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!
2 responses to “The Pitchfork Game”
Similarly, you can take the language, the rating, and the critical/popular reaction to the album AFTER the pitchfork review comes out and try to guess how the album will place in their end-of-the-year ranking. In 2006 they called The Knife’s “Silent Shout” the best album of the year, ahead of at least a dozen other records they had given notably higher scores to when they were reviewed… I figured that those higher scoring albums were just getting too much attention from everyone else, so they had to reevaluate their opinions in order to reassure their readers how edgy and different their tastes are. No matter how cool something might seem, you never ACTUALLY know how cool it is until you see how many other people like it!
have you check out Nico’s review? yikes…