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Author Topic: Poor Album Review in Uncut Music Magazine  (Read 11990 times)
The_Holy_Bee
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« Reply #75 on: May 22, 2012, 10:27:20 PM »

EDIT: Posted this in the wrong thread, and on review of this page a lot of the points have already been made, more succinctly, by other posters. Still, there are a couple of things I think still worth saying - and I've already written it - so here we go again.

I'd just like to point out  that - the nature, "hip" or otherwise, of the reviewing mag aside -  a positive review of the album would have received nothing but effusive support from the majority of posters (cf. our response to all those glowing summaries of TSS). Yet a single bad notice has provoked an outpouring of attacks not only on Uncut as a magazine, but of the motivations of its writers and, by extension, readers.

Obviously I agreed with those reviews in the case of TSS (including Uncut's beautifully elliptical piece, which I don't recall posters here assessing as invalid because it was in a "nothing" magazine for "hipsters") - and the music on it being utterly brilliant has to account largely for those assessments.

By the same token, all I've heard of the reunion album is a few low-fi 30-second samples, so I don't know yet what I personally will think of TWGMTR, or indeed if I'll buy it (and before I get ripped into for that, surely the best thing you can do for an artist is reward their best work and avoid the mediocre -  and isn't assistance in doing that just why advance reviews exist? Maybe, to change media, Tim Burton and Johnny Depp would be more selective and successful in their collaborations if movie audiences adopted a more circumspect approach than just rushing off to the cinemas automatically for yet another ninety minutes of pancake make-up and over-elaborate set design.)

And yes, I realize this album is a big deal for the BB's, after all the water under the bridge, and we all hope the beginning of some great new things, or at least a triumphant closing salvo. But the work produced is, nevertheless, the work produced.

Being a fan forum, ecstasy over positive reviews isn't unreasonable, and three pages thus far of scorn over a negative appraisal understandable, but rationally speaking it says less for SmileySmile's objectivity than it does for Uncut's. Especially since most of us haven't actually heard the album yet; and that the criticisms quoted in the review summary up top mention almost exclusively aspects of the recordings - Love-style call-backs, autotune etc - that posters here ourselves have called out for concern.
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Jim V.
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« Reply #76 on: May 22, 2012, 11:25:37 PM »

I didn't read the review. 

Well then we'd appreciate it if you didn't bother posting in this thread to tell us that.
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Lonely Summer
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« Reply #77 on: May 22, 2012, 11:36:47 PM »

I don't know why anyone would expect the BB's to get all artsy on this reunion album. it's a reunion for the $$$, so they're gonna go the road that they expect to pay the biggest - A/C, lots of nostalgia, nothing wierd like SMiLE. Their defense will be "that stuff sells to you guys, the die-hards, but we're trying to bring in the casual fans as well'. One last big payday before Brian and Al retire, and Mike and Bruce return to "their" Beach Boys.
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MBE
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« Reply #78 on: May 23, 2012, 12:48:10 AM »

Ah but it does matter if he knows about the post 1974 ups and downs of at least their music. For one thing he can't measure just how much of a return to form this album may be. If he's only heard Pet Sounds, Smile, and the hits for instance, of course this new album will sound crappy. However if he has played even two or three of the 1976-96 albums he has a basis to go by. What would that take two to three hours? I think it's crucial a reviewer know and/or care about the subject. Why would I care to hear what some guy randomly thinks of the new Beach Boys album if he doesn't get what they went through to get there! I am not hired to write about speed metal but music I specalize in. It would be pointless for me to cover a group I only have general public knowledge on. It would waste my time and every readers. That's why so many reviews don't mean anything. If it's true isn't my point, my point is that you shouldn't write non fiction if you don't take the time to know what you are talking about. It's obvious he doesn't have any insight into this album so I ddon't really rate what he has to say about it. Simple as that.   
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The_Holy_Bee
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« Reply #79 on: May 23, 2012, 01:05:32 AM »

"I don't know why anyone would expect the BB's to get all artsy on this reunion album"

"For one thing he can't measure just how much of a return to form this album may be."

Surely, in terms of my comments at least, these are side issues? (And please bear in mind I haven't read the review, so I'm going completely upon the comments made my posters on the basic nature of reviewing and criticism. It may be that the review renders these observations invalid, in which case I comprehensively apologize.)

For the former quote, I don't think "artsy" has anything to do with it - at least outside the fan community, who are the ones who tend to think in terms of "Pets Sounds-esque artistically-driven music" and "Summer in Paradise-style commercially-motivated music" (if indeed those phrases mean anything in the first place). In the end, surely all reviews should fundamentally be based on the questions "does this album work", "did I enjoy it", "does it progress or develop the artform" and "does it meet the goals it sets for itself"? And being this is very much inherently a reunion album (check out the song titles if nothing else), that last enquiry seems very much appropriate.

For the second point, if you're genuinely arguing that to write professional criticism you need to be intimately acquainted with the ins-and-outs of an artist's back catalogue - that I couldn't review Elvis Costello, say, if all I'd heard was "Alison" and the "Cold Mountain" soundtrack, or that someone couldn't effectively review "Magnolia" without having seen "Boogie Nights" - well, frankly, that's a nonsense, or at least naive. Understanding, great. Knowledge of and enthusiasm for popular music if you're reviewing popular music (or for heavy metal if you're reviewing Metallica) - crucial.

But comparisons, as they say, are odious, and I'd argue that a good reviewer, with a sound knowledge of the breadth of the genre, doesn't even need to have heard "two or three of the 1976-96 albums". Reviews are basically about points of difference to the contemporary catalogue, and successes and merits on the art's own terms, and I wouldn't blame the reviewer for not having heard and compared TWGMTR to "Light Album" any more than I would if he or she hadn't heard "Pet Sounds". Much as one of those would be far more of a shame for the reviewer personally than the other.
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Peadar 'Big Dinner' O'Driscoll
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« Reply #80 on: May 23, 2012, 04:50:58 AM »

Uncuts an excellent mag which has always been good to the Beach Boys. No point turning on em now. This album will likely recieve plenty of bad /mediocre reviews judging by the samples IMO.

A final Beach Boys album with someone like Rick Rubin at the helm would have been interesting but the kind of personalities that exist within the Beach Boys means a Joe Thomas project was always more likely. This reunion is all about the live shows for me. Lost interest in the album pretty early on.

I remember telling everyone who would listen how good GIOMH was when it came out. Being a Beach Boys fanatic means you want everything to be great but sometimes it just isnt.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2012, 04:54:02 AM by My Brother Woody » Logged

Disney Boy (1985)
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« Reply #81 on: May 24, 2012, 06:02:37 AM »

Finally bought the new Uncut mag, rather than skim-reading it in WH Smith, and er... there's a BB live review as well at the back of the mag. Not very good either. Mike's somewhat bare-faced hypocrisy in praising H&V onstage is mentioned (they bring up his previous 'Brian's ego music' comment). They also say: 'it's sad seeing Brian Wilson having to sing on mid-'80's travesty Kokomo - by far the low point of the evening'. There is some praise too - they say the highlights of the evening are the tributes to Carl and Dennis.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2012, 06:03:56 AM by Disney Boy (1985) » Logged
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