The Weekly Music Thread Gets Critical

Let’s discuss any and all music here. Got a new artist who’s rocking your boat that you want to talk about? Post a video! Found out about that unearthed Coltrane album that has the jazz freak in you losing your mind? Lay it out for us! Have a theory about what your favorite band might do for their next album? Let’s hear it! Anything and everything music-related goes here.

This week’s discussion prompt: Record reviews (and music criticism in general)

Here in the year 2021, if one wants to check out an album or artist they haven’t heard before, chances are the Internet has some free samples right there for you to take in and judge for yourself. But back in the days when non-mainstream artists didn’t get a lot of airplay (especially in more rural areas) and CD was king, unless you were willing to shell out roughly $20 or more for an album you hadn’t even heard before 1 the most reliable way to find out whether or not something might be in your wheelhouse was to take in some record reviews. Of course, this was not without its drawbacks, as music is one of the more subjective art forms and even some widely-respected reviewers and publications have notoriously dismissed albums that have gone on to be recognized as classics (or conversely, wax ecstatically about albums that did not live up to the hype).

  • How important were reviews to you for discovering music back in the day? Are reviews still important to you today?
  • Which publications and critics did you (or do you) generally trust to give you an informed opinion or accurate description of the artists and albums you’re interested in?
  • Are there any times where a particular review led you to believe that an album was much better (or much worse) than it actually was?

Bonus Prompt (suggested by the Avocado’s very own Pachylad): What are some of your favorite instances of “artists vs. critics” (e.g. – when artists have called out certain critics for giving them middling to bad reviews)?

“What does Robert Christgau do in bed? You know, is he a toe fucker?”

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As always, any and all music-related posts are welcome. Have fun, and rock out with yr guac out!