Friday, September 6, 2013
When Saying You Made a Good Album Goes Wrong
I just finished skimming the new Arctic Monkeys review on NME.com. It brought an interesting conundrum when it comes to album reviews. I have not heard this album yet and I like the Arctic Monkeys overall. Thus far, I have only focused on how reviews can negatively help influence how one objectively perceives a listening experience. Yet, this can work the other way around as well. This particular review gives the album a perfect 10 saying it is pure genius and the best album to come out in the last ten years. I highly doubt that. The comments following the review are near unanimous in this diagnosis. This is not the greatest album of the last ten years. Most people who have followed this band say it is a great album, but they will not say it is a perfect 10. This brings up a couple of issues with me as a serious music fan. This review has somewhat diminished or partially ruined the album for me. Previously, I was comparing this album primarily to Suck It and See, but now they are going up against Kanye, TV on the Radio, The Strokes, Queens of the Stone Age, The Killers. The reviewer has created heightened expectations that will be hard to compete with and the Arctic Monkeys don't deserve that because now the band must live up to such expectations. It will be impossible for them to surpass those expectations because they are not new. Arctic Monkeys have been around for a few years, which always means you will have critics. Bands always have critics. The only ones who don't have critics are the ones who have not been around long enough for reviewers to actually care two shits about them. Throwing around the term genius is for writers analyzing the legacy of someone who rocked 20 years ago like Bowie. You don't use that term in the present because that can be misinterpreted so easily. The other issue at play here is a serious question that threatens the credibility of the article itself. Is this reviewer just a fan boy? Is he worshiping at the altar of Arctic Monkeys? This needs to be answered before we start to look upon this album as the greatest thing since sliced bread. Now, I saw this band in 2009 and I have heard their other albums, so next week I will listen to this album and see if it the best album of the past ten years. If I had known 5 years ago that this band was genius about to create the greatest album this side of 1999, then I would not have done all that Vicodin that night.