Monday, March 24, 2014

Reviewing albums for fun & no profit

I read a review of a new Beck album by a young friend, a very good writer, she linked in Facebook.   She gave the album three stars, but it was for me a four star review. It's titled "An Ethereal Collection Of Honest Tracks."  She wrote "Morning Phase is a delightfully multi-layered album that flows wonderfully..." This got me thinking. I pointed out I thought it was a four star review. Separately, on my own FB page, I posted this:
When I was writing oodles of mostly brief Amazon reviews 14 years ago (Amazon was much smaller than now), fans of a band or artist disliked my three star reviews. Three stars meant an LP was competent, a few really worthwhile songs, probably nothing outright awful, but probably nothing that would interest someone not already a fan of the group or artist, or a "completist" for versions of a classical work. You'd feel the lack of enthusiasm in my writing. Neil Young, whom I love even in his weirdest failures, got some three star reviews from me. Four Stars was an LP I liked, worth having if I were a fan, might interest others, more than half good, a few exceptional cuts or a praiseworthy concept sincerely attempted, lower your expectations a little & you won't be disappointed. I couldn't give half-stars, so if I had any doubts at all about five stars, it became four. Four was a good review. I only wanted people to stop & think before they spent their money. That is the bottom line: Who should or should not spend their money! Sometimes it's difficult to draw that line, but it's the only way you do the reader a real favor.

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