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La Roux - The Paranoid Android
...musings of a mechanically depressed robot...
La Roux
Yesterday I purchased La Roux's album (yeah - I know - bite me). I noticed a lot of the reviews in iTunes were less that glowing... the last review by "Aberdeen Andy" stated "This album is crap - why the f*ck would anyone buy it." Of the 30 or so people who had rated this review just over a half had rated the review as "helpful."

I used to think I was a terrible music snob. Music I liked had a value over and above the crap in the charts. Now I'm older, and I'd like to think a little wiser, I have realised that the only thing "my" music had that the rest didn't was an appeal to me.

There is no way to quantify this appeal. It's either there or it isn't. Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor "Sonata quasi una fantasia" (or "Moonlight" sonata) moves me... pretty much like Simple Mind's "Belfast child" or Queen's "Who wants to live forever" or Coldplay's "Fix You."

I can't imagine what these have in common apart from being able to bring me to tears.

Vivaldi's Allegro movement from "La primavera" ("Spring" of "The Four Seasons" concertos) has the ability to instantly cheer me up... in the same way the "Special Brew" by Bad manners does... and "I Believe in a Thing Called Love" by the Darkness.

I have come to the realisation that I might have thought I was a musical snob, but I was actually something far worse - a hypocrite.

Even with this in mind I can't understand the mentality of a person who bothers to write a review about an act they don't like just to say they don't like them. I am also puzzled why anyone else would mark such a review as helpful.

I am not trying to say there is nothing I think is rubbish - far from it! Any "X-Factor's got talent" type of show is full of rubbish (in my opinion) but I don't go to a TV programs rating site so I can leave a snarky review. That's what blogs are for.

This reminds me of a argument brewing over at Last.fm - but that's a rant for another time.

I am not trying to say that a negative review is necessarily a useless thing either. If an album is badly mixed, poor sound quality, repetitive, exceptionally short, a collection of songs already released before then a review saying so is helpful. "It's Crap" says nothing about the album but a great deal about the person who reviewed it.

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2 comments or Leave a comment
nuala From: nuala Date: July 11th, 2009 11:01 am (UTC) (Link)
I think that if you understand music/lyrics technically, then you (generally speaking - anyone) have the right to say that technically something is good or not. But you have to quantify what exactly it is that makes it good/bad. A good review (even if it's a bad review, if you see what I mean) will tell you WHY something is good or bad or crap. If they tell you that they like a particular track because it reminds them of that gig in the summer of '92 when they met the hip chick who rocked their world, then you know it's a very personal connection. But it might also be reminiscent of a particular musical era (oh, indie 90s! oh, the nostalgia!) that they're connecting with as well.

I have been known to check out cd reviews on Amazon, but I look at how it's written (This is teh crapzors! will get ignored.), and average it out with some of the other reviews as well.
paranoidandroid From: paranoidandroid Date: July 12th, 2009 09:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have checked out the reviews in Amazon... but usually for games or hardware. Music I buy because I know I want it - and a review of the band is not going to change my mind.

I think there's a growing culture of people putting things down just because they can. Eventually it will mean the review has no point - there will be so much feedback that just says "crap" or "excellent" that the real reviews with useful information in them will be lost.
2 comments or Leave a comment