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AM Albums that are victims of 'critical swarm'

Hi there.

Well, the new Deerhoof album, Friend Opportunity, is out (at least in the U.S.) and it's excellent. I'm hoping that this consistently creative band can finally get an album within the top 3000 with this one. You guys might remember me asking Henrik if Deerhoof have even come close, but no luck so far.

While it's a great album, I think it's pretty consistent with their last few albums, with nothing that makes it epic or especially appealing. If it cracks the 3000, I think it won't be because it's better than their previous work. Rather, it will be because enough critics finally noticed them.

I'm wondering if anyone else has thoughts on albums in the AM 3000 that might be victims of 'critical swarm'. That is, artists release albums of increasing quality over the years and get a good underground buzz, but a record of equal or lesser value gets acclaimed more because critics finally notice the band and praise whatever record gets released next. At War With the Mystics, while not very high, might be a victim of that, for all the mainstream music mags that ignored Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi and therefore had to say something good about that uneven record.

Anyone understand what I'm talking about?

Re: AM Albums that are victims of 'critical swarm'

The most perfect recent example of this phenomenon is probably the Hold Steady's BOYS AND GIRLS IN AMERICA. The band's first two albums earned good-to-great reviews and a steadily escalating amount of buzz, culminating in the second album, SEPARATION SUNDAY, landing in the Pazz & Jop top ten (a spot it richly deserved, in my opinion). It was almost inevitable that the follow-up would be even more highly acclaimed even if it wasn't as good, simply by virtue of more people knowing about the band and critics being primed to love it. And that's exactly what's happened. It's not that BOYS AND GIRLS is a bad record - far from it. But SEPARATION SUNDAY is the one that people will still be going back to twenty years from now.

Re: AM Albums that are victims of 'critical swarm'

you have to take the placing of recent albums with a grain of salt. It's hard enough to judge how a new release relates to the rest of the band's material let alone how it stands up against the best albums of all-time. I'd say give it a few years and see how those albums stand up. The critics could all jump on De Stijl as the secret White Stripes masterpiece or they could forget the band existed altogether (not bloody likely).

Re: AM Albums that are victims of 'critical swarm'

The perfect exemple of this phenomenon is the White Stripes : their 2 first albums (the two bests IMO) were crimanally overlooked. So the rock-press feeling that they missed something, decided to create a too-late-buzz by acclaiming the following albums. "White blood cells" was still a good record but the 2 lasts records (except the song "seven nation army") are far less good and even sometimes crappy.