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Old 05-05-2010, 02:51 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by u2popmofo View Post
The management there must have paid their writers in prostitutes or something, because they have been giving forgiveness to a lot of rock records lately:

The New Pornographers: Together < PopMatters
Ana Moura: Leva-me aos Fados < PopMatters
Broken Social Scene: Forgiveness Rock Record < PopMatters
Dan Black: ((Un)) < PopMatters
The Mynabirds: What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood < PopMatters
Flying Lotus: Cosmogramma < PopMatters
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Old 05-05-2010, 02:58 AM   #32
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Ha. Isn't a great deal of it based on submissions over there?
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Old 05-05-2010, 10:34 AM   #33
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Yeah, PopMatters is terrible for criticism. The vast majority of the reviews (not all of them, mind you--just very, very, very many) are just written by fans of the bands. I've definitely read some great stuff, over the years, but I think their average rating has generally hovered around, like, 7 or 8 for years at a time.

This album, though, is not terrible.
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Old 05-05-2010, 10:35 AM   #34
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This is not at all entirely accurate, Shouter, but you might be interested: which band plays which day - please check first post before posting
Thanks, but like I said, I'd rather just pay $18 and see them play for like two hours in a club with really good sound. I wonder how accurate those predictions will wind up being...? I was all over that forum, two years ago, but haven't lurked around in a long, long time.
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Old 05-05-2010, 11:13 AM   #35
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Maybe it's because I try to gain at least some joy from music I like and not be negative about everything, but I'd MUCH rather read a review by an actual fan of a band, that would actually have a similar outlook as I would, and see a higher review score, than look at some shoddy attempt at artistic critique by some kid who just got through community college.
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Old 05-05-2010, 11:20 AM   #36
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I think those two things are equally shoddy, but I know what you mean about negativity. I don't really think that any sites are uniformly negative in their reviews, though. Just dissenting opinions, usually, you know? And all too often poor writing. As for me, I usually get my musical joy from the music, rather than the criticism surrounding it (good example = this album, as I've read some AWFUL reviews of it both positive and negative), but diff'rent strokes.
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Old 05-05-2010, 11:22 AM   #37
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Maybe it's because I try to gain at least some joy from music I like and not be negative about everything, but I'd MUCH rather read a review by an actual fan of a band, that would actually have a similar outlook as I would, and see a higher review score, than look at some shoddy attempt at artistic critique by some kid who just got through community college.
Exactly. And, a good chunk of the time, PopMatters' reviews are better written than Pitchfork's. LM's brought up the Kid A example before, and while that's extreme, even for Pitchfork, the fact is that their reviews tend to be nonsense bullshit that sounds "deep." PopMatters, on the other hand, at least tries to include cultural analysis and such into their reviews. Now, whether or not that plays out as well as it should is always up for debate, I suppose, but for me, I'll take PopMatters over Pitchfork most days for reviews.
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Old 05-05-2010, 11:45 AM   #38
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I think that PopMatters has more potential than most any pop crit site of which I can think, because they cast the net so wide. Lots of potential, and something that is desperately needed, in some viable way, in the non-academic academic world. I mean, nobody talks about philosophy or theory, anymore, because it's inaccessible; like, yeah, the writing is often inaccessible, but you can't even find/afford the stuff, anyway! That's a big problem, and one of the bigger (of many) reasons why the US lags so far behind, in those fronts.

But the web-based, non-funded, accept-most-anything format sort of guarantees that their critical pieces (I'm not talking about album reviews, here, but rather their other, non-review sections) are really surface-level and obvious, like 90% of the time. You need resources to get mobilized to really put something together (ie, a really well-funded/-connected library, because everything is so expensive/elusive). Again, not talking about the reviews, really. Those don't need to be and don't try to be theses. I just don't care to read about how 4/5 of every album released in a given year (and PM definitely covers some not-so-well-known stuff, because of its format) is a potential all time masterpiece. I'm exaggerating, of course. Perhaps the site has changed, in that regard, over the last year or two...? The evidence already cited in this thread suggests otherwise, but I don't know. And if you've been reading it for a while, I'm sure you know what I mean, whether or not you agree that that's a bad thing. After being told that The Bell Rays, Ike Reilly, The Fire Theft, and God only knows how many other random-ass bands were allegedly changing the face of modern music, year after year, I kinda quit on that stuff.

