Duke Rhythm & Blue's "Adios, Kansas"

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Duke Rhythm & Blue's "Adios, Kansas"

Postby milkpan » Fri Jan 23, 2004 6:15 pm

Anyone else heard this album/familiar with the group? I had some thoughts, but they'd be pretty pointless if no one knew what I was talking about.

also, I realize my opinions would be a bit skewed or irrelevant since I know some members of the group, making my ability to objectively comment difficult.
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Postby ericskalinder » Fri Jan 23, 2004 7:11 pm

Mr./Ms. Milkpan wrote:also, I realize my opinions would be a bit skewed or irrelevant since I know some members of the group, making my ability to objectively comment difficult.


None of us have commented objectively in our reviews. :)

There's no reason why the myth of objectivity should get in the way of sharing ideas, thoughts, and opinions. Open discourse is a pleasure. I wish there were far more posts to this section of the forum.

Let's hear it!

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Postby milkpan » Sat Jan 24, 2004 11:27 am

fair enough. but my concern wasn't so much over my own validity, as much as writing about something that anyone would have knowledge of. I suppose at least three people will have an idea. ;)

first, my own views aligned almost perfectly with those of Mr. Sears. a little bit less with Mr. Levin, and barely with yours, Mr. Skalinder.

a few concessions: the liner notes, the packaging are awful. the cover looks like it was scanned, printed on an inkjet, rinsed, then scanned again before being crappily produced for the album. I almost immediately pointed out the "When the Stars Go Blue" mistake, and I was definitely disappointed with the lack of credits. I don't know whether or not royalties were paid, but except for the few groups around the country that sell amounts unfathomable to the rest of us, I tend to let this aspect slide. immoral, but slide-able.

I got the impression (in comparing your numbers and words) that this last aspect weighed more heavily with you than the other reviewers. faced with an album you didn't really like, it seemed as if it allowed the crediting negative to weigh more strongly. for the first two reviewers, it seemed like they wanted to enjoy the album (despite the obvious criticisms), and so crediting/royalties didn't seem to factor in so heavily.

it sounded like production was the biggest sore spot, and I didn't see this reflected in the numbers. with 2's almost entirely across the board, I had to question how well the numbers reflected your actual opinion of each aspect. it just kind of looked like the crediting seeped into every aspect. if production was so weak, then why couldn't I see that value weaker than average? also, who wouldn't rank "One More Minute" and "Celine Dion" below the average for the other tracks? did you hear them? the scores for the tracks Shalisha Francis soloed were bumped up, but it was as if the album was doomed to all 2's before it had a chance.

just to be clear, I don't care as much for the absolute score of anything, but more the relative scores. I think they're more informative when they vary.

I suppose this is why there are three reviewers. in the end, I agreed with the overall rankings of the tracks, with minor exceptions. I actually found myself enjoying the Muppets Medley more with each listen; I like the playful syllables and impersonations, as well as the overall feel of the track. I also liked "Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk" more than "Somewhere Out There," which got a bit dull to me. but I definitely didn't think all the tracks were on the same level, as proposed by the last review.

the biggest overall complaint from the reviewers was the lack of energy. I definitely agreed when I first heard the album before this one (called "Lights Out and On the Floor" I think), but as time passed, I got used to the "sound." as the energy across the entire group seems to be at the same level (as opposed to one or two lagging parts), I get the impression that it's not for lack of ability to replicate what we consider the "standard" but instead a comfortable decision, either consciously or subconsciously. I actually didn't feel energy was quite as dead as any of the reviewers made it sound; the swells were perhaps a bit subtle and muted due to the low volume of the entire album. they don't sound like they like to use much of what the studio has to offer; instead favoring a more "natural" sound that was more prevalent in the 90s.

I probably would've also put their tuning/blend as their best aspect, but I think I would've bumped up the innovation/creativity a bit, just for the song choice. granted, I don't listen to the same magnitude of albums that the reviewers do, so perhaps something I considered unique is already passé. I would've personally chucked "Breathless" as having been done to death, and maybe "Fallin'," but no one wants to hear less from Shalisha. but putting on Weird Al, Ryan Adams, En Vogue, Norah Jones (and not one of the more obvious tracks), I felt like I got a collection with some novelty and breadth, without it sounding too disjointed from track to track. This probably would've contributed to repeat listenability for me, as well.

and it's Mr. Milkpan, but you can just call me 'milkpan,' or 'milk' if you're feeling lazy.
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Postby seth » Sat Jan 24, 2004 12:01 pm

Thanks, Mr Milkpan, for chiming in. The Community Reviews section is why the forum is here.

