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Henrik have you ever thought of including AMG's track picks for the albums they review in AM?
Doesn't every album have picks? Doesn't make it "special" in that sense.
On a related note, AMG's ratings, actually, aren't even meant to rate one act's albums against another act's albums- only a particular act's album compared to its other albums. In the AMG books, it had designated Essential albums with a non-filled-in star (which meant it was essential in its genre), but doesn't do so on the Web site (it just selects pick albums for each act).
If I would include AMG tracks, tracks from albums outside AM would be just as eligible. And then it becomes an impossible task.
I don't like AMG anymore. They tend to backtrack their reviews (like Lily Allen's record which went from 3 and a half stars to 4) and they're ageist towards artists under 21.
I'm glad they backtrack their reviews. It shows that they're not afraid to admit when they're wrong.
When AMG puts something at 5 stars, it is comparing it to all other music in its area, though.
But they only do it when they see it's getting rave reviews (or occasionally poor reviews)by other publications. That something that Rolling Stone strives on. I don't want them to turn into Rolling Stone. No more half stars. Make it a 3 star record, a four star record or a five star record. They should be confident in their reviews.
Just looking through some old posts and thought I'd comment on this one.
I think backtracking is a crime when it comes to rock criticism. It homogenizes all criticism to one single thought in the long run. Lists are continually loaded with the same old albums when people refuse to form their own opinion or change it to mold to popular opinion. We read critics opinions because we trust them. We can form our own opinion if they are wrong or not, but I'm not going to be upset if they are. If I don't agree with their opinion a majority of the time I'll stop reading.
With almost every song being available to preview at the click of a button and subscription plans to download as much music as you want rock critics should be looking to find their audience rather than trying to find mass appeal. They don't have to worry much anymore about someone spending their money on an album they don't like. So, to me it doesn't even make sense to backtrack or to try to find the public opinion. It makes much more sense to write what you think and let your audience find you.
Anyway, at the very least, the original review should be posted alongside the "updated" review. I can understand that probably can not be done in book form, but websites should post both reviews if they change it in anyway. Especially on AMG since they pride themselves on their historical database.
I've never gotten why AMG ratings are included here since they are meant to measure the artist's own work. If 5 star albums are in and of themselves, then that's cool, but why include other ratings?
What if you included AMG's track picks for albums released only by artists who already have entries in Acclaimed Music? Obviously the track picks from the Beatles would have more merit than William Hung's track picks. Also, if this is still too much work, I know that AMG has a section (under "Songs") called Highlights, that chooses up to 26 of arguably their best songs. Also, depending on the artist, some have 26, some slightly less, some have only a few highlights listed, and some have none.
I'm going to disagree with you. I know that my personal thinking about albums evolve over time and it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the pervasive critical opinion.
I *will* admit that if an album continues to get critical acclaim over time I might revisit it every 5 years or so to see if a "light bulb comes on" but that's only happened so far in a handful of cases for things I formerly loathed and now like (I *HATED* grunge when it was hot. Now with time and distance I can appreciate NEVERMIND and SUPERFUZZ BIG MUFF.)
I simply find that over time albums I once adored might only be "OK" now and things that I didn't connect with that much before, with added experience, somehow resonate more now. I didn't really appreciate PET SOUNDS the first time I heard it...I just thought it was "alright". With the disappointments of the heart that come with age and dashed romantic hopes came the understanding that brought me to a love for the album.
I will agree with you however that they should continue to post the original review along with the revised version. We should be able to see whether someone "got it all along" or had to come to it later. I do this personally with my Amazon reviews if I make substantial changes in star rankings or the overall tenor of the review.
I think including AMG at all is worthless since they seem to more of a buyers guide than a true critique at least in terms of their star and recommendation system. I like the way they do it and it has turned me in the direction of a lot of great albums and songs, but I don't know if the true intention is to truly critique the albums and songs.
Plus, picking and choosing from a list would kind of discredit the AM list don't you think? It's take it or leave it.
I should have waited another minute to respond to Daniel so I could have doubled up one post!
I guess I can understand what you are saying Greg. Critics are different than you and me though, and are payed (or not payed) to have an open mind and a discerning ear so hopefully they don't have to backtrack too much and can identify a good album when they hear it. We might listen to music the same way, but we aren't trying to make a living telling people what we think about music. However, I can understand if a critic really thinks he missed the boat, a different review might be needed.
The thing about "new reviews" though is that things have been changed out of the blue without anybody knowing and probably not much access to the original review. It's not a life or death situation obviously, but history is changed. I would bet that 30 years from now not many people will think that Patty Griffin's album or even The Field album were seminal albums of the 00's. But, will anybody know that they were some of the top reviewed of 07? As long as the websites that say so stay up I guess they could. But will they, or will they disappear only to have critics make the same homogenized lists while The Field and Patty Griffin albums get a paragraph in a 1500 page AMG book?
I guess the point I'm making is that I don't mind somebody changing their mind, but it seems the practice is so widespread right now that nobody has their own opinion about what our best albums really are.
I agree with John : using AMG picks fot the AM lists wouldn't be good because picks are not meant for that, that's all. They are not lists. they are meant for picking important works by a given artist;
But there are lists in the AMG site, very good lists that should be included in AM : click on one of the genres listed at the top of the page, and you have, at the bottom of the following page, lists of top artists, top album (including compilations) and top songs of every genre.
These are critics lists exactly the like that are used in AM listings.
THey really should be included. I use them in my own project (which is a meta compilation of songs representing the history of rock, r&b, country and soul)
this is the link to those lists I told you about
Nicolas, I wasn't aware of these lists. And including the best songs of each genre is actually something that could be done (the best songs of each style would require far too much work).