I’ve been playing a new game I just invented. You can play too!
Here are the instructions:
Go to Pitchfork Media
Look at the list of reviews
Without knowing anything about the specific album, try and guess whether each album got a high or low rating.
It’s remarkably fun and I’m doing pretty well.
See, Pitchfork is the epitome of the new subjective style of criticism. All reviews are based solely on that reviewers personal reaction to the album. The article is then written in a lively, florid manner in support of that utterly subjective reaction. After reading enough of these you can see the trend. Grittily-produced rap and indie rock = high rating. Grittily-produced rap that the mainstream critical press has been praising recently = low rating. Well-produced complex music, such as modern classical, jazz re-issues, dense rock = low ratings, but not low enough to be dismissive. Re-issues of obscure 70s and 80s rock = stellar reviews.
I also like guessing the rating based on the name of the band (if I’m completely unfamiliar with them). The more ironic, the better the rating.
Play along at home!