewer for having a personality. I personally find Eric Skalinder and Dave Trendler as two of the strongest and most entertaining writers on the board. If they'd change their style to appease others, the quality of RARB reviews would drop dramatically.

singyourheart wrote:"it's my opinion that this album is as bad as they come in a cappella." - J. Sears (Bison Chips)


I'm surprised you chose this quote since there are many others that I feel were more controversial or questionable, even within the same review. I read all of these threads on the forum (as i'm sure most reviewers do) and the insight from people about these kinds of quotes was a big reason I decided to hang up my reviewing shoes.

Reviewing is not easy. It's a very time-consuming task that requires a great deal of thought and effort. I found that after four years I was becoming a bit more blunt in my reviews, and not writing at the same quality level as when I first joined the board in 2000. It was as if I was running out of things to say or ways to say them. I didnt want to write that way, so I stepped down.

Now .. if you could only see the emails from the groups after these reviews were published. They make the controversial/personal statments in the reviews look like compliments.
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Postby singyourheart » Thu Sep 23, 2004 7:54 am

singyourheart wrote:"it's my opinion that this album is as bad as they come in a cappella." - J. Sears (Bison Chips)


jsears wrote:I'm surprised you chose this quote since there are many others that I feel were more controversial or questionable, even within the same review.


just to clarify - I had said above those quotes that i was referencing inappropriate *or* damning quotes - the other two were inappropriate (or at least moreso than the one currently causing a stir); yours was just damning (no negative connotation meant - it was just very clear about saying that the CD was in your opinion not a good one), not inappropriate at all.

and as an aside, i'm sorry to see you leave as a reviewer, man. your reviews were always professional and well-written.
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Re: ....

Postby Cutter » Thu Sep 23, 2004 6:04 pm

rico wrote:Singyourheart. I don't know who you are...but you are the lamest person I know. Try sucking up more, k?

End of suck rant.


aaaaaaand a certain group's reputation as sour grapes assholes by association continues to rise. Somebody needs to just drop it.

Cutter
Last edited by Cutter on Thu Sep 23, 2004 6:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby GenesisPhreak » Thu Sep 23, 2004 6:10 pm

wow, no one seems to respect anyone here. cant we all just say things were said, feelings were hurt, and just move on. just a suggestion.
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Oh my God.....

Postby Jackster » Thu Sep 23, 2004 6:29 pm

Josh, please, for decency's sake and any remaining consideration for the Spartones, just let it drop. I understand you never back down, but all you're doing is making yourself and especially the Spartones look bad. I realize you probably don't care how bad you make us look, but please, as President and member of the 'tones since back when we were both Counter Tenors together, just let it drop. I haven't stepped in until now because I never thought it would get this bad, but you've forced my hand. Again, please.

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