Just a quick note about scoring: when a reviewer gives things the same score, it doesn't mean he or she thinks they're all equal. It just means they're all worse than things with a higher score and better than things with a lower score. With only five possible scores, there's still plenty of room within each one for things to be better or worse than each other.
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Postby ericskalinder » Tue Jan 27, 2004 9:08 am

Mr. Milkpan wrote:I don't know whether or not royalties were paid, but except for the few groups around the country that sell amounts unfathomable to the rest of us, I tend to let this aspect slide. immoral, but slide-able.


Royalties were not paid. And while I still believe it's important to pay royalties, it bothered me far more that they decided not to credit the actual creative forces behind the music.

Mr. Milkpan wrote:I got the impression (in comparing your numbers and words) that this last aspect [royalties] weighed more heavily with you than the other reviewers. faced with an album you didn't really like, it seemed as if it allowed the crediting negative to weigh more strongly.


The royalties/credit issue does weigh heavily on me, as I've noted above and in other discussions. But I don't take it into account for scoring purposes.

Mr. Milkpan wrote:it sounded like production was the biggest sore spot, and I didn't see this reflected in the numbers.


I focused the bulk of my review on five main weaknesses: tuning, emotional investment, arranging, percussion, and production. Rather than improving songs, or even maintaining an even keel, the production made them worse. For me, production doesn't need to be flashy. If I don't notice it at all, that can be a lovely thing. Still, it's one piece in the larger puzzle. But I did mention it last for a reason. And primarily as it related to the arrangements.

Mr. Milkpan wrote:with 2's almost entirely across the board, I had to question how well the numbers reflected your actual opinion of each aspect. it just kind of looked like the crediting seeped into every aspect. if production was so weak, then why couldn't I see that value weaker than average?


I'm not sure why you feel the crediting issue was reflected in my scores or opinions on musical issues. In the review, I offer exactly two sentences about crediting and then I'm done with it. There's far meatier and more fundamental info in my main paragraph.

Mr. Milkpan wrote:if production was so weak, then why couldn't I see that value weaker than average?


I'm confused. I did rate production as below average. I gave it a 2 - weak.

Mr. Milkpan wrote:the scores for the tracks Shalisha Francis soloed were bumped up, but it was as if the album was doomed to all 2's before it had a chance.


The scores for Ms. Shalisha Francis's solos were bumped up exactly due to her efforts as the lead. Solos are huge when it comes to recordings. But I didn't doom any song to a 2 before I heard it. I gave 2s because that was my response to each song. Seth's point about scoring is important to keep in mind. Not all 2s are equal, they just fall into the same range.

Mr. Milkpan wrote:I probably would've also put their tuning/blend as their best aspect, but I think I would've bumped up the innovation/creativity a bit, just for the song choice.


I agree that tuning/blend is their strongest point, but it's still not up to average in my book. I didn't think their song selection was very interesting or innovative. And there's far more to innovation and creativity than song selection. An incredibly brave and bold song selection can be negated by boring, bland, uninspired arrangements.

Always good to get feedback, Mr. Milkpan. I don't know if I've clarified anything for you, but I've tried. So feel free to bust my chops, call me to task, or ask questions. I'm all for it...

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Postby milkpan » Thu Jan 29, 2004 10:54 pm

ericskalinder wrote:I'm not sure why you feel the crediting issue was reflected in my scores or opinions on musical issues. In the review, I offer exactly two sentences about crediting and then I'm done with it. There's far meatier and more fundamental info in my main paragraph.

I think it was just because you opened with it. And the very thorough list, while understandable, appeared to be an extremely harsh criticism. Or at least to me as a reader, and stronger than the stuff you got to later.

I wrote:if production was so weak, then why couldn't I see that value weaker than average?

I didn't mean average as in a 3, just average as in the average score you gave the album.

It's a good point about the limitations of a five-point scale, and maybe that's the reason why I interpreted things differently than you meant. I guess also I've come to see the scale not necessarily as being absolute. eg, a 4 on a mostly 5 album wouldn't mean the same thing as a 4 on a mostly 3 album, but maybe that's just something I've falsely perceived, or is only the case with a limited number of reviewers.

Thanks for being open about the feedback; I think it makes it easier to do so. I kinda wish more people would, since it's interesting to see more views, but it's difficult with the number of albums available. Also, calling me "Mr." makes me feel too old; not sure how much life this thread has left in it, but for future reference.
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