As I said, though, I've definitely read some truly amazing reviews on that site, over the years. I just needed more of a filter, you know? And, hey...I don't mind some good publicity for the Pornos, that's for sure. I just think that that review is a little bit...much. And factually wrong, in a number of ways. Lazy copy editing and writing. Not to mention listening.
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Old 05-05-2010, 12:38 PM   #39
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Also, this is easily the worst review of this album that I have seen:

The New Pornographers - Together | Music Review | Tiny Mix Tapes

Still trying to figure out whether or not it's supposed to be a gag review. I don't think so, though. Unfortunate, but at least it's hilarious in its inanity.
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Old 05-05-2010, 12:39 PM   #40
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I think some just put far more stock into scores than I do, or at least seem to think there has to be some overarching sense to it all. To me, it seems blatantly obvious that if a site takes user submissions for a good deal of things, and tends to prefer to have fans make the reviews, the likelihood is that their scores will be more positive than not. The whole "too many high scores" argument has no weight for me, because it's different people doing the majority of the reviews. A review means nothing to me other than, "Well, someone who might have similar tastes to myself seemed to like or dislike this". I don't care if a site gives all 9's types of reviews, as long as they're only reviewing albums they actually find to be good. In my personal opinion, a 9 score doesn't deem something an all time masterpiece, it just means that it's good. What do I care if someone else loves something more than I might? Reviews are just one person's opinion, it's no more valid than anyone else's, there's no need to try to make sense of it all.
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Old 05-05-2010, 01:06 PM   #41
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I honestly had no idea when I made that post that Popmatters relied on user submissions. Now I feel like a jackass because, yeah, most of the reviews are pretty OK in quality, although the scores are suspect. It's like they're a hyperbolic, starry eyed British rag or something.

In contrast, Pitchfork utilizes educated freelancers that have their heads so far up their asses they're probably not listening to the same albums we are.
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Old 05-05-2010, 06:36 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by u2popmofo View Post
Maybe it's because I try to gain at least some joy from music I like and not be negative about everything, but I'd MUCH rather read a review by an actual fan of a band, that would actually have a similar outlook as I would, and see a higher review score, than look at some shoddy attempt at artistic critique by some kid who just got through community college.
On the other hand, reading a negative review from a fan of a band can be like reading a rant from a bitter ex

I have little interest in music reviews as a form of writing on its own, to be honest. All I want a review to tell me is, 1) some reference for what the music sounds like and 2) did the reviewer like it or not. All of which can fit into one neat paragraph. I don't need long-winded essays.
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Old 05-05-2010, 06:48 PM   #43
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they're probably not listening to the same albums we are.

I can't remember what albums it was for, but I remember a number of years ago, a few Spin Magazine reviews seemed almost obvious that the reviewer either didn't listen to the entire album, or only listened to it once while doing something else. I remember them completely mis-describing songs, past albums, etc. It was hilarious, but also infuriating when you realized someone got paid for it! Felt like they hired people who had no interest in music what so ever to do the reviews.

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All I want a review to tell me is, 1) some reference for what the music sounds like and 2) did the reviewer like it or not. All of which can fit into one neat paragraph. I don't need long-winded essays.
Agreed! I haven't bought a copy of it for a while, so maybe it's different now, but Filter Magazine used to have my favorite reviews in regards to length and the standard format they followed for how they were written. Very similar to what you described.


According to UPS, my copy of Together should be sitting on my doorstep as I type. Look forward to hearing it!
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Old 05-06-2010, 01:44 AM   #44
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Yeah, Ima have to agree with LeMeL, phanan, and Shouter, this album is very enjoyable.
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Old 05-06-2010, 03:04 AM   #45
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I agree with Scumbo.
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